LEED Renovation on Kiawah Island Underway

Framing underway for Kiawah Island cottage renovation designed for LEED certification. The complete renovation of an Ocean Woods Cottage on Kiawah Island is underway.  We've designed the renovation, which will have a distinctly contemporary feel, in accordance with US Green Building Council's LEED standards, and are hoping for LEED Gold Certification. The layout and feel of the living spaces will be completely different from another Ocean Woods project that we completed last year, owing to different opportunities that the sites presented and the distinct tastes of the clients. It will be an interesting test of the design flexibility possible in these simple and virtually identical units. We are working with the same contractor, River Creek Construction, on this one as we did on the last.

Where Have We Been?

We have been busy, with little time for posting on the site.  The stars aligned for the production of CD's simultaneously on a two new residences (one on a fabulous waterfront  Johns Island property and one by the beach on Seabrook) while designing a couple of downtown renovations that required City of Charleston BAR approval, and a contemporary renovation of a Seabrook residence with incredible views.  A sail on the harbor today to take in some of the Race Week action gave me a chance to sweep out some mental clutter and think about something to post. Sandy Barton and his crews with Sands Construction have completed the addition to and  renovation of a residence on Kiawah Island.  I thought it would be fun to post a couple of images of this project that I took last week, as as one rear elevation image from before we began the design work.

Rear elevation, Kiawah Island renovation and addition overlooking the Kiawah River.

Kiawah Island residence, before renovation/addition.

This renovation was mainly focused on adding a new partial third level above existing living spaces.  The left side of the house (from garage to new master suite, and including the kitchen) was completely renovated or all new.  The right-most side of the residence was left alone, save for repainting the interior and refinishing the exterior to match the new materials. Sandy did a fabulous job taking our design and wrenching this mess of 1980's construction, which had been partially renovated a decade ago, into superior shape.

The deck features a reoriented stair to maximize useable space for gathering, plus new pie decking and custom designed newels and cable rail.


Completed Kitchen in Kiawah Island Cottage

View through kitchen to adjacent sitting room at Kiawah Island cottage. We were glad to work with K & K Custom Cabinets and the general contractor, River Creek Construction, along with our wonderful clients, on this classic kitchen recently completed on Kiawah Island.

This kitchen was designed with fully-inset cabinets doors and drawers with a simple shaker-style panel. We sourced beautiful Sea Pearl granite slabs for the countertops, which allowed us to put a toe into the sometime problematic world of green hues in the kitchen without overwhelming the decor.  Sea Pearl is a fabulous material that offers the softness and movement of marble with the ease of maintenance and livability of much harder granite.

Kitchen in recently completed Kiawah Island cottage renovation.

We ran the wide plank oak flooring into the kitchen to lend cohesiveness to this cottage of modest size.  LED under-cabinet lighting complements the 2 and 3 inch LED recessed lighting that provides illumination in optically pleasing color temperature with cutting-edge energy efficiency.

Cabinetry and a window seat were fitted into the entry foyer, which opens into the kitchen. A river-recovered cypress slab bar turns the corner from foyer to the dining area.

The kitchen is located near the main entry and open to the dining and living spaces in the foreground. Photo: Jim Somerset

More photos and description of this renovated cottage may be found via this link.

Completed Cottage Renovation

View into former screened porch integrated into beach cottage on Kiawah. Henselstone Windows and Doors. Soffy automated shade systems. We were glad to receive the finished photos of a newly completed project on Kiawah Island earlier this week.  Photographer Jim Somerset came by the studio to discuss his work on this renovated Ocean Woods cottage.  My before photos are less impressive.

Porch of Kiawah Island cottage, before.

Colin Regan and his crew at River Creek Construction did a fabulous job with this renovation.  We are excited to be working with Colin on another cottage renovation about to go under construction.  Working with another residence on the same street, we are redesigning it in a completely different way, with a feel that will be significantly more contemporary.  It will be interesting to use these similar buildings to test the variety of design outcomes possible.

View through living spaces and into kitchen in renovated Kiawah cottage. Photo: Jim Somerset

Similar LR view, before.

Kiawah Island cottage. Photo: Jim Somerset

South elevation, before

Living Room, which lost its fireplace in accommodating a new shed dormer to bring natural light into the space. Photo: Jim Somerset

Living Room, before

New Seabrook Island Residential Design

Front Elevation of new Seabrook Island residential design We began the new year with a very positive reception by our clients for a new design for their Seabrook Island property.  This residence has an inverted floor plan, with the living spaces and master bedroom designed at the second living level, or about 20 ft above grade.  A pool and spa was requested to be on the second level, a very unusual arrangement that will require significant engineering to carry out.  From this level, it is possible to have a view of the ocean a few hundred feet to the southeast.

East elevation of new Seabrook Island residence, with summer house and infinity edge pool/spillway to the right.

The second level also features a detached summer house that can be completely opened up, serving a pool house, gentlemen's lounge, or sports viewing pavilion, depending on the season. The pool will have an infinity edge and tall, tiled spillway on axis with the view toward the ocean.

The key site feature is a handsome double Live Oak which has a significant presence in the front half of the lot.  While limiting the use of much of the build able footprint for the property, it will provide a comfortable setting for the residence from the outset. A thorough mapping of the tree's main branches, in lateral orientation as well as height, was the first key bit of site analysis that we performed in advance of developing the design.

West Elevation of new Seabrook Island design.

Sullivan's Island beach house

Porch detail at Sullivan's Island beach house This morning, I was out at a Sullivan's Island beach house that we designed a few years ago today to oversee a few changes to the master wardrobe. It was a pretty nice day, but unseasonably cold.  The baseball gloves remained on the shelves, and the manicured sod shed a frigid tear.  I am generally pleased with the detailing of the porches on this residence. We enjoyed working with Neil Sawyer of Daly and Sawyer, the contractor on this beach house.

Beach access stair, rendered in galvanized steel and Ipe.

Cast in place concrete pier caps begin a rhythm of structural pairs that carries from foundation to roof.



Merry Christmas from Seabrook

Getting into the spirit of the season on Seabrook, front door or not. No, there were no promises of being in the renovated house by Christmas.  But our client acknowledged the season nonetheless with a handsome wreath mounted to the plywood paneling securing the house.  Santa came early this year, however, with a new dock to replace the interior predecessor, properly lengthened to reach the deepest part of the Cap'n Sam's Creek channel.

New dock for access to Cap'n Sams Creek, with the Kiawah River and Atlantic beyond.

Kiawah Condominium Renovation Underway

Picture perfect December morning in overlooking the Kiawah Island beach One of the great pleasures of practicing architecture for me is making site visits to check on work that we've designed. When you can do this on a mild December lowcountry morning, in a building with a fantastic view of an lonesome beach, it is especially nice.  Even if it makes you want to go fishing.

Salt-pruned wax myrtles and oaks are sculpted by the wind as they blanket this stretch of the Kiawah Island dune field.

A small but gratifying project that we're working on is the complete renovation of a two bedroom condominium in the principal building at Windswept Villas on the Kiawah Island beach.  A talented builder in Jay Sifly along with a great client who understands the importance of design and quality make a renovation like this pretty nice to work on.  When we have completed, we'll have finished what we expect to be the finest and most comfortable residence in the building.  And you can't beat the view.

Our client chats with cabinetmaker Dustin of D and A Cabinetworks after the cabinetry walk through.

Chappaquiddick in the Afternoon

Chappaquiddick summer property, 19 September 2013 We were fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the Martha's Vineyard summer house belonging to some recent clients, with whom I'd worked on Sullivan's Island, SC. We had a utterly relaxing time staying in the boathouse on the beach.  So relaxing that Michelle even enjoyed a couple of afternoon naps.

One afternoon when Michelle and Samuel were asleep I took a couple of beers out to the beach, grabbed a beach chair, and sat on the dock to make a sketch. I was sitting in this perfect weather with my back to Edgartown Harbor and its lighthouse. I left it with our hosts as a thank you gift, but was able to borrow it briefly to document it.

It is a beautiful property that has been in the hands of our clients since the 1860's. They have a couple of tax bills framed on the wall in the amount of $2.00.  The construction of the main house and boathouse, one of the first substantial summer residences built on Chappaquiddick, dates to 1920.  Photos in scrap books document the construction of the house, a pre-fabricated residence originating in Kansas and brought over on a barge from the mainland. It may have been a Sears house, but they are not quite sure.  It made sense for the house to come from Kansas as this was the home state of Senator Charles Curtis, the first Senate floor leader and our client's great grandfather.

Senator Curtis's photo is on the wall in the living room of the main house, along with his friends Woodrow Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt and others.  Also on the wall: a photo of Susan B. Anthony, our client's great aunt. No kidding.

We were thrilled to have the chance to spend a week on Chappaquiddick, and I'm glad to have this sketch to capture what it felt like to be there.

LEED for Homes design in progress

We're working with a progressive couple from Washington DC on the renovation of their Kiawah Island cottage, and are excited about the way that things are developing.  We are using the Home Energy Group as the LEED consultant on the project, for which we are targeting LEED Gold Certification.  As a LEED AP myself, it is nice to exercise this discipline from time to time. We had a LEED project review meeting on Friday, which went very well.  It is nice to know that with a few smart selections, our typical design methodology and specifications get us right to the LEED Gold threshold, at least on a project of this size.  We're excited to to see how it progresses over the next months of design and subsequent 6 months of construction.