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.

Curving Things can be Difficult--but not Necessarily

Masons laying a simple curved wall in concrete block at a new home in Mt. Pleasant

In my time as an adolescent and younger man as the son of a contractor and, later, as an architecture student, I was thrown into a lot of construction and fabrication tasks.  Between framing houses in wood and steel, running trim work, installing tile, felting roofs, building basswood models, slicing and reforming 2x4s, and hanging sheetrock in a GNC distribution plant in Pendleton, SC, I came to understand a couple of things.  First, contractors typically detest the burden of creating curves in architecture, though will do it happily for a premium price. Secondly, and related to the first point, some materials are easy to curve, and others must be willed to curve at more significant cost of time and application of expertise.

When creating the design for a new home in Mt. Pleasant, I was needed to strike a careful balance between an architecture subtly curving shingle style details that my clients were drawn toward and a reasonable budget for a growing family.  Shingle style houses can use a well placed curve to even things out, but I knew that we didn't have the budget for curving rafter tails or large expanses of framed walls.  Or even large expanses of shingles, for that matter--but I'll save that for another post.

However, masonry is made from small, identical units.  They have to built up methodically, block by block (or brick by brick, as the case may be).  Making then curve reasonably takes a bit more planning and a more highly skilled mason, but it is scarcely much different of more time and material consuming that building a more typical straight wall.

The masons set up a simple guide to form the concrete block radius--a 2x4 set in the ground with a piece of rebar in the center point.

So, we designed the house with (nearly) all straight walls and roof planes, organized in two wings that have a knuckle, or inflection point, near the center of the building.  And mediating between these two wings in the front as the first element that guests touch when they arrive and last when they leave, is a simple, round porch masonry porch with a brick stair that wraps around it. And, seeing it mostly laid this morning, I believe that it will work to impart a sense of the well-made craft by which shingle style architecture is marked.

Mt. Pleasant Residence Out of the Ground

Footings had been placed during a brief site visit on Tuesday at a new residence in Mt. Pleasant's Heron Pointe neighborhood. I made a couple of visits this week to the site of a new residence under construction in Mt. Pleasant's Heron Pointe neighborhood.  This beautiful property, one of the last unbuilt lots in the development, occupies a small peninsula with a long views across the marsh and a dock on Hobcaw Creek.  Suiter Construction is serving as contractor for the future residence designed a family with life-long roots in the community.

The block foundation of the residence is well underway, with about half of the block for the full-height foundation having been laid.

It is always exciting to see as design that we have labored over beginning to take shape in the form of new foundations.  This residence is being constructed with a ground level that is above minimum base flood elevation, allowing this level to be finish partially now and more completely as the owners determine that they need the additional space.  Thoughtful planning by the previous owner of the property a couple of decades ago, along with the addition of a couple of feet of structural fill to the lot before construction initiated, allowed this scenario.

It is good to have this one underway.

Foundation from the western end, beneath the future master suite, in Mt. Pleasant residence under construction.

Cassique Residence Advances

Cassique Residence in progress from across the lagoon. A new residence in Cassique is advancing along, with the slate roof installation underway and the mechanical and electrical rough-ins complete.  Open cell spray foam insulation has been placed in the wall and roof cavities, readying the interior for the installation of finishes soon.

The 12' ceilings of the Great Room were sized for correct proportionality.

Old Mt. Pleasant Renovation Underway

Future kitchen, living and dining spaces in 1950's Mt. Pleasant renovation The renovation of a 1950's Mt. Pleasant ranch house just off of Coleman Boulevard is beginning to take shape.  We hope that the re-imagination of this solidly built little house will serve as an attractive example for modern Mt. Pleasant living, sited as it is within a stone's throw of the hulking The Boulevard development.

We investigated the feasibility of a few design schemes for adding necessary space for a growing family to the existing residence.  In the end, we chose to retain the bones of the existing structure while adding necessary space to the rear that will complement the existing architecture.

More and more these days, similar residences are being completely razed to make room for significantly larger structures.  We can certainly understand the economics of it, as the values of the land beneath the homes in this great neighborhood are skyrocketing. However, we do regret that the character of the neighborhood is changing while the architectural fabric is being hauled to the landfill.

This house, for example, will be 60 years old next week.  Solidly framed and simple, it was in need of a complete renovation, as all of the electrical and plumbing systems were original and it was purely devoid of any wall insulation.  The original single paned aluminum windows, though handsome, were too inefficient for the owner's to bear retaining them. With exception of these changes, the simple mid-century structure will remain intact. We were able to leverage the low-sloped roof for adequate and comfortable ceiling volume in the main living spaces while making no structural changes to raise the roof.  A pair of additions to the rear of the residence are adding a new master suite to one side and a mud room and laundry space to the other. A new roof with deep overhangs will cap the existing front porch and stair, retained in the interest of economy.  We're glad to see this under way.

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.

Wadmalaw Island Commission Nears Groundbreaking

New design for Wadmalaw Island Residence. Rendering: Harrison Wallace We are developing the final details and advancing the structural design integration for a new residence. This 3,500 sf home is designed for a 4 acre site on Wadmalaw Island near Leadenwah Creek.

New design for Wadmalaw Island residence, from west in the morning. Rendering: Harrison Wallace

Basic floor plan section at first floor of main structure.

Composite with model placed within the 4 acre site. Rendering: Harrison Wallace

Kiawah Island Cottage Completed

Completed Ocean Woods Cottage, scross the street from the beach on Eugenia Avenue Entry elevation, before renovation

We're glad to have completed construction on this Kiawah Island Cottage.  While a couple of audio visual punch list items remain and the landscaping is yet to be installed, we're glad to be pushing this across the goal line. This was a complete renovation of a 1979 cottage that needed tremendous help.  While we wished to work over the entire structure, we were compelled to make the design harmonious with the Ocean Woods Cottage Community. The exterior envelope was renovated with new siding applied over new water resistant systems.  High quality Henselstone impact-resistant windows and doors replaced the existing single-pane aluminum units.  A couple of covered porches were transformed into conditioned spaces and a shed dormer addition expanded the volume and floor area in the living room to provide superior furnishing opportunities.

Renovated kitchen in Ocean Woods cottage on Kiawah Island

View toward kitchen and main entry door, before renovation.

The interior of this cottage was completely transformed with the renovation. We haven't yet photographed the interior professionally but will post photos after we do. This quick photo of the kitchen gives a bit of a flavor. We're especially pleased with how the river-recovered cypress slab bar turned out.  Robert Paige and his team at K&K Cabinets did fabulous work in fabricating all of the cabinetry while John Griffiths Hardwood Flooring developed and applied the smoky, casual finish for the wide plank white oak hardwoods.

This porch was enclosed into a sun room in the renovation

Cottage screened porch, before renovation.

It was a pleasure working with Colin Regan of River Creek Construction on this renovation.  He has a skilled and flexible team of craftsmen at his disposal and really helped to maximize the potential of this project. We also can't say enough about our clients, who were a pleasure to work with from inception to completion.

Deck with new Ipe bench living on end and living room dormer to left, which replaced a tired fireplace build-out.

Deck and fireplace build-out before renovation

New entry porch and door.