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Maison, Sweet Maison

French country style home comes complete with a secret door, princess niche and outdoor living spaces

A circular Portuguese limestone drive and entrance courtyard with gardens make one feel magically transported to a French country village.

A circular Portuguese limestone drive and entrance courtyard with gardens make one feel magically transported to a French country village.

When Toby Hill’s longtime neighbors and good friends told him they were going to build a house in John’s Island, he was surprised. What wasn’t a surprise was that they chose his construction firm, The Hill Group, to make it become a reality.

“They had lived next door to us in Riomar Bay Two and loved it here,” says Hill. “I knew they owned a waterfront lot in John’s Island and had toyed around with the idea of living there, but never seriously. They considered it an investment.”

That investment was viewed differently after the couple saw a house designed by Andrew Kirschner. Impressed and wondering “what if,” the wife contacted the award-winning architect and asked if he would look at their lot and see what he thought might work there. She added a postscript: “I love country French.”

With that, Kirschner got to work. The result was a color rendering of a two-story French country style house that, as the architect says, “sort of rambles on the property.” 

The couple couldn’t resist. However, there was one small sticking point: The husband had enjoyed a five-minute commute to his office for over 20 years, and the thought of adding 10 to 15 minutes to that drive time held little to zero appeal. Fortunately, Kirschner’s design had mega-appeal written all over it.