Clean-lined looks in The Shipyard neighborhood at Hobcaw Point
MODERN MOMENT: Situated next to a saltwater marsh, Rebecca and Aryn Linenger’s home at Hobcaw Point embraces its surroundings while pushing the boundaries of traditional Lowcountry architecture. Interior designer Becca Jones says she continued that balance inside, sourcing from “all over the globe to bring together unique, modern, and slightly industrial spaces that give a nod to the history of the shipyard.”
It looks like the fifth time’s the charm for Rebecca and Aryn Linenger. Within a decade, the couple has built, lived in, and sold four properties in the Lowcountry, but their newest home in The Shipyard neighborhood at Hobcaw Point could well be their final stop. “It’s like a unicorn,” says Rebecca. “We have a freshwater lake on one side and a saltwater lake on the other. There’s a dock out to Hobcaw Creek, and we’re a bike ride from downtown. What more could you ask for?”
The property was once part of Pritchard’s Shipyard, where naval vessels such as the Magna Carta were built in the late 1700s. Today, it’s defined by the waterways and grand old oak trees. The Linengers wanted to build a home that drew inspiration from its historical background and natural surroundings, but with a decidedly modern twist.
“It’s not easy to strike a balance between respecting the past and architectural precedents and forging forward with new forms of expression,” says residential home designer Neal Van Dalen, who has mapped out each of the family’s homes. But this 6,000-square-foot, five-bedroom residence—completed last summer—hits the spot.
With its undulating frontage and a varied roof line, the bold black-and-white structure has an industrial-modern aesthetic. Steel accents, such as the rails, connectors, and awnings, reinforce the sensibility. “The shipyard background was a good opportunity to give the house a tougher, less-refined look,” notes Van Dalen.
The Linengers—she owns a local real estate company, and he’s the head of a boutique insurance firm—never build their dwellings with the intention of moving, says Rebecca, but their contemporary creations seem to strike the right note with a certain clientele. “Someone always comes along who wants a house that looks like ours, and there really are only a handful of options.”
As a Realtor, Rebecca is well aware that modern architecture is scarce in Charleston. She’s been happy to move her young family—including Knox (seven), Cora (five), and Maya (one)—when a client comes knocking, because for her and Aryn, the homemaking process is part of the pleasure. “We just love what it does for our marriage,” she says of the search for design inspiration, found in travels to Spain, Australia, the Caribbean, and beyond. But with their most recent project, the couple is planning to stay put. “It’s the first one we took out a 30-year mortgage on,” notes Rebecca.
And, says Aryn, “This is the first one that if we were doing it over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.” The Linengers credit a “dream team” of pros—Van Dalen, builder Jay Madigan, and interior designer Becca Jones—with designing a modern dwelling that looks at home in its environment and feels like home to its young family.
Visitors step through the front door into a bright, clean-lined corridor. The walls and ceilings dispense of molding and baseboards in favor of a continuous look—an effect of utter simplicity that was far from easy to create. It’s the first hint that this house does things differently. At the end of the hall is the second hint, an office encased in walls of glass and steel. Soaring geometric windows draw the eye past barrel-shaped, metal-backed chairs and a washed walnut desk to the Lowcountry view beyond, scattered with oaks, marshland, and a hint of the port in the distance.
Waterfront Dining: The family shares most meals in the outdoor dining area, surrounded by travertine marble tile with an Ipe wood accent deck. The “Maya” slat-back chairs from CB2, crafted in Mexico out of Tabebuia rosea wood, provide a sculptural perch for lifeguarding in style. Mixed Metal: The design of the gas lanterns, crafted by Khalima Lights on Wadmalaw Island, features copper, iron, and an exposed brass backplate for a bold statement on the front porch. Black rattan chairs complete the look.
From there, the home opens up into a gathering of living, kitchen, and dining spaces. Twelve-foot ceilings allow black-grilled windows to reach high up the walls; they’re clustered in corners to enhance the contemporary look, both inside and out. Natural, neutral hues flow throughout—wood tones; shades of white and black; and brass, iron, and steel. “We wanted a palette that was really warm, that really brought the trees, the light, and all of the outside, inside,” says Rebecca.
Her inclination towards a softer, more livable aesthetic had to be balanced with Aryn’s strong contemporary bent—that was interior designer Becca Jones’s greatest challenge. “He loves anything super modern,” says Rebecca, “especially if it looks like it’s going to impale you!” Aryn affirms, “I would have everything be glass and steel. As the designer, Becca brought me back to reality and was just a great mediator.”
In the living room, for example, metal-framed chairs cradle plush leather seats. A pair of invitingly deep sofas sprawl atop impossibly slim iron legs. And all convene around a steel-wrapped fireplace framed in large-format black tile that mimics concrete.
Stained wood cabinetry in the adjacent kitchen is offset by one-of-a-kind cement tile that Jones designed and had made in Greenville. She also dreamed up a trio of distinctive brass light fixtures to hang above the sink; they were crafted on Wadmalaw Island by Khalima Lights (who made exquisite gas lanterns for the exterior as well). An equally luxurious butler’s pantry opens off to one side, hiding less-sightly necessities.
“When you have a house that’s a bit more minimalist, the reality is that while that might be your design aesthetic, you have items that need a home,” says Rebecca. In this residence, every use-case is covered: there’s a media room for family movie nights and a guest suite above the garage with its own laundry. The children even have a crafting area, just off their large playroom and close to their bedrooms on the upper floor. “A real family has real crayons!” notes Rebecca. “We were very intentional in this house to create a place for everything.”
Of course, given the setting, outdoor living space was a major focus. The team planned a pool and grilling deck, as well as kid-friendly lawns, to take advantage of the views.
Blurring the line between inside and out is a dining deck that employs remote-controlled “phantom screens.” When they’re down and the sliding glass doors pushed back, the living room and kitchen feel entirely open to the pool and the lake, but without the less-welcome intrusions of insects. Touch a button and they raise, allowing in even more light and breezes from the Wando River.
“We love having dinner out there, watching the birds and people on boats, and enjoying nature,” says Aryn. “It’s a huge privilege.”