Ocean Woods Cottages

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.

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

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.

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.


Cantilevered Ipe Bench at Kiawah Cottage

Ipe bench instead of railing along perimeter of deck When presented with the challenge of maximizing the utility of a relatively small deck space, we elected to pursue alternatives to a guardrail at a new renovation of a cottage on Kiawah Island. As any well used deck also requires seating, we designed a built in bench design to serve as perimeter protection for the deck.

South elevation of new renovation of Kiawah Island cottage

The position of the windows in a new shed dormer that addresses the deck and ocean breezes beyond made it unpalatable to build in a bench within the perimeter of the deck, as it would have come too close to obstructing the windows.  In response, we designed a bench that would cantilever over the edge of the deck, adding some precious useable seating to the deck while freeing up the view lines out from the cottage.  Nice job by River Creek Construction in fabricating this bench design.

The backrest support timbers continue down to form the chief attachment to the deck structure.

Backrest slats continue across the sides to serve as points of attachment to the structure.

With some landscaping adjustments, we will be close to completing the exterior of this Kiawah Island cottage.

Kiawah Cottage Continues

Living Room of Kiawah Island cottage Colin Regan and his team at River Creek Construction continue to do an excellent job with the carrying out the design for this Kiawah Island cottage renovation.  I have been so impressed with the wide ranging skill and capabilities of the carpenters that Colin employs.  From general framing to the fabrication of a custom designed bathtub with the footprint of a bird's egg, the craftsmanship has been of consistently high quality.

The painters have been prepping for a week or so, the cabinetry has been installed, and counter tops go in at the end of the week. It is good to see the finishes coming together.

Corner detail in Kiawah Island cottage.

Before, this place hailed from Lonesomeville.

Custom designed bath, fabricated, fiberglassed and tiled on site. Like an egg-shaped hatbox.

New entry foyer in progress, outfitted with bench and cabinetry by K&K Custom Cabinets

New Sun Room at Kiawah cottage

Somehow, They Knew

Ocean Woods Cottage, with painting in progress. When we selected the window and door color from the somewhat limited palette available through Henselstone Window and Door Systems, we were not primarily thinking about the best siding colors to coordinate with it. Later, after the windows were ordered, fabricated, delivered and installed, we considered the colors for the siding and trim that would go well in concert with the dark brown color of the windows.

Ocean Woods Cottage on Kiawah Island

We had as many as seven Cabot's colors from which to choose for the entire exterior, according to the regime guidelines.  Most seemed like they would work passably.  But, at one time, only one color was allowed for all of the Ocean Woods cottages: Spanish Moss.  We looked at all of the options and tried  a few samples.  In the end, Spanish Moss emerged as the most appropriate complement to Henselstone Dunkelbruan, and we are very pleased with the resulting combination. River Creek Construction's painters are doing a nice job on the application.

Guest bath, with custom tub tiling in progress.

Guest room with wall behind bed in shiplap paneling.

One of two paneled doors in the vicinity of the entry foyer.

Laundry closet lined in subway tile on Kiawah Island.

Dynomite '70's construction on Kiawah gets new life

Henselstone windows installed in shed dormer addition and newly enclosed sun porch, beyond. smokey-and-the-bandit1977 was a year of triumphant highs and soul-sucking lows. Seattle Slew prevailed over the field on his way to the Triple Crown. Star Wars, a space-based soap opera set in the past (which somehow seemed like a good idea) was released.  The Clash released their first record, and punk titans Iggy Pop, Elvis Costello, Sex Pistols, and The Ramones had their greatest significance. We had Smokey and Bandit and Saturday Night Fever: obvious and unquestionable triumphs of the media on both counts.

2012_Ctek_Saturday-Night-Fever-5_613x463ABBA, Streisand, the Eagles, and Wings represented the other side of the spectrum. France recorded its last execution by the guillotine (can you believe that this practice endured into the late 70's?).  The world lost Elvis and gained my eventual bride on the very same day.  Which explains a lot, if you've ever met Michelle.

Former screened porch, with window sashes installed in creation of new Sun Room living space.

And though interest rates were still a couple of years from hitting their peak in the high teens, the world of construction was still dominated by nervous nellies and the occasionally talented. There was surely a huge amount of risk involved with speculative construction investment on little known Kiawah Island in 1977. This was the climate that begat the Ocean Woods Cottages on Kiawah Island, fortuitous in their location near the beach, while suffering from the circumstances of their creation. Ocean Woods were on the front lines of the development of Kiawah Island, perhaps a decade after the first modern homes were constructed but built as development was accelerating. Several dozen cottages of roughly 1,100 sf were built within a couple of years on the eastern end of Eugenia Avenue.  Rarely missed was the opportunity to save a couple of hundred dollars in the construction of a cottage.

Homosote sheathing was originally installed away from building corners; this was replaced in the current renovation.

In the current total renovation and addition that we have undertaken, the original shortcomings in the construction of one Ocean Woods cottage that can be ameliorated are. This cottage was completely gutted, eliminating the original windows, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems. Most of the 8' ceilings were eliminated in favor of vaulted spaces. Original kitchen, baths, and finishes: out.

Close up detail of Homasote wall sheathing, showing evidence of previous water intrusion

While the house was stripped and structure exposed, the framing of the building was evaluated and reinforced to give it additional resistance to weather events. Rafter clips, coil strapping and other hold-downs were installed to better tie to structure to the foundation. We discovered that non-structural Homasote was used for wall sheathing in certain areas, presumably as a cost savings effort.  Essentially made from recycled newspaper, Homasote has negligible structural value and was replaced with APA rated structural plywood in this renovation, along with all of the remaining clapboard siding.

The windows and doors were replaced with robust German-made Gayko products supplied by Henselstone Window and Door Systems. Views out and natural light quality were improved with these advanced tilt-and-turn windows.  Both bathrooms on the side of the house where windows could not be added (per regime regulations) received a small skylight for a dose of natural light.

A sun room facing Eugenia and the beach beyond replaces the existing screened porch.

The new windows were installed this week, and now insulation as well and interior and exterior finishing can proceed.  Off we go in the transformation of this 1977 cottage that has persevered and is being given new life in 2013.

Newly designed entry porch

Kiawah Cottage Progress

Ready for windows in new living room bay addition. We had our lighting, plumbing, and mechanical walk-through this week with our client, in town from Pennsylvania.  It all went very smoothly, and the project continues to strengthen.  A decision was made to panelize the second of two closet access doors in the vicinity of the entry foyer.  This will allow the 8" shiplap paneling to remain continuous throughout this entry space, reducing visual clutter.  We were also authorized to remove the remainder of the existing siding on the house so that some homasote sheathing, presumably used in a cost-savings effort at original construction, can be replaced and a continuous weather resistive barrier can be installed.  This will be a dramatic, though invisible, improvement in the strength and moisture resistance capabilities of the structure.

The homosote sheathing in the center--essentially recycled newspaper board with no structural capability--will be replaced with plywood.

Advanced 2" LED recessed fixtures from CSL Lighting. These flexible fixtures with integral drivers are designed for remodel applications.