Embracing true coastal living on Beresford Creek
By E.C. Waldron
After living in New Orleans, Karen and Robert Reuther’s dream was to live on “deep water” in the Charleston area so they could keep their 36-foot boat Yellowfin on their own dock and be ready to fish offshore. At first, they planned to build a brand-new home and were looking for a waterfront lot.
They then found the ideal stunning home on Beresford Creek north of Daniel Island, with 5,000 plus square feet. Originally built in 2004, the four-bedroom, six-bath home was so beautifully constructed they decided to renovate, keeping the bones, but giving it a more coastal feeling.
Robert, a local eye surgeon and Karen, a former nurse, had always boated and fished when living in New Orleans. Being as close to the water as possible brings them joy. Now they go out their door, climb aboard the Yellowfin, and sail from Beresford Creek to the Wando River to the jetties and beyond.
“It’s five o’clock in the morning and you get out in the ocean and see all kinds of dolphins, turtles, whales, fish and birds,” said Robert. “Sometimes the sea is crystal clear like the Caribbean and sometimes its inky blue.”
Karen says this is when she truly leaves her cares behind. “The feeling I get when we pass through the jetties is one of peacefulness. I sit back in my comfy beanbag chair and watch the sun rise over the ocean. It’s truly spectacular.”
There are practical reasons the Reuthers wanted a deep-water site. As anyone who boats knows, there is a lot of work involved: prepping for safety, stowing gear, checking equipment, preparing food and drink—and then reversing all those steps, along with cleaning fish and the boat upon return. The Reuthers love that they can prep the day before and be ready to sail first thing in the morning, then stow the Yellowfin at the end of the day.
Their family includes two daughters in their twenties who also love to boat and fish but may miss that early morning call. But their two English bulldogs are always ready—they climb on board and swim, get dirty and eat fish.
The pups, May and Grouper, even have their very own room inside the house where they can hang out and dry off until they are allowed back into the main part of the home.
The couple’s love of the sea in the Lowcountry informed their renovation plans. There were some lists made before they decided to buy the Beresford Creek house.
Karen originally wanted to build a new home so they could get all the features they would want but saw the existing opportunities in the home. The home is elevated, and she was thinking of the future.
“I definitely wanted an elevator and walk in showers just to make our lives easier going forward,” said Karen.
The footprint of the house was ideal, with the primary bedroom on the main floor. Once they closed on the house, they were able to make all the changes on Karen’s wish list before they moved in.
The previous flooring, while high-end and beautiful, was very dark wood. They hired Wood Brothers to install 9-inch planks of pickled oak wood very light in color to brighten up the space. Their general contractor, Salt Marsh Contracting, had most of the house painted Chantilly White, which also brightened the interior. Salt Marsh completed the rest of the interior renovations, including the bathrooms. Interior designer Kimberly Wray worked with Karen designing the changes for the bedrooms and baths.
Karen said one of her obsessions was hunting for the right granite for the bathrooms.
“I’m a big fan of going to every granite yard in Charleston to find the right slabs,” she said. She chose very large quartz panels for two of the bathrooms—some so large they had to be hauled in through windows. These beautiful stones came from South America and are primarily white and beige with veins running through them.
Robert said the original kitchen was exceptional and had already been featured in a design magazine, so it was mainly a cosmetic redo for that area.
“We only changed the finish on the marble countertops,” he said.
Karen and Robert each have their favorite places or features in their renovated home.
For Karen, it’s the upstairs hanging day bed near their bedroom, where she can sit, rock and enjoy the view of Beresford Creek. The daybed was purchased from Ballard Designs in Mount Pleasant Towne Centre.
And for Robert, who has a busy practice at Carolina Eyecare Physicians, he loves using the steam feature installed by Saltmarsh in the bathroom shower. Very relaxing after a full day.
The couple enjoys entertaining, hosting small and large groups, so redesigning the outdoor areas was key for the renovation.
First, the entrance. The Reuthers had the fountain in front of the house redesigned by sculptor Zan Smith. There is a large frog in the center holding a fish spouting water and several smaller amphibians around the base. Whimsical and fun. They have plans to add fish to complete the pond effect.
All the travertine stone and landscaping was done by GrandScapes, based in Mt Pleasant.
One of the key changes was giving the outdoor fireplace in back of the house a facelift.
“It was a Rocky Mountain facade that we changed that to a shell tabby facade and so it's very coastal,” said Robert.
A finishing touch was adding large lighting sconces on the house in the backyard for nighttime entertaining or crack of dawn fishing expeditions. The lighting was installed by The Urban Electric Company in North Charleston.
They carved out a place for fishing buddies to hang out before and after boat outings.
“We developed the garage into kind of a fishing tackle area, kind of my man cave downstairs. We added a bar as well,” Robert said.
Having lived in New Orleans for many years, the waterways and local cuisine make this place equally special to the Reuthers. They recently hosted a crawfish boil for a large group of friends.
“You know coming from New Orleans you live in a port city, and you know everything’s around the water, so this place feels natural to us. This is similar to where we grew up. Charleston’s a special place; there's no place like it on earth. New Orleans is the same: there’s no place like it on earth; it’s a unique city. So we just feel very blessed to live here in Charleston.”