Entertaining's easy at this Low Country farmhouse that features one kitchen inside, and one on the outdoor 4 seasons porch.
By Connie Hoffa
Okatie, South Carolina
The Ohio beef and grain farm where I grew up is a long way from my country kitchen today in South Carolina’s coastal Low Country—but only if you measure the distance in miles.
Unlike me, my husband was never a farm kid. I sometimes joke that Luke thinks milk comes from the corner store! But he must have liked the feel of that old farm, because when we retired and moved to Callawassie Island—it’s about 25 miles from Hilton Head Island—we built what’s known as a Low Country farmhouse. I thought our kitchen would be the perfect place to bring a little more rural feel back into my life.
The farmhouse kitchen is the heart of our home—it opens both to the great room and also the screened porch, where we have an outdoor kitchen. We get a lot of drop-in visitors and are always offering spur-of-the-moment dinner invites. This layout lets me keep up with the conversation in the great room even when I’m cooking.
Soft green walls and antique heart pine flooring keep the feeling cozy. I like knowing that recycling 150-year-old wood saved some of today’s trees! Warm, natural cherry cabinets are set off with rustic hardware that looks aged, and granite countertops.
My dinnerware is stored in deep drawers in the bottom cabinets, just steps from the dinner table. Pots and pans are stored in similar drawers, mechanized to open or close automatically at the touch of a finger. I call them “sucker drawers,” and it’s wonderful never bumping into a half-open drawer.
We wanted the maple island to stand out, so it’s painted black with a distressed finish. Equipped with a prep sink, disposal and ice maker, it features a lighted pot rack overhead. I use the island for all my food prep and baking, and for serving buffet-style meals.
Our six-burner cooktop stove and double ovens (one is a convection oven) come in handy for entertaining, too. The pot-filler faucet makes filling those big pasta pots a breeze.
I’ve been surprised by how often we’ve used the warming drawer! Luke had lobbied for it when we built the kitchen in 2006, and now I wouldn’t be without it. I wish I’d had one all those years when waiting for kids to come home from sport practices and events!
When our kids and six grandchildren come from Ohio, we make the most of their visits. They love our outdoor country kitchen, which looks out over a parklike setting with lagoon. Sometimes we see an alligator or two.
We use the outdoor country kitchen year-round. We love to grill—it’s such a healthy way to cook meat. Two burners alongside the grill are great for steaming fresh, locally caught shrimp. Best of all, a roof overhead means we never have a cookout spoiled by summer storms or too-strong sun!
Back inside, between the two farmhouse kitchens, you’ll find the breakfast area with a plank-bottom chair from my dad’s mother’s kitchen and a library cabinet that holds my grandmothers’ china, my depression glass and my glass chickens on baskets. My parents started me on the chicken collection, and now they add whimsy throughout my kitchen, peeping over the top of my cabinets.
It’s a long way from the kitchens my grandmothers cooked in, but it’s not at all hard for me to imagine them bustling about here, making noodles, baking pies and nurturing the ones they loved.
(Floor plan illustrations by Bob Gaszak)