FH Design Converts Carolina Mountain Community’s Turnhouse into a Modern Bistro

KEOWEE SPRINGS, SCFeltus Hawkins Design has transformed a dated, log turnhouse at The Cliffs at Keowee Springs into a welcoming bistro where residents of the South Carolina mountain community now relax with a meal and a local beer.

Situated on Keowee Lake, west of Greenville, SC, Keowee Springs is one of seven master-planned communities in The Cliffs network of private residential mountain and lake club communities in the Carolinas. The group of communities was built in the 1990s-2000s and is now owned by Arendale Holdings.

The turnhouse at Keowee Springs sits high on a hilltop in the middle of the community’s Tom Fazio-designed golf course. Its large windows offer spectacular views of the course and surrounding mountains. The Cliffs wanted to convert the turnhouse from a golf course snack bar into a new full-service bistro with a top-notch menu and local draft beer selections. The interior architectural design needed to be compatible with the new vision.

“Before the renovation, the space had lots of charm and potential, but it was very dated and cluttered and its beautiful views and design elements weren’t showcased,” said Lizz Foster, senior designer with FH Design.

The FH Design team conducted a charrette with the management team to create a vision of “who” the future Keowee Springs would be and also set a vision for the future clubhouse. The design team looked at the entire space and its intended use. They considered the building’s setting, the fun personality of the community, and how staff and customers would move and interact in the bistro.

FH Design then created a distinctive space that brings in nature’s surrounding with finishes of wood and stone, elegant textured fabrics and close attention to details with a classic but modern approach.

The original interior space only allowed for 10 tables, so during renovation a wall was extended and a seated bar was added to the former patio space. The new open floor plan allows seating for 50 people with perimeter banquette seating and four-top tables.

A lighter, fresh palette was achieved by painting the walls a warm cream. The main ceiling beams were painted a charcoal hue to add a striking, modern feature contrasting with the original high-pitched wood ceilings. Honey wide-plank wood floors were installed. Various tones of wood design elements were also used in the new bar and hostess station.

Lack of storage space in the turnhouse led to the host area serving multiple purposes. The result was a cluttered and unwelcoming entrance prior to the renovation.

“Prior to the conversion, a small lectern area functioned as the host stand, the general manager’s office and storage for residents’ wine purchases,” said Foster. “We asked a series of questions that then allowed us to appropriately design a host stand that could hold their necessary computer, printers, resident purchased wine cases, menus and host items. It can also function as the general manager’s office if needed.”

FH Design created a larger host station that is beautiful and provides function. The front features a chevron pattern of black, white brass and warm woods putting a wow factor at the entrance to the space. Customized storage compartments are located on the back and out of sight.

A new covered patio was added to help extend the food service area. The stone and wood exterior blend with the original structure, while the wood floor and ceiling complement the interior bistro space. Ceiling fans circulate the South Carolina mountain breeze. Black ironwork surrounds the perimeter, providing safety and unobstructed views of the golf course.

The newly transformed Turnhouse Bistro is cozy, modern and fresh with a hint of sophistication in a timeless design. It provides a relaxing environment where members of The Cliffs can enjoy delicious dishes and local craft beers in a space inspired by the mountains and other natural Carolina elements.


Photography by Kris Decker, Firewater Photography