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.
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.
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.
A Surfsong Road addition and renovation is underway on Kiawah Island. Many roads we have traveled to reach this point, but we are happy to see this one moving along. We are working with Jedd and Steve at Bennett Custom Homes on this project. The chief components of the project are a second floor garage addition containing two new bedrooms and a bath and a relocation of the kitchen. We are moving the kitchen from a closed-off space to the side of the home that had no access to the principal views. The new space was the former sun room, placing the kitchen in the nexus between the living room and dining spaces, with great views of the 10th green at Turtle Point. Another new bedroom suite takes the place of the former kitchen, bringing the total capacity of the residence to 6 bedrooms and 5 full and 1 half baths. A screen porch added to the rear will stretch the time during which the outdoors can be comfortably enjoyed without blocking the views from the principal spaces (LR, K, DR, and MBR).
As an architect, I realize how critically important landscape architecture can be to provide the proper setting for a design. That is why we always recommend to our clients that strong consideration be given to retaining top landscape design talent. Working with Verdant Enterprises, as we did with the Kiawah Island "Healthy House" just completed this fall, was key in maximizing the potential for this site and the attributes that it contained. Thomas Angell and his staff worked carefully with the architecture, incorporating the clients' particular wishes and needs for their utilization of the site.
We have also had great experience collaborating with top talent like Sheila Wertimer Landscape Architect and Outdoor Spatial Design in Charleston. Charles Stick opened our eyes to the site making potential of a 24 acre Charlottesville estate site. It is a very important aspect to creating and making architecture that maximizes it potential and relationship to its particular context.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I briefly visited a recently completed beach front residence on Kiawah Island yesterday. The landscape, designed by Verdent Enterprises, is rooting in nicely. The vision of the architecture was well complemented by Verdant's landscape design work.
For those unfamiliar with this project, it was designed for a growing family with several children and family who visits for the weeks at a time from the UK. The dual overriding directives were 1) to design a structure that would be as robust and low maintenance as possible in the punishing beachfront environment, and 2) to design the healthiest possible environment for the occupants of the building and the environment.
Toward meeting the low maintenance structure, we decided on an envelope of extremely strong and efficient ICF walls with bronze clad mahogany windows, solid silicon bronze railings, hand-carved Riviera Beige stone columns, newels and trim elements, and copper roof and gutters. The exterior wall finish is natural lime-based plaster which, along with the other exterior elements, never need much more than an occasional cleaning to remain in top shape.
To meet the directive for a house that would do the occupants no harm (Hippocratic House?), we researched for the best products, be they new or time-tested, to minimize initial and on-going VOC emissions. Air Renew drywall was used used throughout, no-VOC paints and natural shellac finishes, water-based floor finishes, among other items that you might see. Additionally, we specified the Perfect 16 whole house air purification system from IQ-Air, and used low-VOC adhesives and grouts. We used a copper plumbing supply system that eliminates any soldering and the trace lead that these substances can expose the inhabitants to. Hydronic radiant floor heating systems at the first level minimize necessary usage of the geothermal heating and air system during the wintertime. A significant solar photovoltaic system was integrated into the roof in the area custom designed to make it imperceptible from the ground. A whole house, super efficient backup power generator was integrated into another rooftop area to remove this noise from the outdoor living areas.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.