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.

Ansonborough Addition Concept

Addition concept for 19th Century Ansonborough dependency; a parapet wall makes reference to the existing structure while accommodating green roof. We've been working with repeat clients on the renovation and addition to a 19th C. masonry dependency in Charleston's Ansonborough neighborhood.  The owners have shifted their focus to another property further downtown, and so have put this property on the market.  If they are successful, I hope that it brings a new owner who is as excited about the potential for this property as we are.

Built around 1838 after an earlier structure was destroyed by the Great Fire in the same year, 63 Anson Street was build as a dependency to the Susan Robinson House, located at 48 Society Street. Historic preservation easements are held by the Historic Charleston Foundation.  Throughout the design process thus far, we worked closely with the HCF, who has approved the design that we created.

The proposed addition and renovation of this 19th C. Ansonborough dependency locates an eat-in kitchen and living room within the new addition in the rear.

Thank you

IMG_6492 Three years ago this week, I was presented with the opportunity to make one of the most important decisions of my life.  Aside for determining to ask Michelle to go out on a first date with me on my 26th birthday, the decision to launch my own architectural practice was my biggest to date.

We have never looked back, and I want to give my profound thanks to all of the friends, clients, and colleagues who have had the trust in us to keep this show on the road up to now.  I want to offer particular gratitude to our intern architect, Harrison Wallace, for his hard work and dedication to the delivering the very best service to our clients that we are capable of.  We are proud of the work that we have created so far, are emboldened by the opportunity to serve the clients that we currently have, and are excited about the future before us.

Thank you to everyone who has put their trust in us over the last three years. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to practice the craft that we love.

Kiawah Renovation/Addition Progresses

The addition and renovation to this Kiawah Island residence continues. Front elevation, with traditional elements integrated in a previous renovation, before current addition and renovation work was initiated.

Sometimes, the work that you produce that seems the least transformational is also the most difficult to pull off. When confronted with a renovation of a house of middling construction and that has already undergone another partial renovation, and with a budget realistically limited due to market considerations, the challenges can be substantial.  We are pleased with the way that the design and construction of this renovation/addition has come out so far, however, and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The installer from K&K Custom Cabinets works to set out the new kitchen cabinetry.

The project is chiefly a substantial third floor addition, which includes a new master suite and a den over what was the vaulted living spaces.  We designed the floor plate of the new addition be be 9'-3" above the existing finished floor to keep the appropriate ceiling volume in the living room, dining room and kitchen without growing the height of the house to be too tall proportionally. Along with the addition of the new space, a stair was needed to access it, leading to some necessary renovations to the former master shower.  Our clients also elected to completely renovate the kitchen, add a new stair for interior access to the garage, and replace existing 6'-6" tall sliding doors addressing the principal views with 8' tall units, enhancing the views substantially.

A new Ipe and stainless steel cable rail system will help to finish out the new third level porch and rebuilt principal deck.

Kiawah Residence before, having been renovated once before already to begin a transformation from an 80's contemporary to a shingle style flavor.

Surfsong Renovation Underway

Surfsong Road addition underway on Kiawah Island. 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).

Surfsong Road addition underway on Kiawah Island.


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

Charleston Getting Smarter, Less Self Aware

It looks like there's a reason for the robust market for the $12 artisan cocktail and $18 lunch.  More than half of all new Charleston County residents over 25 have bachelor's or post-graduate degrees.  Furthermore, more of those without college degrees are moving out of the county.  This according to the latest census data covering 2007-2011, which shows that more than 38% of all Charleston County residents over 25 now have college degrees, well above the national average of 28.5% and state average of below 25%.  We hope that this trend of a better educated populace will continue to strengthen the local public schools which, while better, have plenty of room for improvement.  And if some enterprising chef still has the capacity for making a quality $5 sandwich, they will always find a taker right here. Here's the Post and Courier story from this morning with the statistics and more detail .

Something else I've noticed lately: it seems like people more disconnected from the condition of Charleston being a real place, with the potential for actual "danger" and "harm" for those not paying attention.  From tourists backing into the street with their cameras and without looking at all for oncoming cars, to coeds walking on the sidewalks between houses in their nighties, its getting kind of surreal.

Last week, I made a brief visit to an all-but-completed project in the Eastside neighborhood to look at an issue with the siding installation.  I was on my bicycle, and pulled in past a car parked in the driveway.  So, I'm inbound of the car from the street, straddling my bike in the middle of the driveway, looking up at the house.  It is a classic Charleston Single with side porches. Out comes a new resident of a second floor apartment onto the porch.  He doesn't look around or down, and I didn't want him to be startled by a stranger in the driveway, so I'm looking at him waiting for him to notice me so that I offer a wave of acknowledgement and let him know why I was there.  He cruises across the porch and down the exterior stair, sort of walking down and away from me.  Then, he unlocks and climbs in his car, door still open, sitting down and facing my direction.

He sits there for maybe 15 seconds fiddling with his phone, facing toward me, as I'm still straddling my bike in the middle of his driveway.  He never looks up. Then he gets out of the car, closes the door, and dashes up the stair, heading generally toward me.  The stair has an open railing and open risers, so you can see through it toward the back of the lot, where I'm standing. He reaches the porch, then walks across the porch not 12 feet away, right past me.  In the house he goes, and never notices me once.  I could have been standing there stark naked with an ax on my shoulder and it wouldn't have made any difference.

What happened to the basic awareness of your surroundings?  Shouldn't your "spidey sense" kick in at some point?  It is so interesting to me that we can be so up in our heads that we lose the basic connection with our surroundings.  But, hey, at least we're getting smarter, Charleston!

Carolopolis Award for 625 Rutledge

625 Rutledge Ave, 2013 Carolopolis Award recipient. We were glad to accept a Carolopolis Award from the the Preservation Society of Charleston last night for our work at 625 Rutledge Avenue, know as the Seebeck House.  It was the first of several projects that we have collaborated on with our friends at Yarrum Properties.  We're proud to help bring this Hampton Park Terrace residence back from it dilapidated condition, and it is gratifying to receive recognition from the PSoC for it.  The  PSoC Membership meeting and awards ceremony was more than pleasant.  It is always good to see Carriage Properties partner/event sponsor Olin Chamberlain and knock back a couple of cold, domestic beverages with him.

A veritable treasure trove is historical information, existing and process photos are available by following links on the history, window restoration, interior detailing, and completion.

New Seabrook Island Residential Design

Front Elevation of new Seabrook Island residential design We began the new year with a very positive reception by our clients for a new design for their Seabrook Island property.  This residence has an inverted floor plan, with the living spaces and master bedroom designed at the second living level, or about 20 ft above grade.  A pool and spa was requested to be on the second level, a very unusual arrangement that will require significant engineering to carry out.  From this level, it is possible to have a view of the ocean a few hundred feet to the southeast.

East elevation of new Seabrook Island residence, with summer house and infinity edge pool/spillway to the right.

The second level also features a detached summer house that can be completely opened up, serving a pool house, gentlemen's lounge, or sports viewing pavilion, depending on the season. The pool will have an infinity edge and tall, tiled spillway on axis with the view toward the ocean.

The key site feature is a handsome double Live Oak which has a significant presence in the front half of the lot.  While limiting the use of much of the build able footprint for the property, it will provide a comfortable setting for the residence from the outset. A thorough mapping of the tree's main branches, in lateral orientation as well as height, was the first key bit of site analysis that we performed in advance of developing the design.

West Elevation of new Seabrook Island design.