A River Island couple likes to kick back and enjoy their home on the Savannah River – whether they are alone or joined by family, friends or wildlife.
After a rough – or even a not so rough – day, Nan and Bill Easler often can be found sitting on a freestanding porch swing by the Savannah River outside their River Island home. They unwind with wine and cheese and enjoy the simple pleasures of life – and their time together.
“It’s very peaceful. It’s very tranquil,” says Nan. “The moods of the river are so fun to watch.”
So is the diverse and abundant wildlife of the conservation community. They might see deer swim across the river to and from an island (which is uninhabitable because it is prone to flooding) on the other side of the water. Or they might be lucky enough to catch beavers hard at work or a family of otters at play.
“Bald eagles have a nest on that island,” Nan says. “We fish off the dock, and we’ve made friends with the kayakers.”
Change of Heart
To enjoy the waterway, however, the Easlers never even have to venture outside of their house. “From every room there’s a view of the river,” Nan says.
Nan and Bill, who is a builder, both had lived in River Island (in different houses with different spouses) at one time before they got married in September of 2014. “We had known each other for 20-plus years, and then we both found ourselves single,” says Nan.
However, they didn’t expect to find themselves back in their old neighborhood when they started looking for a home together.
“We were going to build and have a horse farm when we got married, but then this house came on the market,” Nan says.
When they first drove up to the property during a house-hunting expedition, she wasn’t convinced that it would be their new home. Once she walked inside the cedar shake house with a standing gauge metal seam roof, however, she had a change of heart. She quickly realized that the house was the perfect place for “yours” and “mine” to become “ours.”
“I didn’t think I would like it at first, but it’s great,” says Nan, who has a grown son and two teenagers that live at home. “We didn’t make any changes when we moved in. We just did a little painting.”
They each brought their own furniture, which has blended together beautifully, to the house, and they have wasted no time creating shared memories in the home, where Nan moved in July of 2014, as well.
“It’s a great entertainment house,” she says. “When we first moved in, one of Bill’s two daughters said we have to have a party a month. I think we have.”
And what better way to get the parties started than with their own wedding? Three months after Nan moved in, the Easlers christened the house by exchanging their vows on a September morning on the covered porch overlooking the river. The festivities continued with a small brunch at the house following the ceremony and a party at the River Island clubhouse that night.
“It’s just a fun house. It says, ‘Come in, relax, have fun and kick your shoes off,’” Nan says. “It’s a river-y look, but it’s also mountain-y.”
The open, spacious family room features hardwood flooring and a wood cathedral ceiling with exposed beams that are connected by cables. Brightly colored furnishings of green, coral and teal offer ample seating space. Two fish-print pillows on a coral couch – along with other accessories throughout the house – reflect Nan’s Southern California roots and her love of the water.
The handcrafted ironwork in the transom window above the door that leads to the kitchen, along with doors that lead from the kitchen to the pantry and butler’s pantry, matches the ironwork in the gate outside.
“When we have a party, we just open the family room doors,” says Nan. “The porch becomes an extension of the house.”
The covered porch off of the family room features a stone fireplace with a raised hearth and wood mantel, flagstone flooring, a wood barrel ceiling and more exposed beams that also are joined by cables.
While the cables inside and out are eye-catching, they are not just for looks. “The cables are part of the structure to hold the beams,” Nan says.
The exposed beams, which were made by craftsman from California, are not the only reason to look up in the Easler house. A coffered ceiling adds interest in the dining room. The space also features hardwood flooring and an arched doorway.
The china cabinet holds some of their favorite pieces, including a porcelain vase with vertical cutouts that Nan’s brother, a potter, made for them as a wedding gift.
“We went to China together several years ago, and the pottery there was cut vertically,” says Nan. “It was cool to watch his pottery evolve after our trip.”
Another spot in the house where people like to gather is the spacious kitchen. “You can fit a lot of people in this room,” Nan says.
The kitchen features cabinets with an Old World finish, an iridescent tile backsplash behind the stovetop, a pot filler faucet, tile and wood flooring, a wine cooler and pendant lights above the center island. A separate breakfast bar sits in the center of the room as well. A copper sink has fish embedded on the bowl and a lily pad stopper.
“No two sinks in the house are the same,” says Nan, “and the tile work is so intricate.”
Well-positioned, but hidden, spice racks pull out from either side of the stove. “No space was wasted when the house was built,” Nan says.
Nan, who admits they are still trying to figure out what all of the light switches do, found another surprise when she opened a “metal drawer” in the kitchen.
“I didn’t know why there was a metal drawer,” she says. “I finally realized that it was a warming drawer.”
Her office is located in the walk-in pantry off of the kitchen, and a butler’s pantry features a second dishwasher, a copper sink and an artichoke medallion in the backsplash.
Cabinets with glass doors and built-in bookshelves offer display space for brightly colored pottery and fish figurines.
The master bedroom features a four-poster bed, hardwood flooring, a ceiling fan and double doors that open onto a porch. An arched doorway from the bedroom leads to a cozy sitting area, which includes hardwood flooring and exposed beams in the ceiling.
“We call this area ‘the perch,’” says Nan. “It’s such a romantic spot. You will find Bill and me here every night.”
The master bath features a lit barrel ceiling, tile flooring, alabaster sinks, an alabaster shower wall and dual showerheads of different heights on two separate walls. “One of Bill’s daughters calls the shower a carwash,” says Nan.
A guest room offers similar features to anyone lucky enough to stay there. This room also includes a four-poster bed, a ceiling fan and double doors that lead to an outdoor retreat on a porch.
The house has two laundry rooms – one on the main level and one on the second story. The laundry room on the main floor features brick flooring and a farmhouse sink.
The attention to detail throughout the house is evident in the powder room as well. Woodpecker-shaped door handles accent the cabinets, and the vessel sink is covered with small tiles.
A Home for All Seasons
The house truly is a home for all seasons, where the lower level offers even more options for year-round entertainment.
One of the rooms on the lower level includes a seating area, a TV, a small kitchen, a stone fireplace and a pool table. A fan with two separate blades – connected by a cable like a fan in an old-time barbershop – cools the space.
A theater room includes a popcorn maker and a cork floor that absorbs sound. “This is where the teenagers live,” Nan says. “We never know how many or who. They’re just sprawled everywhere.”
The big screen comes in handy when their favorite gridiron teams are on television. “During football season, we have one game on in the basement, one on in the theater room and another game on on the TV by the pool table,” Nan says.
Doors from the sitting area lead to the pool and another covered porch outside. The porch includes a raised hearth fireplace, tongue-and-groove ceiling, two tropical ceiling fans and an outdoor entrance to the bathroom inside. A California kitchen by the pool, which has a waterfall, is a great feature for entertaining as well.
“We open the doors in the summertime,” says Nan.
The basement also has a room that Bill uses as an office to meet with customers and a wine cellar.
The wine cellar features brick flooring and a copper sink with an embedded grape design. One of their first orders of business after they got married was to fill the empty wine racks. Their wedding guests brought them a bottle of wine, and Nan’s brother organized the wine for them.
“Whenever we take a trip, we buy a bottle of wine for our collection,” says Nan.
While the Easlers love to entertain and share their home with others, they enjoy the privacy it offers as well.
“The house makes great use of the lot. Sometimes we feel like we’re living in a resort,” says Nan. “The way the house is placed, yes, we have neighbors, but you don’t know it.”
And some of their favorite “neighbors” are a pair of ducks – dubbed Fred and Ethel by Nan – that roam the neighborhood.
“They eat out of your hand, and cars don’t scare them,” says Nan. “When you see one, you see the other. River Island belongs to them.”
By Betsy Gilliland
Photography by Haley Lamb