Kiawah Renovation/Addition Progresses

The addition and renovation to this Kiawah Island residence continues. Front elevation, with traditional elements integrated in a previous renovation, before current addition and renovation work was initiated.

Sometimes, the work that you produce that seems the least transformational is also the most difficult to pull off. When confronted with a renovation of a house of middling construction and that has already undergone another partial renovation, and with a budget realistically limited due to market considerations, the challenges can be substantial.  We are pleased with the way that the design and construction of this renovation/addition has come out so far, however, and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The installer from K&K Custom Cabinets works to set out the new kitchen cabinetry.

The project is chiefly a substantial third floor addition, which includes a new master suite and a den over what was the vaulted living spaces.  We designed the floor plate of the new addition be be 9'-3" above the existing finished floor to keep the appropriate ceiling volume in the living room, dining room and kitchen without growing the height of the house to be too tall proportionally. Along with the addition of the new space, a stair was needed to access it, leading to some necessary renovations to the former master shower.  Our clients also elected to completely renovate the kitchen, add a new stair for interior access to the garage, and replace existing 6'-6" tall sliding doors addressing the principal views with 8' tall units, enhancing the views substantially.

A new Ipe and stainless steel cable rail system will help to finish out the new third level porch and rebuilt principal deck.

Kiawah Residence before, having been renovated once before already to begin a transformation from an 80's contemporary to a shingle style flavor.

Avondale Cottage Exteriors

Completed cottage in Charleston's Avondale neighborhood

We're glad to present completed photos of the Avondale cottage that we designed in late 2011-early 2012, with construction being completed this May.

Cottage previously occupying Avondale site

This residence replaces a 1954 concrete block house that previously occupied the site.  Analysis of the structural stability of the building and restrictions relating to modern construction codes doomed the unreinforced block cottage, as Charleston is located near a significant seismic fault line.  The house that we designed for the site echoes the previous structure's general scale, as we endeavored to maintain the modest cottage scale of the Avondale neighborhood.  We sited the new structure closer to the street and a bit to the left in accommodation of a new lush landscape to the side and rear.

Avondale Cottage, with screened porch addressing side patio and garden and pool to rear.

With a need to expand upon the size of the existing home, we designed a bit of expansion within the roofline of the second level along with a one story element extending to the rear.  The rear of the house contains a private master suite with a large sliding glass door that pockets into the wall, opening the master bedroom to the screened porch.  This vanishing partition accommodates a seamless expansion of the master suite during times of fair weather (and low pollen count!).

A 3-panel 14' wide door system pockets into the wall to the right, allowing a greater connection between the master bedroom and screened porch.

Avondale screened porch overlooking new garden

We specified the natural, lime-based stucco finish used for the exterior, carefully matching the color of an historic townhouse on Church Street in Charleston that we determined would be the right hue. I designed the joinery of the timber framing at the porches with somewhat non-traditional detailing to accent and distinguish the residence.  The timber framing was rendered by Fountain Timberworks from naturally insect resistant cypress material.  The soffits of the deep overhangs and timber brackets supporting them were also milled from cypress, which is indigenous to the Lowcountry.

Entry Porch detail at Avondale cottage.

Garden entry from front.

Rear elevation, Avondale cottage

For more images of the Avondale residence featuring the interiors, visit this post .  For some great shots of the custom kitchen, fabricated by K&K Custom Cabinets, you can visit this post.

We learned a great deal about the application and specification of lime-based exterior plaster in the Lowcountry through our design of a significant beach house at Kiawah Island.  Posts relating to this residence, which I term the Healthy House for its principal focus upon maintaining the health of its inhabitants, can be found here. Following link at the bottom to "Older Entries", posts here track the construction of this unusual residence back all the way to the driving of the piles into the Cooper Marl.

Timber framing: Fountain Timberworks

Landscape Architecture: Outdoor Spatial Design

Windows and typical exterior doors: Kolbe and Kolbe

Pocketing Exterior Door: WinDoor, provided through Buck Lumber

GC: Archer Construction

Swimming pool: Clear Blue Pools

New Mt. Pleasant Residential Design Takes Shape

New Mt. Pleasant residence from south east. Rendering: Harrison Wallace for Tyler A. Smyth Architect, LLC The design development for a new residence on a magnificent lot in Mt. Pleasant is complete.  Intern Architect Harrison Wallace produced the 3-D model to help us to better understand some of the more complex geometries and to better explain the design to the interested parties.

Rear elevation addressing the long views toward Hobcaw Creek. A large screened porch with fireplace, adjacent covered grilling porch, and pool with ground level grill room mark this side of the residence. Rendering: Harrison Wallace for Tyler A. Smyth Architect, LLC

We are now engaged in the development of details and the soon will be into the production of construction documents. We're so glad to have the opportunity to work with great clients on this unusual property. We grateful that the good people at Suiter Construction recommended us to their clients, whose family they had worked successfully with in the past.

Entry elevation, viewed from south. Rendering: Harrison Wallace for Tyler A. Smyth Architect, LLC

Bird's eye view from Southeast. Rendering: Harrison Wallace for Tyler A. Smyth Architect, LLC

Northwest elevation, with master bedroom having commending views of the marsh and river from the first level. Rendering: Harrison Wallace for Tyler A. Smyth Architect, LLC

Moveable Pool Floor Tile Completed

Tile mosaic from Sicis installed We'll be ready to commission the moveable pool floor at the Healthy House soon. The tile mosaic from Sicis has been installed.  Next comes filling the pool below the floor and execution of the system.  Exciting stuff.

Movable Pool Floor Rises

Meanwhile, in Dr. Zero's secret subterranean lair... Work is progressing on the swimming pool at the Healthy House on Kiawah Island.  This pool, being built by Charleston's Aqua Blue Pools and HydroFloors of Belgium, requires extraordinary precision and patience.  Aqua Blue's tilesetters have been working in the pool shell for a considerable period of time already, mostly fairing out the walls that contain the water and serve as the tile substrate. They must be  straight and plumb to a tolerance of 1/8" so that the movable pool floor mechanism will function correctly.

Two tilesetters labor carefully on the installation of the glass material lining the sidewalls of the pool at this Kiawah Island residence

I visited the site yesterday and surveyed the tile setters at work.  They have the top of pool tented off to keep the weather off and likely to reduce the amount of dust and debris that might rain upon them from the stone and tile installation work happening at the pool deck above them.  This business occasionally produces some strange scenes, and this is one of them.

Concept Drawing for Outdoor Fireplace/Arbor Structure

I was asked by Evan Brandon of OSD to assist with the design of an outdoor fireplace and arbor to anchor a backyard pool and landscape in Mt. Pleasant.  Its location and form springs from the pool design and the full arched window openings in  the base of the existing residence, which is directly adjacent to the pool deck.

It will both provide an edge for the outdoor room of the pool, shade for those sitting beneath during the day, and a sheltering roof for enjoying the wood fires during cooler weather.  It will also protect the pool area from views from a home that might be built on the adjacent residence.  The axial arrangement of the pool and other landscape design beyond will be strengthened by the position of the fireplace and chimney position.


New Pool House on the Peninsula

I'm lucky to be working on the design for a free-standing pool house on one of the most unusual properties on the peninsula in Charleston.  It will serve as an accessory structure for a former radio station -turned-residence built on piers out over the marsh.  In the existing structure, you can watch snowy egrets feed on mud minnows through a glass panel in the dining room floor.  Whoa! The pool house will be located on lobe of high ground which we hope to access across the marsh with a boardwalk.  It should be a lot of fun with a ton of exposure to helpful bureaucrats with the City of Charleston and SC DHEC's Ocean & Coastal Resource Management.  Good thing that I have been working on my patience enhancement exercises.

The Movable Pool Floor Is On

We are going to integrate the movable pool floor system at the Kiawah Island house that is under construction now.  HydroFloors of the UK is online to provide the movable floor system.  It is an ingenious system that relies on a stable steel platform with an integrated flotation system that acts against a hydraulic ram that raises and lowers the floor. There are a couple of videos that demonstrate the system in action.  This one is built by another company but is an integral component of an elegantly designed courtyard.

As we are redesigning the pool shell around the mechanics of the pool, I am learning a lot about the design parameters.  For instance, the water has to be maintained at a level 4 1/4" below the top of the surrounding coping, which is a couple of inches higher than typical.  This is so that the flotation system will have enough water to work against in order to stabilize the floor when it is all the way up.  We also have to create a pool shell that a little more than 2 1/2' deeper than the max depth of the movable floor.  In our case, the grade beam, which has been placed for a several weeks now, will limit the maximum depth to approximately 6'-4", which is less than desired but more than adequate for a range of fun pool activities.

Next challenge: a railing that is retractable within the pool wall.  When the pool floor is up, we will need to protect the edge of the pool from falls to the ground about 9' below. I don't even know if this is possible yet, but we will see how far we can push it.