REAL ESTATE

Plantation-Style Estate Is a Slice of Heaven on South Carolina's Spring Island

  • Great room

    Great room

Few homes truly capture the essence of the South like this estate on Spring Island in Okatie, SC. Whether you're enjoying the purple hues of twilight from the screened-in porch or kicking back with a glass of wine in front of the fireplace, this home invites a slower pace of life, Southern style.

Listed for $3.5 million, the 9.43-acre estate, custom designed by Jim Strickland of Historical Concepts, was a labor of love for owners Rick and Buffie Baxter. While the property has modern conveniences such as two master suites and massive walk-in closets, the little details are what really mattered to Buffie.

"It is a very unusual property," says listing agent Sally Papineau. "All the finishes are very high-end. The exterior is cedar shake and cypress. The floors are heart of pine."

Every room has a little something extra. In the spring, rows of plantation-era french doors open to a lush courtyard, giving the home a pleasant breeze. In the winter, the stately wood-burning fireplace keeps things cozy.

The formal dining room takes you back in time to a more graceful era with its custom crystal chandelier, high ceiling, and fireplace.

In the library, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves flank the massive fireplace. The space feels classic, but it has modern touches. A computer desk can be quickly tucked behind a false panel to maintain the period look.

It might be Buffie's favorite room in the house. "I love my office," she says.

Even the butler's pantry got a special touch. "There is stained glass along the pantry," Buffie says, "and you can open up the french doors on the other side to get a breeze."

Outside, there is a stocked pond in the front yard. "We just got a 10-pound catfish out of there last weekend," says Rick Baxter.

In the back is a mature orchard with citrus trees, grape vines, and even kiwis. A large barn can be converted to horse stalls, and there is plenty of space to add grazing pastures.

There is even a gorgeous guesthouse. "It matches the main house exactly," says Buffie.

Spring Island is a small community with only 400 homeowners, according to Papineau. It feels more like a small town than a vacation resort, and everyone makes a point to know their neighbors.

"They're all fabulous people, and I don't know how that has happened in one place," says Buffie.

The community also has a golf course, equestrian center, sport center, clubhouse, and two restaurants; and everything is designed for year-round living.

"There is not a better place on the East Coast, from Miami to Maine, that is better than Spring Island," says Rick. "It is a little piece of heaven."