Beautiful Kitchens: Spaces that capture the heart of the home

Home is where the heart is, but the kitchen most would agree, is the heart of a home.

It’s where most of us gravitate to during special occasions and holidays. It feeds the body and the soul. Lasting memories are made here.

I reached out to four industry professionals who have worked with clients that took the “heart of the home” to a whole new level. From the beaches to downtown, these kitchens are as different as they are beautiful. The one common factor is that each of them are stunning, with an emphasis on function, form and unity.

The Beach

“The design work that went into 106 Charleston Boulevard is truly unlike anything I have seen in other builds,” said Sam Little of Beach Residential. “Their primary focus was on entertaining friends and family.”

The 7,000 plus square foot home lists for $4.8 million and is located along “Millionaire’s Row” on the Isle of Palms. The reverse floor plan of the home brings the kitchen to the top floor – with an openness that embraces beach views – 180 degrees of them.

“During the design, the owners met with the builder to get the perfect angle for the backrest and seat to ensure everyone was as comfortable as possible and that the pitch of the seats were comfortable for long meals,” Little said of the home’s custom banquette. “The oversized marble island countertop is one full piece. They hired a crane company in order to get the countertop to the top floor, where they determined it was 1/4 inch too short. It was removed and the process started all over again to ensure it was done perfectly.”

Little said he sees prospective clients’ eyes “light up” as soon as they get to the top of the stairs and see the kitchen. The space, built with the philosophy that the kitchen is an integral part of the living space (not just the dining and living areas), the entire upstairs is one room housing all these entertaining spaces. Custom cabinets were designed to be a certain height, with the hood over the stove covered to blend with the cabinetry and trim work. There’s a wet bar with wine fridge and commercial grade refrigerators and freezers. It flows out to the sitting area with fireplace, an IPE decked grilling porch and a living room with dual televisions and a front porch with all those ocean views of the Atlantic and Breach Inlet.

“In today’s market, kitchens are the biggest selling feature and luxury buyers look for that wow factor,” said Little. “Open concept and expansive, high end appliances, large islands and a detached pantry is what luxury buyers want.”

Little said he finds that his luxury buyers don’t “pigeon-hole” themselves into a specific design. “It is amazing to see the different design work that is present in today’s luxury homes. White on white and shiplap remains prevalent but buyers want what someone else doesn’t have,” he said.

Little said he’s also seeing colorful islands showing up and solid wood countertops with different colored upper and lower cabinets.

“Buyers want unique,” he said. “Today’s kitchens are slowly transforming to that outside the box thinking, while also incorporating the tried and true finish work that remains constant. There’s isn’t one particular thing that I’d deem more popular than another – it’s in the eye of the beholder.”


“From the moment you enter this home and see the first line of a Charles Bukowski poem stenciled next to the front door, you realize you are in for something special,” Leslie Turner of Maison Real Estate said.

“if you’re going to try, go all the way.” That first line aptly describes the home’s personality.

The modern home at 116 Grove Street in Wagener Terrace lists for $1.295 million, was completely rebuilt in 2017 and has 2,350 square feet. Like a dramatic work of art throughout, the kitchen is situated under a 25-foot ceiling. Details include a sculptural solid oak counter and free-form staircase that doubles as a work of art.

“Architect Keven Hoetdoerfer and the owners produced an incredible home,” Turner said. “It is light-filled, airy, voluminous and the closest thing Charleston has to a Frank Gehry work – soaring, strong and sculptural.”

The main room is the living, dining and kitchen spaces, with white as a predominate color. Vibrant pops of color, metal, warm wood tones and spectacular artwork (on the walls and sculptural pieces and furniture) add to this one-of-a-kind home. Floor to ceiling glass walls give views of Hampton Park. The home has been featured in “Dwell Magazine.”

We're starting a weekly newsletter about the business stories that are shaping Charleston and South Carolina. Get ahead with us - it's free.

“Everyone seems to be requesting a pantry which is quite unusual in Charleston where closets can be a bit of a scarcity,” said Turner. “This house includes a very well thought-out walk-in pantry.”

The kitchen has open shelving and custom cabinetry. A waterfalled, stark white island with a dramatic line of warm oak atop and following the lines of it, is a focal point. Created by woodworker Spiros Skartsiounis, it’s a gorgeous gathering space for entertaining. After entertaining, one can walk out to the back yard and enjoy a covered cabana that is as much as of a wow factor as the rest of this special home.

“This home epitomizes high quality, connection and creativity,” Turner said. “It is infused with Southern charm and a fresh new energy.”

The Island

“Like the rest of this home, the kitchen is a work of art,” Tricia Flannagan of Kiawah Island Real Estate (KIRE) said of 4 Ocean Course on Kiawah Island. “The curving glass breakfast bar invites casual dining and a separate center island offers additional prep space. It’s a chef’s dream.”

The 6,542 square foot home lists for $7.7 million and has four bedrooms and four baths. The kitchen has a separate center island with additional prep space and has a Wolf five-burner induction cooktop, Thermador refrigerator, Miele dishwasher and wine cooler. Designed by Kiawah architect Ken Huggins of Red Charrette and built in 2008, this home is not a traditional Charleston-inspired home.

“The home was designed around a grand live oak and the kitchen has a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook Ibis Pond,” said Flannagan. “Natural light streams in all day and depending on the time of day and season, the colors greatly change.”

KIRE’s Director of Architecture Amanda Mole said that buyers want large islands for prep and gathering, efficiently designed pantries and apron-front farmhouse sinks.

Mole is a member and chair of KIRE’s architectural review board and has a masters of architecture. She has studied in Paris and has experience in both commercial and residential architecture. According to Mole, clients like to express their individuality and that’s reflected in their choices – from cabinets to finishes.

When asked what’s in for 2020, she said, “Open shelving is a great look. The ability to display special dishes and ease of access to often-used items outweighs any downsides – it’s here to stay.”

Mole said the trend of mixing cabinet colors remains on point for kitchen trends. “White colored cabinets express individuality and this can be limiting in a resale market. The mix of color for upper and lower cabinets allows uniqueness with less risk, especially if using neutral ranges of colors,” she said.

Brass has made a comeback, but stainless steel and chrome remain the classic choices for most. Though as with cabinet colors, the trend now is to mix brass pulls with stainless appliances, “The variety of finish is less rigid,” Mole said.

Granite and quartzite are popular choices for countertops as these take repeated use better than white limestone, wood and marble.

“Porcelain is also coming into the market as an option for good wear potential,” Mole remarked.

Exciting trends in kitchens now?

“Minimizing upper cabinetry with inserts to manage storage of dishes and glassware and an increase in options to separate refrigeration from freezers with under counter freezers and ice drawers in combination with refrigeration columns plays to efficient use of space. Range hoods are a key component – whether glorified or downplayed – for both factory and custom applications, design options are increasing.”

Good design, it seems, goes hand in hand with the good heart of a home.

Contact Brigitte Surette at

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News

Free Times Breaking News