Keith and Tonda Carter spent many happy years in a traditional family home off of Augusta Road. But when they purchased a condo at the Summit at Pelham Springs, they knew it was their chance for a fresh start: new friends, new challenges, and a whole new style.
“We looked forward to downsizing and were able to eliminate so much, and therefore shed a lot of encumbrances,” says Tonda Carter, a former teacher. After years of raising kids, building careers, and keeping up home repairs and yard work, they were ready to simplify, but still wanted a convenient Greenville location.
One look at the Summit at Pelham Springs—five buildings perched on a hill amid the larger Pelham Springs community of single-family homes—and they both knew it was “the one.” The dated Tuscan decor didn’t suit their taste, but the layout, location, and incredible views sealed the deal.
Two porches—one at the entry facing east, and the other along the living room and primary bedroom facing west—offer jaw-dropping views that stretch to Highlands, North Carolina, and Hogback Mountain in Georgia. The couple loves to settle into their fifth-floor deck and watch sunsets, downtown fireworks displays, and aircraft tracking flight patterns to and from the Greenville Downtown Airport.
The living room, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, was designed with the outdoors in mind. The Carters’ daughter Esme, an artist, also runs the family’s Benjamin Moore paint store in Clemson, and selected Hint of Mint for the room to connect with the view.
The Carters, with some input from Esme, made all of the selections in the home using a style they can only describe with a chuckle as “Keith and Tonda.” They built on the idea of blending clean-lined, modern furnishings with rustic touches like the stacked-stone fireplace and the large-scale wooden piece from Thailand—but purchased in Asheville—above the sofa. Almost everything in the condo is new except for a few sentimental favorites, including a chair and side table from Tonda’s childhood home that are at least 70 years old.
Passion for art runs deep throughout the family—most members are artists as well as appreciators and collectors—and the rooms are full of meaningful pieces created by talented loved ones. Keith, who spent decades renovating homes, is an avid photographer, and his images of far-flung travels grace many walls. Tonda loves collecting glass, and a kaleidoscope of pieces can be seen in most rooms, from the Chihuly-endorsed light above the dining room table to the old chunk of Coca-Cola bottling glass on the deck.
Keith’s carpentry skills are apparent in the kitchen, where he personally took the room down to the studs, widened the formerly arched opening, added new countertops, and created a custom coffee bar and butler’s pantry.
A cabinet builder, Bill Loffler, pitched in on the cabinets in the kitchen as well as in the primary suite, where the couple added an entire wall of storage. But other than that, the entire condo is a labor of love celebrating the life Tonda and Keith have built together and are continuing to build. They have taken on new roles within the neighborhood, with Tonda becoming president of the Homeowners Association and Keith using his construction skills to improve the buildings and amenities. “These were 10 years old when we moved in [in 2016], and a few things had been neglected,” Keith says. “We saw what needed doing, and long-story short, there have been some incredible advances made.”
The view sold them on the condominium, but the sense of community and purpose has made them feel all the more at home.