Story by Art Department / January 26, 2016

The Turners dismantled an old, outdated home to create a new abode on a coveted plot of Lowcountry land.


Dr. Raymond Turner, a highly ranked neurosurgeon at MUSC, spends the majority of his time in other people’s heads, so it was imperative for he and his wife, Magda, to find a lot and a home for the express purpose of retreating and recouping. “We were living in Mt. Pleasant when we began our search for a lot that backed up to deep water. We love to boat, so we wanted to find a place that had space and potential for us to do the things we love,” Magda explains. After a year-and-a-half-long search, none of the lots that the couple found were just right, and they began to think that the perfect lot simply did not exist.

Cue the out-of-the-box builder. During their search, the Turners crossed paths with Tommy Priester of Priester’s Custom Contracting (who Raymond deems a “sharp shooter” and “the guy for the job”). Tommy offered an idea; he told them, “Sometimes tearing down an existing home and rebuilding is more economical than remodeling.” This completely changed the Turners’ perspective. “Once we widened our scope to include lots with existing homes, everything else fell right into place,” Raymond says. As an added bonus, the old house on their James Island lot actually depreciated the value of the property. They partnered with Tommy to construct their new home on the land.

From there, it was a relatively painless process of donating the pieces of the original home to Habitat for Humanity. Habitat sent a team to remove everything from the flooring and the wiring to the light fixtures and the windows at no cost to the homeowners. Once everything was gone, it was time to concentrate on the new structure. “Raymond and Magda expressed how they wanted a smooth transition from the inside to the outside of their home without stairs or raised foundations,” expounds Tommy. So Tommy created the house to sit just above the required flood elevation. The design of the home, drawn by Jodi Crosby of Crosby Creations, takes advantage of the surrounding scenery by pulling nature inside through the large windows. In fact, the panoramic views of the backyard are visible all the way from the front door. This desire to bring the outside in drove the entire design, from the vanishing doors along the back of the house to the tempting pool that runs the expanse of the yard to the marsh.

It is Tommy’s innovation that propelled the project. He proposed the idea of demolishing an older home on a prized lot, and he incorporated details that reflect the Turner’s outdoorsy lifestyle. Magda concludes, “Tommy shared his expertise with us in a way that helped us make the best decisions.” Each one of those decisions came together to create the rejuvenating retreat the Turners were seeking.


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For more information, call Priester’s Custom Contracting at (843) 200-8495 or visit
For more information about the design, call Crosby Creations at (843) 514-7354 or visit