Nathan Cameron of Cameron & Cameron Custom Homes builds a house unlike any other in Palmetto Bluff.
Nathan Cameron had never seen anything like it. So the local homebuilder built it. Now he lives in it, and it’s a showpiece professionally.
“I was challenging myself to build stuff that would be different than the norm,” said the owner of Cameron & Cameron Custom Homes in Bluffton. “I want my future clients to say, ‘Oh, I want this or I want that, or what does this cost, where did you get that’ … I don’t think there’s anything I didn’t do that I could think of that I would change … from the heated floors, any option that I wanted, I did it.”
He and his team worked from the summer of 2013 to December to build a home unlike any other in Palmetto Bluff — or anywhere else.
“This is my dream way of living — I pinch myself every morning,” said Cameron, a native of upstate New York who founded his boutique residential construction and remodeling company four years ago. “I followed my dreams and I wake up every morning and go, ‘This is real.’ “
Cameron, who lived in Colleton River Plantation for six years and built several custom-designed homes there, bought the 1.8-acre lot on Nottingham Road in Palmetto Bluff in 2011 and spent five months working on the design with Court Atkins Architects in Bluffton. Then he partnered with principal Kelley McRorie and designer Anna Gustafson of K.S. McRorie Interior Design on Hilton Head Island to furnish the home and create the ambiance.
“I designed this for me,” said Cameron, who got his start in construction as a kid working with his dad. “After I had the architectural design done, I hired (McRorie and Gustafson) and really the rest of the vision was mostly them … the furnishings and decor. I wanted something edgy, I wanted something different … something to put me on the map (professionally), if you will, and I think they hit it out of the park. This is kind of Ralph Lauren meets industrial feel.”
“He wanted a sense of place, appropriate to the Lowcountry and where we are,” said McRorie, who founded her company in 2007. “However, he wanted something a little different than the typical Southern vernacular houses that are done out (at Palmetto Bluff) — something that still feels Southern, still feels Lowcountry, but still is more design-forward.
“A lot of the (furniture) frames are very traditional, but the fabrics that we chose are very contemporary, so it gives it a modern feel that looks completely fresh, and we put it with a crocodile leather ottoman,” added McRorie, whose firm also has a substantial portfolio of commercial hospitality projects around the country and abroad. “It could be in a Ralph Lauren store, so it’s really a cool mix.”
“It’s a very warm, inviting space,” Gustafson said. “It’s the body of work” that defines their design style, not any one room or artistic touch, she said.
“The overall look of the house is our signature,” McRorie said. In their palette of design styles are blacks and whites, brass, steel and glass, traditional and contemporary, rustic and modern, European and Lowcountry, brick and tabby, sexy and chic, and textured wall treatments.
Here are the numbers: This home, with pine, palmetto and hardwood trees anchoring the luscious outdoor landscape, boasts 5,500 square feet of indoor living space, 2,200 square feet of outdoor living space, four bedrooms and a guest suite over the attached garage, four-and-a-half bathrooms, one fireplace inside and another one outside made of hand-placed oyster shells from the May River. Everything is custom-made except for the old Savannah brick in the kitchen and elsewhere.
What makes this custom-built home formidable — besides its size, which is expansive but not obtrusive in the neighborhood — is the precise attention to detail from room to room.
“Every room has a focal point, whether it is iron walls, different woods or cypress beams with grass cloth on the walls,” Cameron said. “Rustic clean lines with a modern feel.”
“There’s lots of textural elements,” McRorie said. “I feel like every room you go into, there’s something you want to touch and feel.”
Here are some details: reclaimed stained white oak flooring throughout the home; butt-board wood walls; a long, airy glass breezeway with cobblestone flooring connecting the garage to the home; an open floor plan from the kitchen, dining room (where Cameron, his fiancee, Julia, and his two children eat breakfast, lunch and dinner alongside an expansive wall of glass with outside views) and a living room with 12-foot high ceilings with transoms and a gas/wood-burning cast iron fireplace by Francois & Co. framed by old Savannah brick and activated by remote control; leather and suede on the walls; mahogany doors; a customized “farm-to-table feel” butler’s pantry with Dutch doors; oversized crackled subway tile for a “vintage look and feel;” black finish in brass lighting fixtures; a hand-forged iron railing leading upstairs; hand-painted Italian tile flooring in the first-floor powder room; a stingray skin covering a console in the upstairs hallway; a master bedroom stretching 18 feet to the cypress ceiling; and a master bathroom with a doorless two-entrance shower centered by an artsy-looking exotic African granite slab, heated shower floor and his-and-her sinks.
The expansive kitchen showcases a brick backsplash, floating shelves, a brass sink from Italy, custom cabinetry by Palmetto Cabinet Studio, a laminated Calcutta gold granite countertop that cascades over the counter’s edge to the floor below in a flowing waterfall motif, two custom-made pendant lights designed by a local artist that illuminate the island below, which is topped in black absolute granite with a leather finish, and state-of-the-art Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances.
“You won’t find another house where people did black-and-white cabinets and antique brass,” Cameron said. “That’s something they might do in New York City. Right now, I’m the frontrunner for this look.”
Off the dining room are a grill porch for cooking and entertaining that accesses the full cabana, a swimming pool and hot tub, and an enclosed porch that features the unique Lowcountry fireplace with a cypress mantel, cypress ceiling and hanging bed.
Outside, the exterior is completely concrete masonry that looks like wood but is low maintenance and weather-resistant.
Now that Cameron has built his dream home, he’s living the good life in Palmetto Bluff.