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'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.
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.
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.
We were engaged as architect for a new Pure Barre exercise studio in downtown Charleston. It will occupy one of the spaces in the building at the confluence of Market, St. Philip, and Beaufain Streets that also contains Leaf Cafe and Bar, designed by our good friend Robbie Marty-Patterson of Neil Stevenson Architects.
Pure Barre's technique utilizes ballet "barres", which are arranged around all sides of the studio space. "Pure Barre is a total body workout that lifts your seat, tones your thighs and burns fat in record-breaking time," reads the website. Whoa! And really, who among us couldn't use a bit of lift to our seat?
The new Pure Barre Downtown studio is being opened by partners Jen Leitch and Jenn Vannatta, who have also successfully owned and operated the Mt. Pleasant studio for a couple of years. They are excited about engaging this new market and seem ready to do what it takes to be successful. The whole Pure Barre Charleston team has been great to work with.
A sizable reception lobby will occupy the front of the space, containing a retail component focusing on apparel and skin care. The lion's share of the 16' high space is given oven to the studio itself. All of the finishes will be clean and spare, enhancing the sense of a balanced environment. We're excited to see this minimalist space come together.
Congratulations to Clemson University on the significant win tonight. Allied Works and EE Fava Architects presented their design for the Paolozzi CAC.C building for conceptual BAR approval tonight. The application passed by a 3-1 vote. It of note that the application had the support of the Historic Charleston Foundation, whose Director of Preservation Winslow Hastie spoke in favor of the project. Eddie Bello also came in with Also worth noting that there were three abstentions, as board members Craig Bennett and Sheila Wertimer are engaged as consultants on the project and Eddie Fava is the local architect for the project.
The deck is generally stacked against getting any strongly contemporary designs passed within the Historic District of Charleston. Hopefully this is a sign of a new maturity and self-assuredness that Charleston will develop as we move through the 21st Century. Most all Charlestonians have a deep-seeded respect for historic architecture and for those who dedicate their careers to preserving the historic fabric of our city. But a respect for our historic surroundings doesn't mean that our new architecture needs to replicate it. In fact, it means the opposite.
Allied Works has a lot of work to do from here to fine tune their design, but deserve credit for producing an exciting and thoroughly wrought design in one of America's great and most beautiful small cities.
**New photos coming soon!
This newly completed Kiawah Island kitchen as all gleam and polish. The custom designed cabinetry is made for ease of use and integration of function. Many of the drawers are outfitted with cutlery blocks and flatware organization trays. All base cabinets contain pull-out shelves where there are shelves behind doors. All drawers are fitted with full extension Blum BluMotion undermount drawer guides and all doors have Blum soft-close hinges. The cabinet boxes were built using 3/4" PureBond formaldehyde-free plywood from Columbia Forest Products, a leader in VOC-free construction products.
Most significant is the finish that Robert Paige and his K&K Custom Cabinets team was able to achieve on all of the kitchen and bar cabinetry. Robert was able to achieve a deep lacquered finish on all of the painted doors and drawers fronts, as well as the Ebony-veneered paneling that accents the kitchen island.
Interior Consultants was a key collaborator on the kitchen design along with Robert Paige. The kitchen, along with the house, has definitely come a long way in a brief amount of time. After a project has ben transformed to such a large magnitude, it is fun to look back on where we began. Here is a specially selected collection of "before" photos:
The moment we've all been waiting for. It always feels good as an architect to see a project that you've sweated over for a long period of time become occupied. This project has been much shorter than many I'm involved with--only about 10 months from the beginning of design--but the intensity was ramped way up.
I'll be setting up to take more photos when the installation by New York-based Interior Consultants is complete. This house with be featured on the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League's House Tour on Kiawah Island taking place November 3rd. I would love to be there for the tour, but a long awaited vacation to Europe conflicts.