Inside One of Kiawah’s Luxury Villa Homes

Inside One of Kiawah’s Luxury Villa Homes

April 3, 2021

Categories: Lifestyle, Real Estate

Thinking of Downsizing? A Charming Villa Makeover on Kiawah Island

Spread along the western corner of the Island are clusters of villa homes tucked into the lush landscape. 

As luxury villas, these comfortably-sized residences provide Kiawah homeowners with most of the same amenities and natural vistas that a custom homeowner would also be presented with. The specific benefits may vary somewhat from standalone homes, but villa homes tend to be a popular choice for many luxury homeowners. Consider a villa home if you are looking to downsize, or are looking to purchase property on Kiawah Island for the first time. 

Take a look at how one couple transformed their newly purchased home into a luxury villa to be enjoyed for years to come. In addition, discover the benefits of purchasing a Kiawah Island villa, as compared to building a home or purchasing a larger property. 

From Luxury Villa to Personal Sanctuary

See firsthand how husband and wife, Donna Porritt and Sam Bromage, updated their Kiawah villa to accommodate their lifestyle. 

Sam and Donna in their villa on Kiawah Island.

Donna and Sam in their villa on Kiawah Island.

“We are 251 steps to the beach,” Donna Porritt says as I step into her Mariner’s Watch villa, “but who’s counting?” At 625 square feet, there is a lot about the villa that could rely on numbers. Whether you attribute the tiny house movement or reducing your carbon footprint, the art of downsizing — living full time in a significantly small space without sacrificing the luxuries and belongings that matter to you most — is fun, and Donna and husband Sam Bromage perfected it by having “right-sized” living in mind from the start of their renovation, until the day they brought the last of their belongings from Connecticut.


Such belongings were not sacrificed by the retired couple, and in fact were built into the villa’s re-design. Designers widened ceiling beams to accommodate artifacts such as their German-inspired whirligig collection, and before giving artwork to children and grandchildren, Sam and Donna had their most beloved pieces photographed and digitized in miniature for their villa. In digital format, the couple can share and constantly rotate the art on TV screens and in digital frames. Projects like digitizing their artwork allowed for new memories, like when Sam got in touch with a California café owner featured in one of their prints who was delighted to learn the café had made a lasting impression.

That efficient, but nonetheless romantic, style of thinking was echoed in their villa purchase when the couple’s Kiawah Island Real Estate sales executive, Lewis Driskell, advised them, “buy what you need, not what you think you’ll need.”


With that in mind, the couple added beadboard, a full-scale kitchen, and hardwood flooring to the square footage that suited them. “We’ve always lived in smaller spaces,” says Donna. But the renovation was not without challenges. The modular closet arrived in 14 boxes for Sam to assemble. Wainscoting had to be shaped around the utility panel, which the original builders placed in an unseemly area right by the front door. Donna ultimately converted it to a magnetic mission control board for grocery lists and notes. Twin beds made for storing under a king size bed were ordered, and a two-blade fan added a lighter touch to the bedroom than a four-blade would.

Sam and Donna like that sort of whimsy, and that is what visitors may expect when stopping by their villa; a light, carefree space that Sam jokes can be cleaned top-to-bottom in 28 minutes, and that frees the mind for life’s actual goings on. For Sam and Donna, that is doing a variety of volunteer work advising non-profit and other organizations using their backgrounds and skills, and enjoying the tranquility of their lagoon view as well as several walks a day to the beach. It’s the same beach they’ve been visiting since 1981 and now get to call home in their soon-to-be full time, right-sized villa — but again, who’s counting.

The Benefits of Owning a Kiawah Island Villa

1. Convenient access to the Island and other locales

The majority of villas are located just behind the Island’s first gates. This convenient location affords quick access to Freshfields Village, the town’s go-to spot for groceries and other tasks. You will also find a variety of locally-owned boutiques for every shopping need, and restaurants from casual to fine dining. Villa homeowners are also close to many of the Island amenities, such as the Sandcastle, miles of beaches, and public golf courses

What’s more, Downtown Charleston is just thirty minutes away, offering plenty of opportunities for a night out on the town. 

2. Look forward to a low maintenance property

Homeowners looking for an easy property to maintain will surely gravitate towards villas. The ease of living makes it perfect for those looking to retire, or for families wanting a second home to serve as a home base when visiting the island. 

3. Villas serve as an entry point into the lifestyle

As a luxury homeowner, Kiawah Island villas serve as an entry point and gives homeowners a taste of what the Island life has to offer its residents. If you are not committed to moving to the Island full time, or are not ready to make the investment a large property requires, a villa is by far your best option. 

4. Get the view you have your sights set on

Kiawah Island villas come with any view you desire. Imagine looking out your window and gazing upon a serene view of a still lagoon. Upon closer inspection, you notice an alligator slowly crawling across the landscape. Or, perhaps you dream of an ocean view — where you can spot dolphins in the distance and, like Sam and Donna, count how many steps it takes to get to the water’s shore. The options here are endless.

Explore Kiawah Island Luxury Villas

Does the thought of owning a villa pique your interest? View available Kiawah Island villas by clicking the button below. As always, contact us if you have any interest in touring a property and learning more. 

This content was originally posted in 2016 and updated in 2021.