Pamela Roberts and Joel Smith always knew they wanted a beach house. With four children — in two different age groups — and three grandchildren, they wanted to find the perfect spot for the whole family to spend time together. As luck would have it, it came together faster than they had planned. A contractor built a house on Isle of Palms in 2008, planning to live in it himself; however, soon after the home was completed, the market went down and the house went up — for sale. Pamela and Joel live in Columbia in a beautiful home that is more than 50 years old, so a beach home that was 5 years old at the time they purchased it felt brand new. They were eager to take advantage of the unexpected opportunity to make this home their own.
Pamela and Joel have spent the past few years turning the house into their home. Their goal has been to create a home that is completely family-friendly. “We were committed to having a home that was relaxed and comfortable enough that people could come off of the beach and not be afraid to sit down in a damp swimsuit,” says Pamela. To do that, Pamela and her designer, Karen Menge, a partner with Pulliam Morris Interiors, concentrated on using primarily outdoor fabrics inside for ease of maintenance and durability. The fabrics were sure to protect the high-quality furnishings Pamela and Joel placed in their home.
While Pamela wanted to focus on keeping the interior relaxed, she also wanted the house to be a haven where everything had its place so it could serve as a second home, not simply a playground, where beauty and functionality united. Pamela and Joel enjoy entertaining, whether it’s with family or friends, so the openness of the space was very appealing to them.
The large den and living room flows effortlessly onto an expansive screened porch that has more comfortable seating and dining spaces that overlook the pool area. They have enjoyed countless breakfasts and cups of coffee at the table on the screened porch, where the family often lingers for hours on end.
“We enjoy opening the doors onto the porch to have a full range of the area,” Pamela says. The porch runs alongside the back of the house, where the family can sit and enjoy the beautiful outdoor fireplace, compelling the family to head to their beach home even during the cooler months. The main living area of the home has a neutral color scheme with pops of orange and terracotta featured throughout the space. Natural jute rugs in the living room and foyer add texture and a natural feel, providing a crisp, clean quality to the area.
The interior of the three-story home boasts five bedrooms and five full bathrooms, including an office with a pull-out sofa and its own private full bathroom. The expansive home provides plenty of space for the family, and oftentimes their children’s friends. Gracie, Pamela and Joel’s daughter, plays soccer for William & Mary, a university in Virginia, and on occasion, she and her friends use the home as a stopping point when traveling to away games. Rob, their son, sings in a cappella group and has spent long weekends at the home with fellow members. Rob spent this past summer at the home while he worked for Ned, his older brother who has a design company in Mount Pleasant. Because of the home’s frequent inhabitation by their children, it’s important for Pamela that she or Joel are there most weekends during the summers to visit with them.
“Our home has served a lot of fun functions,” says Pamela. And with two of their children — and grandchildren — living in Mount Pleasant, the home is convenient for wonderful family vacations. Since purchasing the home, they now have a new tradition of hosting all of the family the week after Christmas. “We wanted to have the flexibility to come here whenever we desired, particularly having children in two different age groups. We have been amazed at how much we have used the home already for both planned and unplanned functions for friends and family,” says Pamela. This is one of the reasons Pamela and Joel do not rent out their home.
The layout of the house is unique in that one of the four upstairs bedrooms could serve as an additional master suite, complete with a full bathroom and delivering the utmost seclusion for guests. The bedroom has served the family well when visitors needed that extra sense of privacy. Various shades of blue and fun, striped rugs mark the upstairs bedrooms, again, reinforcing that sense of comfort and hospitality that the couple wants their home to convey.
When Pamela and Joel have to break away from all of the fun and excitement, they can quickly escape to the upstairs office on the third floor, which is hardwired to Pamela and Joel’s office in Columbia. The convenience of the office makes it easy for Pamela and Joel to get away for a long weekend without feeling disconnected from any necessary work, or feeling guilty for slipping away to tend to business for awhile.
The beautiful master bedroom serves as a peaceful sanctuary. With its own screened-in private porch, Pamela often spends quiet time there. Even if the house is full or marked by early risers, Pamela has the ideal space for relaxation and a little time for herself.
One of Pamela’s favorite parts of the home, and surely the central focus, is the gourmet kitchen. “My husband has become a gourmet chef,” says Pamela. “So we are always in the kitchen cooking.” While Joel is often busy cooking a fresh piece of fish on the ceramic grill, Pamela’s specialty is the salad. From avocadoes to peaches to tomatoes, Pamela always incorporates the freshest ingredients into her salad masterpieces, ensuring the feeling of summer is right at the end of the fork. “We have friends that one time asked what food we could not live without. I said salad,” she says.
The kitchen is stunningly appointed with the highest-quality professional appliances. A walk-in pantry provides ample storage and features a shelf for the grandchildren that is always fully stocked with pretzels and crackers. The expansive space flows into the dining area that features a large table that expands to seat 15 people; individual chairs mixed in with bench seats enable Pamela and Joel to equip any size dinner party. The living room area also features a wine cooler, an unexpected but welcome addition that has allowed Pamela and Joel to teach their older children about the different types of wine.
Pamela and Joel have also taken great steps to ensure the home itself provides for endless entertainment and enjoyment for the family and any visitors. A ping pong table allows for friendly competition (usually), while a weight room is being built to help the family stay as healthy as the fresh ocean air they breathe. The downstairs of the home also includes a large storage garage, guaranteeing the interior of the home remains uncluttered and functional.
While the home itself is gorgeous and welcoming, its proximity to the ocean was a very important selling point. A block-and-a-half off of the oceanfront, Pamela walks on the beach every morning. “While the kitchen and our gorgeous master bedroom are my favorite parts of the house, the gift and beauty of being able to walk on the beach in just a few moments is transforming,” says Pamela. It’s no wonder she and her family try to get there as often as possible, because, really, there is just nothing quite like a South Carolina beach.