Wooden stairs along a winding driveway of the home at 26 Courageous St. lead guests past a gurgling fountain to the front door of one of River Hills Plantation’s earliest homes.
Built in 1982, the Huntley-Ward home is a contemporary statement home with vast views of Lake Wylie.
“We were looking for our dream home,” Linda Huntley said, “our little camp on the lake.”
One of the most eye-catching features upon entering the home is its massive wall of stone with a fireplace and a recessed wet bar.
“The stone is the story of the house,” said husband Bob Ward.
Starting in the basement, the stone reaches to the top level of this architecturally unique tri-level home.
“I’m told the workmen would lay out the stone in a pattern on the driveway before transferring it to its position inside,” he said.
The 5,000-square-foot home with four bedrooms and six bathrooms has had three owners. Its newest owners found the house in foreclosure. No one had lived in it for three years.
“The only thing that had lived in here was bugs,” Ward said. “Even our realtor was jittery about coming inside when we scheduled return visits to the property.”
The couple moved in almost three years ago and began remodeling themselves. They took down ceilings, gutted bedrooms, tore out bathrooms and ripped off the deck.
Still under construction, the upgrades are nearly completed as the couple prepares to be one of five stops on the April 30 Home and Garden Tour, hosted by Clover-Lake Wylie Republican Women’s Club. The annual event raises money for the Fay Bergman Scholarship, which goes to students in the Clover School District area.
“Our homes on tour represent an eclectic selection of newly renovated or gently loved homes,” said Peggy Upchurch, club president.
This year’s tour features three homes in River Hills and two homes in the Allison Creek area.
The Courageous Street couple often show pictures of what was previously the media room, complete with sound proofing around the walls.
“You wouldn’t have known there were windows in here,” Ward said. “This room was fully paneled. Even the windows were covered with dark paneling.”
The couple stripped the walls and inserted bookshelves and a window seat, using what were pocket doors for the room as the seat topper. Now, the room opens to a view of maples, which, during the early fall, complements the cool la fonda terracotta color of this newly created reading area.
Huntley is not afraid of colors. From her palette she has selected warm elephant for the walls in the living room, offsetting the gray stone surrounding the fireplace, and clarified butter in the hallway leading to the grandchildren’s room. Revere pewter and distance blue provide a calming effect on walls in other areas throughout the house.
“She never uses the same color twice,” Ward said.
The most ambitious changes have been made in the basement. As a retired commercial pilot who flew internationally, Ward said he was influenced by European styles as he refreshed the his-and-hers bathroom with its infrared sauna, Jacuzzi and two tiled walk-in closets, along with the workout room and coffee bar. Improvements also include bamboo flooring, heated towel racks, heated floors in the bathrooms and an air tub that blows bubbles, eliminating the need for frequent cleaning or purging.
While the couple has done massive renovations, they did not change the home’s configuration.
“The house is architecturally sound,” Ward said. “And you don’t knock out walls when they’re made of stone.”
The couple love their home and its views. Ward said he loves the way the sun comes up over a thicket of trees bordering a lush landscape along the lake’s shore as he sips a morning cup of coffee. He is lulled by the shimmering lights.
“I could just look at it forever,” he said.
Want to go?
The 30th annual Home and Garden Tour, hosted by Clover-Lake Wylie Republican Women’s Club is 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets cost $20, and are available at The Cleaners at Lake Wylie, Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce, from club members, River Hills Community Association office and at the main gate on the day of the tour. For more information, call 803-831-2455 or 803-831-0689.
Take a lunch break
Tour-goers will be treated to scenes and settings with a French country flair 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at Concord Cove Restaurant, 5303 Concord Cove Road, York. The restaurant is offering a choice of three Parisian-themed lunch options and dessert for $17.95. Owner Johnny Funderburke will donate a portion of the cost to the scholarship. Reservations are not necessary.
Born in Nyack, N.Y., in 1922, Fay Bergman moved to the Charlotte area with her two children and husband, a textile chemist, in 1955. A passionate Republican, Bergman performed as a dancing Nixon Belle when President Nixon's plane landed in Charlotte during his presidency in the early ’70s. She lived in River Hills for 37 years until her health declined. Last year, Bergman moved to Jacksonville, N.C., to be near her daughter.
Bergman served as the first president of the Clover-Lake Wylie Republican Women’s Club from 1988 to 1991. In 1996, she served a second term as president.
The club named the scholarship in her honor three years ago.
“My mom remembers with pride presenting one of her hand-sewn patriotic Raggedy Ann dolls to Barbara Bush,” said Karin Strayer, Bergman’s daughter. “But the best part about her political life was meeting and greeting new friends and getting to know all the different personalities through the years.”