New Leaf Stories

Empty Nesters Discover a new Nest at Kiawah River

The front exterior of the Cooper, a Build On Your Lot plan

Date Built


Build Type

Kiawah River

Plan Name

Waterman Villas

Breathtaking views, charming streetscapes, and luxury living abound in New Leaf’s Waterman Villas. A picturesque Lowcountry community with marshland, creeks and ponds, oak and pine forests, and riverfront property on John’s Island, the Waterman Villas offer elegant, customizable homes that provide a front-row seat to the pristine natural wonders of Kiawah River.

After visiting the area for 40 years, Marbeth and Vincent Sweeney decided in 2020 to make the spacious, three-story Waterman Villas on the Kiawah River their new home. The couple first visited Kiawah when their daughter was one year old and, falling in love with the location, the family continued to return occasionally. “We love the concept of the whole development and have really liked the people we have met,” say Marbeth and Vincent.

Exterior of Waterman Villas at Kiawah River
Exterior photo of Whitlock home, with gardening
After their two children were grown (and had children of their own), Marbeth and Vincent spent their winters swapping the snowy, icy weather of Syracuse, New York for warm and sunny vacation rental properties in both Kiawah and Seabrook Islands. That all changed in 2020 when the Sweeneys, inspired by the concept of the Waterman Villa development and the friendly people they met there, decided to stop renting seasonally and invest in their new dream home in the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Marbeth and Vincent were drawn to the innovative and functional designs of the Waterman Villas, and Alan Degen, Director of Operations at New Leaf, helped the couple choose custom options to match the lifestyle they wanted in their next adventure.

Among other high-end layout options, the Sweeneys opted for extra storage and an elevator that connects the three levels of the spacious 2,600-square-foot villa. Marbeth and Vincent use the elevator to easily bring up groceries and other items from their garage. They enjoy that the home has plenty of storage and say that the 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths, and 1 half bath make it a breeze to host their visitors—children, grandchildren, and friends—in their home. The open plan on the first floor lends itself to hospitality as a warm and roomy space for welcoming and entertaining guests.

Kiawah River's Waterman Villas kitchen with lots of cabinet space

“We love the main living area which includes living, kitchen, and sunroom. It’s a great all-purpose area,” say the Sweeneys. “The high ceilings make the home look huge.”

The lavish and convenient amenities at Kiawah River also called Marbeth and Vincent to the Waterman Villas and surrounding community. They could imagine the appealing lifestyle of doing laps at the swim club, feasting on seafood at the dockside restaurant, and appreciating the splendor of the local wildlife from the waterfront lodge.

And when they want to stay at home, a highlight for Marbeth and Vincent is the gorgeous view from their third floor deck overlooking Cole Creek. They can experience the idyllic waterfront view, beautiful local wildlife, and peaceful starry nights any time they want, from the comfort of any of their outdoor spaces. The Waterman Villas offer an option for outdoor living and basking on every one of the homes’ three levels. Homeowners might find it hard to choose whether to relax in the spacious garden-level covered living area, settle in on one of the villa’s screened porches, enjoy the breeze on the trellis deck, or enjoy the sun from inside in the optional sunroom.

Perhaps most important to the Sweeneys, though, is the high level of quality workmanship that New Leaf Builders thoughtfully incorporates into every home. “New Leaf houses are solid, quality, and well built,” say Marbeth and Vincent. “We are very happy with everything we received.”

For the Sweeneys, being “empty nesters” gave them the opportunity to build a new nest in one of their favorite places in the world. Now they have a nest big enough to host their entire brood, in an upscale community that’s active, social, and primed for the good life.

Exterior photo of Whitlock home, with gardening
Exterior photo of Whitlock home, with gardening

Just getting started.

The Waterman Villas at Kiawah River are sold out, but New Leaf has plenty of upcoming opportunities coming to the Kiawah River community in the coming years. Contact us to learn more!