Architecture & Design // 7 min Read

Behind the Bluff with the Director of Palmetto Bluff Design: Stephanie Gentemann

Written by Palmetto Bluff

Jun 06, 2023

An Inside Look at Palmetto Bluff Design

Tucked away in the stunning Lowcountry of South Carolina lies Palmetto Bluff, a community that has enchanted both locals and travelers for years. Spread across a sprawling 20,000 acres of land and boasting 32 miles of pristine riverfront, Palmetto Bluff puts the land first in every aspect of their lifestyle. But what makes this exclusive community truly stand out is its unique Palmetto Bluff design, all made possible by the first visionaries and now the talented Stephanie Gentemann.

Are you curious about what goes on behind the scenes of this breathtaking community? Join us as we take a look behind the Palmetto Bluff design, where charm meets functionality and nature meets luxury. Let’s explore Stephanie’s role in shaping this paradise and unravel the magic of Palmetto Bluff design.

Stephanie’s Creative Journey to The Bluff

Stephanie Gentemann’s passion for architecture began early in her life, culminating in her undergraduate studies at Clemson and her master’s degree in architecture at Texas A&M. After working in Dallas for an international architectural firm, she and her husband decided to move to Hilton Head, to be closer to their family, on the east coast which is how she found out about Palmetto Bluff.

The first house she and her husband designed was built in Wilson Village, which led to her becoming an integral part of the community. Her primary focus was on creating custom homes that embodied the Bluff’s distinctive character and appeal. In 2011, Stephanie was offered the Director of Palmetto Bluff Design position and immediately set to work revamping the design review process, hiring the best board members and restructuring operations.

After spending the first few years in her new role learning what needed to be achieved, Stephanie took Palmetto Bluff to new heights in 2013 by developing visions for new neighborhoods and helping curate custom home designs to seed those new neighborhoods. Today, Stephanie continues to play a pivotal role in all things architecture and design related.

In 2021, Stephanie began working closely with Palmetto Bluff Builders as well as the Palmetto Bluff marketing team, identifying the homes that stood out as exceptional and showcasing them in magazines and other publications. Stephanie’s creativity has become an essential part of the Bluff’s success, breathing life into each home and making it a true masterpiece.

A Day in the Life of The Palmetto Bluff Design Director

Stephanie’s responsibilities as Director of Palmetto Bluff Design are diverse and challenging. She supervises the Palmetto Bluff Design Review Board, which is responsible for reviewing all custom homes, additions, and renovations. Additionally, she works hand-in-hand with the Conservancy to embrace The Bluff’s natural landscape, which is a critical part of Palmetto Bluff’s identity. With over 950 homes completed and plans for thousands more, Stephanie depends on her team to run the day-to-day operations of the Design Review Board. She works closely with Ruth Ann Terry, who manages design review, and Hannah Kimes, who handles construction review, meeting with them daily to collaborate on ongoing projects.

Stephanie’s passion for design never wanes, as she is constantly learning and seeking new ideas to make sure Palmetto Bluff stays up to date — while still maintaining the core design values. She attends meetings for projects throughout Palmetto Bluff, contributing her unique perspective and even creating designs for new projects.

Every other Wednesday, Stephanie and her team hold a board meeting to review all the drawings and compare notes to approve or deny any changes. This is a crucial part of her job, as it ensures that every design reflects the distinctive beauty and charm of Palmetto Bluff. Stephanie’s dedication to her craft is evident in every aspect of her work, making her an essential part of the Bluff’s continued success.

New Projects on the Horizon

With so much development still to come, Stephanie is looking forward to help collaborate on new neighborhoods and amenities. Stephanie is currently helping design the Dock Master Building, located at the new marina. This building will serve as a workspace for the dock master and will be built with the characteristics of Palmetto Bluff design in mind.

In addition to the Dock Master Building, Stephanie is excited about the continuation of Palmetto Bluff’s newest neighborhood, Moreland Forest, which is situated between River Road and Moreland Village. The exciting complexity of this project is developing a cohesive look that blends traditional Lowcountry design with modern elements to reflect its neighboring communities. The ultimate goal is to give this neighborhood its own unique identity. Stephanie collaborated with several local architects and landscape architects to help define this neighborhood’s vision, and it is now up to the Board to implement the design requirements. There is a fine balance to developing new design standards and staying true to the original architectural vision and Lowcountry vernacular. Fortunately, the original visionaries were open to different interpretations of the Lowcountry style — which gives some latitude for trying new ideas.

Designing a Community Where People Want to Call Home

Stephanie finds the most rewarding aspect of her job to be the collaborative efforts she engages in alongside fellow architects, planners, and developers, all of whom play a crucial role in bringing Palmetto Bluff to life through design. Stephanie’s passion lies in working across internal departments every day and learning from all of her incredibly talented and experienced colleagues. Engaging with so many different people allows here to help develop and design projects more thoughtfully that will hopefully be long lasting.

When asked what her greatest achievement has been at The Bluff, Stephanie answered, “My proudest achievement is when the neighborhoods start to mature. When the landscape really starts to fill in and the homes are complete and lived in. When the streetscape is full and it just feels right when you walk down the street. It is very satisfying to know that I played a small role in creating a place that people want to live and call home.

Learn MoreThe Design of Palmetto Bluff Homes

Meet the Woman Behind the Design

Stephanie Gentemann is a creative, visionary leader in the realm of design and architecture. As the Director of Palmetto Bluff Design, she has played a vital role in shaping the distinct ambiance of Palmetto Bluff throughout the years, while also building a legacy that will endure for generations to come.

If you’re interested in Palmetto Bluff, now is the perfect time to start exploring. With Stephanie Gentemann at the helm of the design team, you can rest assured that any new projects in the works will be nothing short of perfection. Experience the charm and beauty of Palmetto Bluff by exploring the available properties. Simply click the button below to begin your search!

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