Kiawah Island has a mesmerizing draw.

Roger and Maureen Ackerman were regular visitors to the Lowcountry for nearly three decades before deciding to answer the island’s call on a permanent basis. After Roger retired, the two decided to make Kiawah their main home.

The couple wanted a home site that would be secluded, yet accessible to Kiawah. Buying three lots on Terrapin Island Lane, a private settlement on the eastern edge of the island, they enlisted the help of Mark Finlay of Mark Finlay Architects, a world-renowned firm based in Connecticut and Charleston designer, Amelia Handegan, to lend creative vision to the home’s interior elements. The team, having worked together on several projects, created a very special Charleston-inspired, yet rustic and elegant home that melds into the Lowcountry’s lush environment.

The features

They built the home, one of 14 possible within the private Terrapin Island community, to take full advantage of the views – the Kiawah River, marshlands and the wooded foliage that envelops the home. The cedar-shingled exterior seems as if it’s part of the natural environment. Materials such as a slate roof, Ipe dense iron wood and Tischler windows were incorporated into the design, for not only aesthetic purposes, but practical ones as well; all withstand the sometimes harsh island climate.

Once inside, one feels as if they’re in what Finlay refers to as an “understated retreat.” Rightfully so, as the exquisite attention to detail is most assuredly resort and retreat-like – from its majestic porte cochere entrance to the stunning infinity pool to its grand center hall.

Upon entering, the grand hall presents the marsh views like a masterpiece painting – from front to back – one is surrounded by them. Windows in every room let in light and views on either side as well; an ever-changing slideshow of the island’s colors and hues – from sunrise to sunset. Three sets of transom-topped French doors open out to a large rear deck, off the great room. For evenings in front of the fire in the great room, a perfectly chilled glass of wine could become a customary tradition as a thermostatically controlled wine cellar and tasting room is adjacent.

The master bedroom on the home’s main floor has his and hers closets, dressing rooms and bathrooms. Three sets of transom-topped French doors lead out to a pool deck, spa and a breathtaking infinity pool.

The grand chef’s kitchen has a Gaggenau cook top, dual Dacor wall ovens, Bosch dishwasher, Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer and custom cabinetry. Countertops are honed granite, and a large center island with cherry butcher block invites cozy conversations while the chef is cooking. A separate butler’s pantry contains top-of-the-line appliances as well, with a laundry room, custom potting station with sink and half bath conveniently adjacent.

The keeping room has a fireplace and is open to the kitchen. Double pocket doors lead into the dining room. The dining space has a unique, octagonal cathedral ceiling constructed of painted beadboard. A bank of windows makes dining even more palatable. A screened-in porch with wood-burning fireplace, stone wall and 180-degree views is just outside the dining room. Finley designed the porch as an all season room and it’s ideal for entertaining and intimate parties, or as a serene spot for morning coffee or breakfast.

Two guest suites, his and her offices, sitting area with gas fireplace, large cedar storage room and library are upstairs. Connected by a catwalk and offering multiple balconies, one can view the grand great room below and take in the views simultaneously. There is a ship’s ladder on this floor — panoramic vistas of the environment and the home’s three-story lighthouse awaits.

The home’s personality is one of comfortable, casual elegance, with details such as millwork, boarded wainscoting, mahogany window sashes and a combination of cool and warm tones that mimic the seasons of the island outside.

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The five-bedroom, six bath (with two half baths) estate is over 6,200 square feet, is professionally landscaped and has a zoned irrigation system. A brick courtyard separates the home from its two-story guest house which sits atop a two-car garage.

The Guest House

The inviting guest home carries the theme of comfortable casual with a cedar entry, wood floors throughout, light-filled rooms, gas fireplace and built in cabinetry in the gathering area. Two guestrooms, a full galley kitchen and two beautifully designed baths (one with free-standing tub and separate shower) comprise the space. The guest house has everything guests could need or desire, including a laundry room area, three-stop elevator and an outdoor deck.

This one-of-a-kind, magnificent estate has Ipe dense iron decking everywhere -- bountiful places and spaces -- to view the pristine and phenomenal beauty that surrounds it. Membership to the world-class, private Kiawah Island Club, is available to the next lucky owners.

The owners have plans in hand to build an art studio on the adjacent 1.3 acre lot with two deep water docks – perfectly situated for sunrise vistas and inspiration – complete with gazebo and fireplace.

For more information about this home, visit or call 843.768.3635.

Reach Brigitte Surette at or 843-937-5542