Lofty Alternatives: Ranch, two-level styles anchor new phase of Carolina Bay neighborhood

The Copper Ridge model in Cypress at Carolina Bay is available with second floor loft. Pulte Homes is building 67 houses in its second phase in the neighborhood.

Leroy Burnell

While not new to Pulte Homes, a flexible type of floor plan has found its way into the builder’s Carolina Bay community -– with positive results.

Pulte’s Harbor and Harbor Loft collections provide buyers with clear-cut design choices. They can opt for one-story models that tout wide open layouts. Or they can choose somewhat larger designs sporting upstairs bonus rooms.

The Michigan-based builder started marketing the two-pronged plans last year in the 67-home second stage of Cypress at Carolina Bay, located off Savannah Highway about three miles west of Interstate 526. Pulte opened three sales models in early October. All told, the builder has landed purchasers for 23 houses at Cypress. Both ranch and double-decker styles have sold.

“It just depends on the buyer,” says Reta Troutman, sales consultant for Pulte Homes’ South Carolina Coastal Market. “You really have a mixed group here.”

In its first stage at Cypress, the builder framed 96 traditional homes, which have all sold. It has just started preparing lots for the final, third phase of 26 houses.

The Harbor floor plans are all considered one-story, although loft designs provide a loft, bedroom and bath upstairs.

Models are the Copper Ridge, which is 1,590 square feet as a ranch and 2,263 square feet with the loft; Surrey Crest at 1,705 and 2,518 square feet respectively; Vernon Hill at 1,887 and 2,583 square feet; Willow Bend at 1,919 and 2,637 square feet and Tifton Walk, which at 1,856 and 2,722 square feet is available with an unconventional three-car garage.

“What’s neat about this series is (for customers’) downsizing, you can have a one story; for a family, there’s space upstairs,” Troutman says. “We can accommodate.”

Base home prices are $214,990 to $241,990 for the one-level models and $244,990 to $271,990 for the loft collection.

Along with flexible layouts, each plan offers five available front looks. Brick accents, front columns and false dormers are among the distinctive styling cues.

Pulte incorporates a host of standard features throughout its lineup such as 9-foot smooth ceilings; 36-inch kitchen cabinets, stove, dishwasher and microwave; home offices; carpeted floors in the bedrooms and living quarters; raised bathroom vanities with twin sinks; separate shower and tub in the master baths; and two-car garages.

A few perks match up with selected layouts, such as great rooms in the Surrey Crest and Copper Ridge floor plans.

At the same time, the builder offers scores of extras. Sunrooms, screened-in porches and additional bedrooms are all available. Fireplaces that include overhead space for wall-mounted flat-screen TVs are options. So are kitchen islands, granite countertops, 42-inch cabinets and stainless appliances including refrigerator. Optional wainscoting and crown molding accentuate walls and ceilings, and oak or hickory hardwoods distinguish floors. Whirlpool tubs can be installed in the master bathrooms.

Even the garage can be tweaked to include a pull-down ladder to provide additional storage space, Troutman says. Another option is a four-foot garage extension. “You can use the space (for instance) if you have a work bench,” she says.

Lots as large as one-third acre come fully landscaped and in some cases back up to wetlands and ponds. A community perk is an amenities center with swimming pool. Homeowners association dues of $450 a year help pay for upkeep.

As Troutman sees it, the 'either-or' home styles are a major selling point for the Cypress neighborhood.

“This is something totally new for us,” she says. “It’s just a little something for everyone.”

To reach Cypress at Carolina Bay’s second phase from downtown Charleston, travel west on Savannah Highway to the I-526 intersection. Go three more miles to a traffic light and take a right on Carolina Bay Drive. Proceed less than one mile and turn right at the amenities center on Amberhill Way. Continue to Pleasant Hill Drive. The models are ahead.