Hunting for Your Happy Place | Callawassie Island

Hunting for Your Happy Place

How HGTV’s House Hunters Helped One Couple Find their Callawassie Island Dream

“Let’s get a little beach place.” Jamie and Lisa Pentz loved where they were living out west when the thought came up – loved their neighbors, home, careers, nestled in the high peaks of Boulder, Colorado. They also agreed on the dream and leaned into the locality of Lisa’s parents to help them start looking around the coastal communities in the southeast. Her parents were living on St. Simon’s Island, GA at the time, but not for long. By the time they made their way up to Callawassie, they came away with more than just intel for their daughter and son-in-law. They’d bought a house for themselves.

So, the report was good. The Pentzes took note and now they had family to stay with on the island. They came to visit a few times and got to know the lay of the land before landing on a property. As Jamie puts it, “I knew every single street” as there aren’t very many on this exclusive private island in the Palmetto State.

“It was magical. Gorgeous.”

“We thought we would just stay a couple months.”

“We fell in love with more than just the wildlife.”

The compliments roll in like a king tide when they replay their meet-cute with their future home. “We told my parents, ‘We get it too,’” said Lisa.

They tested the waters of their water-locked destiny by not only putting their home in the Rockies on the market but overpricing it substantially on purpose. “We put a crazy number on it, and we said to each other, if we get that, this was meant to happen,” said Lisa who knew her numbers well as an accomplished agent in her field. They set a high bar, and a buyer exceeded it, so Callawassie Island was calling and just like that, the hunt was on.

That would become literal in the months to come as Lisa recalled working with some contacts with HGTV back home in CO. She called and asked if they were interested in featuring the Pentzes as buyers, not as a real estate connection.

That’s where the made-for-TV drama began (lighthearted) as Lisa wanted a marsh property and Jamie wanted a golf course view, Lisa wanted ready-to-go and Jamie had his hopes set on a gut-reno. They were a match made in heaven for the premise behind HGTV’s long running hit House Hunters.

Full credence to the incomparable draw of Callawassie Island, the Pentzes’ heart for their house hunt was to stick to on-island opportunities. “Every house we looked at was here, on Callawassie” retells Jamie. “We weren’t all over Beaufort County. The show embraced our real story. They sent a very experienced team. We loved the whole process.”

The process was simple because Callawassie properties are simple to love. Like the in-laws (parents) who “bought a house on their first visit,” the Pentzes and House Hunters were a match made in TV-heaven, with Jamie and Lisa falling in love with a property almost as fast as the vision for its renovation formed in their collective minds.

“We walked in and in 20 minutes thought, ‘this should be the primary bedroom, and lighten up the floors, the shutters,’” Jamie recalls in a way you can hear him rediscovering the “low hanging fruit” of dream house possibilities. The property was magical; it was made for sitting on the back deck, against the marsh under the Spanish moss.” There was a lot to change but a lot to love and they saw it all at once on their reality TV tour of an unreal piece of paradise.

Once they’d said yes to the address, they began to dress the place up. “By the time we were done, we’d touched everything,” says Jamie. “We painted everything, changed hollow core doors for solid, painted trim, all new floors, new Baldwin hardware, new appliances, upgraded the house in general.”

Not only upgraded but decorated thanks to Lisa’s sister, the name behind Krista Miller Interiors & Exteriors, who’s Charlotte-based but with a broad regional influence. More than just a coat of paint and the right fixtures, the Pentzes know that “when you see these things, they make a difference in how you feel in a space and interact with it – those little details are the things you notice.”

To “house” these details, the Pentzes have worked more than once now with David Summerall of Summerall Construction, and they wouldn’t go anywhere else, telling him, “we found a house, love the house, love the lot, but there’s a lot you can help us with.” Jamie explains, ““We interviewed half a dozen builders, and he was the only one who answered his own phone. He tells you he’s not an architect, he’s a builder/contractor – he doesn’t try to be something he’s not, and he does more than he realizes. He typically does high end custom builds. I always judge a contractor by their subs and all David’s subs love working for him.” We trusted him for his great network of contacts and contractors as well as overall high quality of workmanship.”

Summerall’s work set the Pentzes up well for visitors and living a hosting lifestyle, including welcoming lots of guests, as well as a company off-site with Jamie’s colleagues. Then there are the guests who more than once have become locals, falling in love just as the Pentzes did and Lisa’s parents, and buying on a dime because when you cross that causeway, for so many, it’s love at first home-site.

That’s how this garden grows – one story, one Callawassie Island calling, one falling for paradise at a time. As Jamie puts it, “Everyone here is from somewhere.” They’re all “coming to Callawassie” and make it the “waver’s island” as the Pentzes call the place where everyone says hello. They describe this company of “everyone” as a “balance of people of all ages, both younger and older than we are;, people who work from home, retired, friends who just had a baby – whoever it is, we get to meet such a variety of wonderful people,” not a stranger among them. That’s the balance of warmth and connection – that’s the balance of Callawassie Island.