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Shrimp boats, kayaking outfitters, and lively bars and restaurants line the commercial side of Shem Creek, the gem of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina's Old Village Historic District. But north of the Shem Creek bridge, the waterway winds through quiet neighborhoods where children roam on bikes and go crabbing off backyard docks. "My husband dreamed of being on the water, and we fell in love with this lot. We're drawn to older areas where kids can run around," says owner Maggie Bullwinkel. She and husband George, a Charleston native, had two young children when they began renovating this 3,200-square-foot house that was built in the 1970s. Their third child was 9 months old when they moved in. Maggie refers to her then-infant sidekick as "my design assistant." While the Bullwinkels had renovated and sold houses before, this one would be a keeper. "It had great bones. We loved the back porch and knew this could be our forever home," Maggie says. Working with architect Hunter Kennedy and designer Sidney Wagner, they spearheaded family-friendly changes to the four-bedroom abode that have definitely paid off. Today, the Bullwinkels have four kids under age 10 and plenty of yard, a great porch, and a frequently used outdoor kitchen to accommodate their active lifestyle. "Overall, the footprint didn't change much," says Sidney, who squared off the kitchen to make it more functional. As the home's command center, it now opens up to a bright eating nook, which is one of Maggie's favorite spots. "Family dinners are a priority," she says. What was previously a formal dining room, adjacent to the kitchen, became the kids' playroom. They removed an attached garage to make way for a new mudroom/laundry area off the kitchen. "It's basically where I live," quips Maggie. They also elevated and enlarged the back porch to be a seamless open-air extension of the family room, ground zero for entertaining during Clemson University football season. "I love that we really do live in each space," Maggie says. "We use it all."