Lowcountry

Site for Johns Island River House

View toward the Stono River on Johns Island We'll soon be under permit for the construction of a new residence designed for our clients on their beautiful Johns Island property. I visited the site again yesterday to take a final look at the building footprint staked-out on the property.

New home site on the Stono River.

The new river house that we designed will be sited on the 9 acre parcel to take advantage of the strengths of the property--numerous grand live oaks and large pines, short and long river views, mature understory flora, among others--while framing views to conceal the presence of the few neighboring residences nearby. We are re-routing the entry drive to skirt the edge a beautiful glade of native ferns clustered near the road.

This glade of native ferns near the road will greet those arriving at the property year round along the re-routed entry drive to the residence.

Stakes marking the corners of the proposed residence give us an opportunity to make adjustments to the final positioning.

We are happy to be working with RM Buck Builders, who will be constructing the residence.  A quality, family-run business, we were pleased to join them off of Kiawah to apply their quality control systems to the construction of this residence.  We're also thrilled to have the support of Rebekah Carter and her Red Element Design Studio in assisting our clients with the selections for the interior. Rebekah is doing a fabulous and professional job, as usual.

A post with some conceptual designs for the new residence can be found via this link.

This tree and two other marsh-side oaks were key in determining the design and orientation of the residence.

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.

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.

Dreaming about No Rain

Living spaces covered with tarp after majority of roof demotion has been completed. In recent weeks when we have asked our three year old son what, if anything, he could recall dreaming about the previous night, he has been likely to answer, "I dreamed of no rain." We've no idea in what this line of dreaming is rooted, but Sands Construction, Tyler A. Smyth Architect LLC, and the client that we are collaborating with all hope that his dreams come true, if only for the next week or so.  Finished Australian Cypress flooring, known to be temperamental when exposed to moisture, and other interior finishes and insulation would greatly benefit from some dry weather.

View from the entry foyer into the living spaces, where the roof once was.

We have been designing the renovation and addition to this Kiawah Island residence for some time now, and the work is underway.  Sands Construction, serving as contractor, first completed the interior demolition and has now removed the existing roof from the areas that will receive the additional living spaces above.  All of the structural material has been on site and waiting for fair weather, which is upon us.  We're all excited to really kick off the project.

Dreaming of no rain,

Tyler

Retrofitting existing piers found to be hollow with structural grout; piers will be added where necessary to appropriately shore up the foundation.

Sandy Barton discusses concrete work beneath a new garage stair with the concrete finishing crew.

 

Hostetler Custom Cabinetry: Top Shelf Workmanship and Service

One of four custom plywood gate fabricated by Hostetler Custom Cabinetry When we put the design documents for the renovation of the nursery at St. John's Parish church we knew that the cabinetry was going to be proportionally expensive and important in distinguishing the space.  Working against a very tight budget for the project, we elected to keep most elements of the finish simple and production in quality.  The cabinetry would provide the character, warmth and tactile quality for the project.  It would also serve to functionally divide the space and provide the vast storage capacity for all of the toys and books needed to keep a couple of generations of little ones occupied.

View from one play corral to two play areas; cabinetry and custom plywood gates divide and organize the space while allowing visual access over the pine tops

It was critical that we identify a cabinetmaker capable of carrying out the project successfully with the quality and budget that we needed.  Our office reached out to Hostetler Custom Cabinetry, a family owned company on James Island that we'd worked successfully with before.  Their capabilities have few limits, with in-house CNC routing machinery among other equipment, and their ethics are very sound.  In order to reduce the total cost to of the project to its absolute minimum, we pulled the cabinetry out of the basic construction contract and I vouched personally for Hostetler, convincing the church that they would execute their work appropriately.  Branks General Contractors was also willing to work with them on these terms for the good of the project, and we thank them for that.  We felt confident enough in Hostetler, and they came through for us all.

Completed nursery at St. John's Parish Church, just before soft opening on Sunday.

In order to reduce the budget for the cabinetry, we agreed that the specifications for the some of the items would have to be altered to reduce the time and cost to Hostetler.  In the end, Hostetler restored the specifications to the original and beyond, producing fully inset cabinetry construction throughout, with dovetail drawer boxes in the couple of places where we had drawers.  The finishes are impeccable, including the five warm colors carefully selected for the cabinetry, a sixth color for the custom plywood gates (an shade of eggplant) and the clear finished for the pine play tops. They sourced the 2' thick pine material for the edges from Will Albrecht and his company, Southern Lumber and Millwork, and milled it in a wide radius to provide a safer contact point for the heads of new, unsteady walkers.

Custom plywood gates divide the play corrals, adding a fun, whimsical feel to the nursery.

Hostetler also took on the challenge of fabricating the custom plywood gates that allow flexibility in organizing the various play corrals in the nursery space. Fabricated using the CNC routing equipment of two layers of high quality plywood, we specified that the flat planes of the door be painted while the edges be finished clear to expose the material. This is a difficult finish to pull off, but the Hostetler team did a fabulous job with them.  We thank them for their good work, and Branks General Contractors for their patience and cooperation.

You might know these colors from such places as the GSW building in Berlin; one of my favorite uses of color ever in a work of architecture.

Sign Concept for St. John's Parish Nursery

Hanging sign concept for St. John's Parish Church Nursery. Now that the St. John's Parish church nursery is all but complete, we put together a sign concept this morning to help visitors locate the facility. Chris Hostetler, of Hostetler Custom Cabinetry, volunteered to make a sign using their CNC routing table.  Hostetler already did a fabulous job with the cabinetry inside, which forms the storage capability, play top areas, and spatial divisions within the space.  The sign concept, which would be rendered in colors to coordinate with the vibrant interior, would be an appealing element to welcome the congregation and visitors to this completely renovated space.  Two would be made, one to hang on each side of the new entry porch structure.  We may go a different direction with the signage, but I enjoyed a bit of graphic design this morning.

Completed nursery at St. John's Parish Church, just before soft opening on Sunday.

Nursery interior with custom cabinetry and plywood gates that we designed, all fabricated by Hostetler Custom Cabinetry.

 

Mt. Pleasant Residence Completed

Screened porch and NW corner of new Mt. Pleasant residence We're very happy for our Mt. Pleasant clients who are moving into their newly completed Olde Park residence.  While still punching out some elements of the interior, the new landscape material has been installed to provide a welcome setting for this new home. Here are a few quick exterior shots.

Newly completed residence in Mt. Pleasant's Olde Park neighborhood.

North Elevation and breakfast bay from the rear of the residence.

This live oak with great gnarled character is treasured by the new homeowners.

 

Pickling Effort Gains an Ally

An extra hand aids in rinsing and sorting the okra We knew that it would pay off at some point.  Happy to add my son, Samuel, into the okra pickling campaign for 2013. We sourced the okra this year from Gruber Family Farm in St. George, SC through GrowFood Carolina.  Good looking stock for the late summer.  We can can rest easy knowing that an extra rinse has been lovingly applied to each luscious pod courtesy of the little man.