By JIM PARKER
The Post and Courier
Truth be told, Don and Fern White had one chief worry when they first house-hunted in Charleston: finding a place that wouldn’t object to kayakers dropping by.
The couple, who were moving from the North Carolina mountains where they kayaked and rode mountain bikes, would find their desired spot, Village Place in St. John’s Woods. And they would land a builder to frame a custom house to their liking – specifically with the master bedroom and an office downstairs.
“One floor living, but room for guests,” Fern White explains.
Before long, the couple had set off on a divergent tangent from kayak friendly enclaves. They would play an increasingly hands-on role in designing their new Johns Island home. Over time, the Whites had floated enough suggestions that ecofriendly builder Amerisips would coin a name for the eventual floor plan: Boomerville I. (At age 67, retired engineer Don White fits in the boomer generation).
The Whites exemplify what Amerisips seeks to accomplish at Village Place in St. John’s Woods: crafting air tight “eco-shells” complete with solar roof tiles, extra-strong Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), light-emitting diode lighting and water chillers; then teaming with home buyers to design the interiors to their specifications.
Fern and Don White, who “started with a sheet of paper” to draw up their house plans, will wind up with a 2,400-square-foot house priced at $595,000. Yet they likely will pay no more than $25 a month on their electric bills.
“You pay up front but get it back over time,” he says.
The Boomerville style fits with the desires of the now mature “boomer” homeowners born from 1946 to 1964, says Amerisips President Steve Bostic, who came up with the title.
Rather than Amerisips’ original designs, in which half of the home use is upstairs, the Boomerville plans envisiont second floor exposure at 10 percent. The upstairs consists of storage areas and guest bedrooms and bathrooms – not the places that senior homeowners would be visiting on a regular basis.
Inclement weather has slowed construction of Boomerville I. While work started more than two months ago, crews have only been able to get out on the site 20 days, Bostic says.
At the same time, Amerisips as a company has ramped up its marketing and construction schedule in 2013. “We’re over $10 million in sales this year,” Bostic says, noting that the builder is also raising homes in Mount Pleasant and in Poplar Grove near Hollywood. Pearlstine Real Estate Investment Co. is the developer of Village Place in St. John’s Woods, which is on the eastern edge of existing The Villages in St. John’s Woods.
Amerisips this year completed its 3,050-square-foot Whilden model home at Village Place in St. John’s Woods. Priced at $701,000, the house includes a 9 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system and racks up $29,000 in federal and state renewable energy tax credits, according to Brian Strombotne of Amerisips and community manager for Carolina One New Homes.
Features of the completed Whilden design include Masonite interior doors; gas fireplace; bamboo hardwood floors; eco-cork surfaces in the mud room; and dishwasher, pullout microwave, built-in cooktop, GE Energy Star refrigerator and granite countertops in the kitchen.
In a notable achievement for a residence, the Whilden model is certified top-of-the-line LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council. It’s also built to withstand 130 mph winds, according to Amerisips.
Also this year, the builder completed eco-shell exteriors for a Brunswick model home and for an Archdale floor plan. Meanwhile, work continues on the White’s Boomerville I home.
Don White related a story from the first time he and wife Fern met with Bostic. “We walked into his office. With my background in engineering, we started talking a lot about the solar (climate) system, air tight (construction), SIPs,” he recalls. “I was hooked.”
The Amerisips eco-shells, home sites and completed home are off Maybank Highway on Johns Island. Traveling south on the highway, cross over the Stono River to Johns Island and continue to River Road. Go past River Road just more than two miles and turn left on St. John’s Woods Parkway. Take the parkway to the back of the Villages in St. John’s Woods. Ahead is the Whilden model; other floor plans are down the street.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agent: Brian Strombotne
Office: Carolina One New Homes-Amerisips
Philosophy: (From website) “We believe that every customer, no matter the size or budget of their home – cottage or country villa – should receive the same hassle-free process, stellar customer service and high performance Free Energy Living home.”
The Brunswick model, graced by a live oak, is completed on the outside (Leroy Burnell/Staff).×
This device acts as a water chiller, similar to how a geothermal system works but all above ground. The unit runs the Archdale model from Amerisips (Leroy Burnell/Staff).×
The Amerisips model home at Village Place in St. John’s Woods is the 3,050-square-foot Whilden, built with an eco-shell and many other environmental features (Leroy Burnell/Staff).×
The Whilden model places the master bedroom on the first floor (Leroy Burnell/Staff).×
Stainless steel appliances and rows of cabinets mark the the model floor plan’s kitchen at Village Place in St. John’s Woods (Leroy Burnell/Staff).×
A fireplace and wood floors highlight the living room in the Whilden floor plan (Leroy Burnell/Staff).×
An airy entrance distinguishes the Whilden home, priced at $701,000 (Leroy Burnell/Staff).×
This thermostat displays the settings in large numbers (Leroy Burnell/Staff).×
The master bathroom in the Whilden model has a glass enclosed shower. Amerisips is building the energy-efficient homes on Johns Island Leroy Burnell/Staff×
The Whilden model sports a broad porch with hardwood floors (Leroy Burnell/Staff).×
The meter that keeps track of the power supply is tucked away near the front of the house. Bostic shows how the meter gauges energy use of rooftop solar panels (Leroy Burnell/Staff).×