Our primary residence is outside of Raleigh, North Carolina in a small town called Youngsville. We moved from Pittsburgh (Stephanie) and Boston (Ryan) 18 years ago while we both worked for IBM, and we fell in love with the Carolinas. I built a digital transformation company called PointSource, where Ryan ran the Program Management office. After taking the company through a public firm acquisition, we wanted to find a new balance in our lives. I now work as an executive at Oracle, and Ryan manages our lives, leaving us all more time to spend together as a family. Our family also includes our labradoodle, Aspen, and Gracie, our beagle.
How did you hear about Daufuskie?
After visiting the Outer Banks for years, we were looking for a new place to visit. After happening upon one of the Melrose beach cottages listed on a rental site, we decided to check out this island we had never heard of. The first day of our trip, we honestly wondered if we had made a mistake as we embarked on a speed boat/golf cart/grocery acquisition adventure. By day 2, we never wanted to leave. We spent a week learning the history of the island, finding sand dollars, and teaching our daughter, Adelaide, how to play cards on the deck while watching the ocean. It was also the week Adelaide fell in love with riding, and she has become a dedicated equestrian both on the island and in North Carolina.
How did you decide to move here?
While we had gone on many amazing trips as a family from Disney World, to Hawaii, to Milan, the week we spent in Daufuskie created memories we kept revisiting. We found ourselves wishing we were back on the island regularly. We decided to buy a lot, and build a house that could be something we shared as part of a family estate. We imagined spending a few months a year on the island during Adelaide’s trackouts (she is in a private year-round school in NC). In actuality, we have spent more time on the island than in our home in NC since the pandemic!
How has life changed since moving?
During our time on the island, Adelaide has been tracked out or attending virtual school. My role at Oracle has always been a remote position, though previously I traveled nearly every week. We have a guest cottage we built over our golf cart barn, and I work from there so that I can have a separation of work and home – with a very short commute! The fiber cable on the island has made it a dream to manage both virtual school and a demanding technical job. Despite still having plenty of demands on our time, the pace of our life on the island is the more intentional balance we had been seeking. Ryan golfs, Adelaide rides, I practice yoga. We take bikes rides, and walk our dogs. We love the community on the island, and enjoy spending time with the many diverse and fascinating people who share a love for this amazing place.
What made you decide to build?
Knowing we wanted a home that would become something we passed down as a family home, we wanted it to be something we put our mark on. We also fell in love with our lot, with water on two sides, and gorgeous live oaks and wildlife. After chatting with several builders, we loved the feeling that Chuck Hunter approached home building like an artist. He wanted to ensure it was not simply a transaction, but a whole experience. It also said a lot to us that he is an active member of the community, and had built some very efficient ways of working over the years. Chuck let my daughter, with my husband’s help, knock down the first tree on our lot. We went into the house during framing and wrote quotes and outlined our handprints on the beams and walls. Our family was part of every step of building the home. Chuck also introduced me to a wonderful interior designer, Lisa Furey, who I now call a friend. She helped me ensure my selections and style were well represented. We wanted a Lowcountry cottage feel that would be very clean and comfortable, but not stereotypically beachy. We did not want wasted or extra space, and we wanted everything we built to have a functional purpose.
What was it like building on an island?
Everyone will tell you – get used to island time! We heard our share of horror stories of timelines stretching out years. While the build was a little slower than we hoped, we were moved in only a few months after our original target date. I’ve been told our house build might be a record on the island: we knocked the first tree down in June 2018, broke ground in late Fall, and moved in January 2020. Even though we kept a long term rental while our house was under construction and visited every few months, the toughest part for us was building at a distance. It was very hard to keep up with progress, which is true for any remote build, but feels even tougher on an island where you can’t easily run out to the store. I can’t stress enough how amazing the community has been in helping us: from the Haig Point staff, to Chuck and his team, as well as Susan Taylor, our realtor, have all gone out of their way to help us with the small and large unique challenges we have hit – from furniture delivery to raccoons inside the kitchen of our rental property!