When Custom is Personal
River Creek builder constructs his family’s dream home on Kiawah
By Rob Young
Photos by Jim Somerset
Cheers to the best builder-client relationship ever. When you're the builder and the client, it's bound to be.
Colin Regan began River Construction Company 14 years ago. Now he and his wife Ashley run the company, building three to five custom homes a year mostly on Kiawah Island. In 2018, they likely moved into their favorite project, a 3,600-square-foot home featuring four bedrooms and 4 1/2 bathrooms on Kiawah's West Beach.
"We like to call the home our beach cabin," Ashley says. "It's beachy, but more like southern California. It's very comfortable."
A Unique Start
Colin began his career working in an administrative capacity for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on Fox Island, Va. Then in 2003, Hurricane Isabel destroyed the facility where he worked and lived. The foundation offered Colin a position working with the construction company in charge of the rebuild. Colin quickly took to the job.
"The foundation told him, ‘we don't have anything for you to do, but if you want to get paid, you can join the construction crew’ and he just loved it."
Colin worked for a pair of other companies before venturing out on his own to form River Creek Construction in 2007, the same year he built the company's first home on Kiawah Island.
Colin and Ashley had a chance meeting on Sullivan's Island and married in 2014.
Now they reside on Kiawah Island with their two children, Whaley and Jack, and two Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, Rutabaga and Dungarvan. The name Dungarvan speaks to Colin's love for the outdoors, as it references a creek in Alberta, Canada, known for its trout stream.
Today the husband-wife pair work in tandem with Ashley using her interior design skills as added value for clients.
"I keep the day-to-day operations going, I do the books and I work with clients on selections if our clients don’t have a designer," Ashley says. "That frees Colin to spend his time on site with our projects. He doesn't have to worry about anything."
Architect On Board
The couple paired with Charleston architect Kenneth Wiland to build the home.
"Colin is a builder, so he sees things the right things and wrong things do," Wiland said. He wanted to do something that felt natural for the lot and landscape.
“It blends as opposed to being too much. It's a great aesthetic that didn't cause a problem getting built," Wiland said.
In accordance with the Regans' wishes, the house is a H-shaped floor plan. "Most of the house is only one room deep in any direction, and it puts windows on opposite sides of the walls in all of the rooms, as opposed to being a square structure," Wiland says. "Colin was very clear in what he wanted and he gave me leeway to do what I wanted. It was a very streamlined process."
The reclaimed beams in the living room, bookshelves, kitchen shelves and upstairs bathroom shelves were found in the upstate, sourced by John Griffiths Hardware Flooring in Charleston.
"On the floors, John also did a new style of coating our white oak floors with and Old English tint to make them look extra special," Ashley says.
The vaulted living room drove the design of the H-shaped floor plan.
"It allowed us to put the living room in the middle with the master bedroom on one side of the H, and the guest room on the other side," Wiland says. "I really like working with people who value the craft of what we're doing and believe in the craft and doing things the right way."
Custom Local Fittings
The house contains several favorite features, including the C2Paint interior colors and the unique exterior colors.
"The inspiration was a piece of Live Oak bark from a tree on the lot," Ashley says. Black framed windows on the interior and exterior provided a focal point for the design. "These windows were a must when designing," she says, "so this played as a compass for choosing all other design elements."
Each doorknob is crystal egg shaped, as sourced by Mount Pleasant's Foxworth Decorative Hardware.
Wiland designed each of the openings to be the same height, including the hallway, bump out stove and sink, and doorways. "The symmetry, smooth lines and simplicity was very important to me as well as Kenneth throughout the process," Ashley says. Local contractor Joe Faust also adorned the fireplace wall, sink and stove bump-ins in plaster.
Robert Paige designed, built and installed the custom cabinetry, using an artistic eye to help the Regans keep the home clean and simple. The dining room table is also custom-made. Ashley found the bases on Ebay and had the quartz table made to fit the space.
Cole and Sons produced the metallic flamingo paper in the dining room. In the kitchen, cement pendants hang from above the island. Charleston Lighting and Interiors sourced all the lighting in the home. "It was the only thing we picked out prior to the house being designed," Ashley says. "We knew we wanted to incorporate those to bring the elements from outside the house."
Possibly, the garage could be a second home. "It's huge," Ashley says. "It fits two flat boats, two cars and a home gym. Bruza Construction did a special floor for us that they actually tested on us first. Since then, every house River Creek Construction has done has had this epoxy 'liquid' floor."
Similarly, the laundry room is also outsized, the custom tiling from Fireclay Tile. "I wanted a large and functional laundry room with a dog water bowl station, since our Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are messy drinkers," Ashley says, laughing.
The Regans installed a generator to power their house during hurricane season. "We have sheltered there for the last two years," Ashley says. "It's the best decision ever, since Kiawah kills power to the island during hurricanes."
The Regans also do their fair share of entertaining inside their large 16-foot-by-16-foot screened-in porch on the first floor. Essentially a comfy lounge, it's filled with a TV and plush couches. The design also allows for a rear courtyard and pool beneath the porch, making optimal use of the space.
It's where Colin, an avid hunter, cooks up Boston butts and occasionally even boar for his guests.
Colin's parents live just a few miles away, allowing the Regans to enjoy a family-first, simpler lifestyle. "On the (Kiawah) home tour in November, so many said it was their favorite, and that it looked like it was comfortable and lived in," Ashley says. "We built our home around family. We really just wanted a safe place for our children and dogs, so we could go to the beach every day and go biking. Since we work out on Kiawah every day anyway, it just made sense to take that plunge."
River Creek Construction
Charleston Lighting and Interiors
Foxworth Decorative Hardware
John Griffiths Hardware Flooring
Robert Paige Cabinetry