Posts

Residential architects who specialize in the hot, humid, southern climate

Some fun lights we are using

school of light.jpg

We love finding unique, interesting, gorgeous, inspired lighting for our clients. Here are a few favorites from a current project. We cannot wait to see them in the finished spaces.

 Lucci Argentati, School of Light  by Terzani makes a graceful statement over the dining table. The owner is an angler, and the School of Light is a nod to his interests, without being too obvious.

mizu.jpg

Terzani’s Mizu, Flowing Light features droplets of light encased in handmade crystal shapes. The staircase will be illuminated with interesting water-like light refractions.

caravaggio.jpg

Guests will be surprised and delighted by The Caravaggio Triptych in the powder room. Three different hand gestures drawn from Caravaggio paintings support glass forms that are lit with hidden LEDs.

stairhall.jpg

The interior elevation of the stair hall shows placement of the Mizu and the three Rings by Global Lighting. One ring provides illumination for the piano, and the other two at the base of the stairs add a dramatic touch.

Lighting Your House

gallery lighting and step lights

Have you ever had the experience of arriving for a visit at someone’s house and the porch light wasn’t on? We end up wondering, ‘Are they expecting me?’ Let’s say it turns out that they are expecting you and you are ushered into a kitchen to chat under bright lights and then into a dining room that is somewhat dim.

Contrast this to pulling into a well-lit space on the driveway and following a path of attractive footlights up to a front porch that has a welcoming glow. Inside, sofas and chairs bathed in the glow of nearby lamps as well as some ambient lighting from above. When you step into the kitchen to help the chef, task lighting eases your vegetable chopping. Upon being invited into the dining room, the chandelier is the centerpiece over a dining room table on which the crystal and china seem simply lit up. Wondering how this has been accomplished, you notice two spotlights shining down onto the table from the ceiling, adding luster to the scene.

The cues we get from lighting color our experiences. In the first scenario, the impressions are: unclear, harsh, enigmatic. In the second, all seems arranged for your pleasure and comfort.

But let’s say you are working on a task one evening and entertaining the next. We like to use layering of the lights to achieve the desired effect. This way you are able to use ambient lighting so you can see to get through a room, task lighting for just those areas where you need it, ‘jewelry’ lighting like chandeliers for special occasions, and spotlighting to heighten the attention or effect. They can be used separately or in combination, particularly on special occasions.

Now, let’s say you’ve figured out or worked with a lighting designer to determine how to get just the right combination of lighting for a dinner party. That can be programmed into a control panel, as can several other lighting combinations. Then, it’s just the press of a button on a control panel or iPad to get the same arrangement again. Of course, we still like to have traditional switches on the wall so that visitors or grandparents will know how to work the lights.

gallery lighing

Most of our local houses have large windows to take advantage of the great views of the Lowcountry landscape. Without the proper landscape lighting the windows become black mirrors at night creating a boxed in feel. Layering light in the garden connects you to the outside even at night by visually expanding the interior space.  It is important to remember that you are not recreating daylight, but a dynamic composition to enliven the outdoor room. 

Like interior lighting, you want to use different levels of lighting in your garden.  Task lighting is used for grilling or reading. These lights are typically down lights and should be switched separately from the other exterior lights. Ambient lighting is indirect lighting that softens shadows.  Accent lights provide depth and dimensions and should be used sparingly.  Finally decorative lighting is the finishing touch welcoming you to the house.

Lighting is essential to being able to use your house in multiple ways and create the appropriate atmosphere for the occasion.

On the boards

We have a new project on St Simons Island. The client read Jane's blog post on dogtrots and vernacular architecture, and recognized the Shackleford family name from her own family tree! Turns out she and Jane are third cousins! We've had great fun getting to know them and designing their beach house.

To present our preliminary design, we began with the elevation drawings and floor plans. Then we showed them the design in virtual reality. At this early phase, it is so helpful for the client to experience the design in virtual reality. With a clearer visualization of the spaces and design elements, the client can make a confident decision to move ahead, or to move in a different direction. In this case, we are moving full steam ahead, with a few changes.

We've moved away from the traditional two dimensional elevation drawings in favor of three dimensional elevations. They are more informative, and more fun to draw! 

With so much coverage of the lot, storm water drainage is a concern. We have proposed several rain gardens to remedy this issue. Guests would park along Seventh Street and be lead through the peaceful entry garden to the front door. 

FIRST FLOOR PLAN FOR BLOG.jpg

The front entry separates the master suite from the public living spaces. The indoor and outdoor living areas are open and spacious, with a more enclosed living room for a cozy feel. 

The views from the roof terrace will be spectacular!

The ground floor has storage for kayaks and bicycles off the garage.

The exterior fireplace will be finished with tabby.

Lowcountry Architecture

This Lowcountry contemporary house is based on Lowcountry design principles. The large overhang keeps water off the walls and blocks the sun in the summertime. The one room wide house allows light and cross ventilation. The metal roof reflects the sun. The tabby foundation is a local material found in ruins just blocks from the house.

This Lowcountry contemporary house is based on Lowcountry design principles. The large overhang keeps water off the walls and blocks the sun in the summertime. The one room wide house allows light and cross ventilation. The metal roof reflects the sun. The tabby foundation is a local material found in ruins just blocks from the house.

Many new houses are designed in the Lowcountry style without considering the “why” behind the style. It is common to see large porches on the north façade, just because it is the front of the house. These porches are dank and block light from entering the house. Shutters are screwed to the house with no intention of ever protecting windows from a storm. The mass of the house can be so large there is no cross ventilation to cool the interiors or provide natural light on both sides of the room.

Early Lowcountry architecture evolved to respond to the unique characteristics of our hurricane-prone, hot, and humid climate.  Large porches on the south façade kept out the hot summer sun; large overhangs protected the walls and windows from rain and blocked the harsh sun; single width rooms provided cross ventilation and natural lighting; high ceilings kept the rooms cooler in the summertime; exterior window shutters provided protection from high winds; and a raised first floor protected the house from flood waters. You can follow these time-tested principles, which still make sense, and have an open modern floor plan that accommodates contemporary living.

Materials particular to the Lowcountry should be used instead of foreign materials. Have you noticed how completely out of place stone fireplaces and walls look since there is no stone in the Lowcountry? Instead, use brick, stucco, tabby, cypress and/or heart pine, which are all indigenous. Local clays made into bricks have a color palette that blends into the landscape. Cypress is naturally rot resistant and perfect for siding, soffits, and exterior trim. Reclaimed heart pine is beautiful and a sustainable choice for floors and interior cabinetry. Modern tabby is based on the local historic material of lime, sand, and oyster shells. Metal roofs reflect the hot sun and allow leaf trash to wash right off of the roof during our heavy rains.

Hurricanes, heat, and humidity are natural parts of our environment and the houses we design must respect this. Your house should respond to views, vegetation, wind, sun, and neighbors. Here in the South, our land defines us and our architecture. A house that recognizes its place seems to belong.  Many people move here because of the natural beauty of the landscape, so, work with it and create a home that is rooted in the Lowcountry landscape.

 

 

 

On the Boards

We are designing a major renovation for a house in Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island. The house sits on Broad Creek and the new owners want to be able to take better advantage of the gorgeous view.

Front Elevation detail
3D EASTERN VIEW.jpg

The exterior updates include new doors and windows, changing the columns and handrails, removing the arch above the front doors, adding a water feature and landscaping. The dormer windows will be changed so they are functional from the upstairs bedroom, they currently have a sill- height at about 5 ft!

FRONT ELEVATION BEFORE.jpg
3D elevation
rear before

The addition of a screen porch and roof terrace will give the family plenty of outdoor living space.  I bet they will spend more time here than anywhere else in the house!

SITE PLAN.jpg
First floor plan

The floor plan has been reconfigured to provide more of a connection between inside and out. We are removing nearly every interior wall and giving this dated home a major refresh! The large multi-slide doors between the living room and deck will make the space so much brighter and airier. 

Second floor plan
LIVING ROOM
FIREPLACE BEFORE

The fireplace surround will be a single stone slab, which will be a dramatic, modern and sleek look and a BIG contrast to the dated, faded paneling and built ins that is there now.

Site Selection

Jane recently received a call from a potential client who had very defined requirements; the property had to be high for Beaufort, South Carolina, on deep water, large enough for his antique Jaguar collection, and room for a baby grand piano.

Jane and Michael guided this client as he explored properties in Beaufort. Since the client lives in Philadelphia, Jane and Michael reviewed potential houses and vacant sites to determine if they were suitable. The first house the Fredericks reviewed was essentially a tear down and the asking sales price was too expensive for a tear down. They recommended that the client not pursue that property.

“Each of our custom home projects has a unique set of criteria that we have to incorporate,” Jane says. “With this one, one of the challenges was having all those cars.”
 

Then they reviewed a vacant lot on a 25 foot bluff on deep water, and that was the winner. Just enough room (and proper zoning) for three buildings - a house, a carriage house for the clients’ daily-used cars with a guest suite above, and a garage for his many antique cars.


Jane commends this client for seeking out an architect early on in the process.

“A lot of the times clients don’t think about hiring an architect before getting started on a project when we can offer valuable advice on investing in the right property,” she said.
 

Under Construction

We are all excited about the construction progress at the Factory Creek house. Howell Builders is doing a great job!

The garage and carriage house

It is exciting to see the form of the house taking shape, as the second floor framing goes up.

There is quite a nice view of Factory Creek from the second floor. 

Tom is checking out the window framing

Tom is checking out the window framing

This Palmetto Bluff House is almost finished.

The Berkeley Hall project is almost completed, too.

Kitchen Trends

contemporary kitchen

Kitchens are trending more contemporary according to the Kitchen & Bath Business (KBB) research. Some of the trends are great looking, but are they practical for your lifestyle? One hot trend is floating shelves instead of wall cabinets. They look cool if you have attractive coordinating dishes, but, not so cool with peanut butter jars and chip bags. Open shelves also collect dust and grease so there is additional cleaning. Another is no wall cabinets, which works if there is a large pantry close by to house the misplaced items.

waterfall countertop

Kitchen islands are becoming the focal point in the room. Waterfall countertops are stylish and add drama to the island. Dropped island counters for chairs instead of raised for bar stools is on the rise. A combination of counter materials, such as quartz and wood, is chic.

Some trends are driven by the desire for low maintenance such as slab cabinet doors, large format tile backsplashes and engineered quartz countertops. The flat smooth cabinet doors are easy to clean since they do not have anywhere for dust and dirt to accumulate. Likewise, large tiles have less grout for cleaner lines. Engineered quartz has the beauty of natural stone and is almost indestructible. It is also non-absorbent, so there are no worries about stains.

kitchen island designed as furniture

KBB reports that side-by-side refrigerators are on the decline and French door with bottom freezers are the most popular because of the large width for eyelevel refrigeration. Completely separate refrigerators and freezers are gaining popularity. We have also noted a preference for additional point of use undercounter refrigerators next to salad and bar sinks. French door ovens and side opening ovens are new on the market. They can make the kitchen more accessible when mounted at counter height. Many of the appliance companies are now offering a darker stainless steel, often called slate or black stainless steel, which is perfect for the trend in gray colored kitchens.

island as furniture

Trash compactors are almost obsolete, and warming drawers are on the decline. Built-in coffee stations are “meh” for our clients who think it is just one more built-in item that would need repairs. The hot new appliance is a convection steam oven. They can cook in multiple modes, steam only, convection only, or a combination of steam and convention. The steam oven cooks vegetables to be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is great for defrosting and reheating leftovers. The steam oven cooks more quickly at a lower temperature. The combination setting is perfect for meats by keeping them moist and tender.

Summertime in the Lowcountry

Summertime is probably my favorite season in the Lowcountry (good thing, since its our longest season). Sure, it's hot, muggy and buggy, but with water all around us, it is easy to find relief from the heat.

Hunting Island State Park reopened earlier this month after significant damages from Hurricane Matthew. Hooray!!! Thanks to everyone involved in cleanup and restoration!! 

 Hunting Island sunrise over the ocean. Simply gorgeous!

 Hunting Island sunrise over the ocean. Simply gorgeous!

Hunting Island may look different than before the hurricane, but that is the nature of a barrier island. It is still a magical and awesome place to visit.

Hunting Island may look different than before the hurricane, but that is the nature of a barrier island. It is still a magical and awesome place to visit.

You can find most of our staff on the beach or on the river most every weekend. Our waterways and barrier islands are surely one of the best things about living in Beaufort.  

Michael takes advantage of a high tide to launch his kayak from the backyard for a quick paddle with his granddaughter.

Michael takes advantage of a high tide to launch his kayak from the backyard for a quick paddle with his granddaughter.

Beaufort has a temperate climate (we are in Zone 9 of the USDA map) which means lots tropical plants thrive here. I walked around the garden surrounding our office today, and wow! 

Hibiscus coccineus, native swamp hibiscus

Hibiscus coccineus, native swamp hibiscus

Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata' aka variegated ginger

Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata' aka variegated ginger

Strelitzia, aka Bird of Paradise

Strelitzia, aka Bird of Paradise

It's so easy for Beaufortonians to love where we live!

A Visit to Barcelona & Costa Brava Spain

Michael's sketch of the medieval bridge into Besalu, Spain 

casa mila

Casa Mila by Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona, spain

Barcelona Cathedral
Barcelona Cathedral cloisters

Sagrada Familia by Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona Pavilion by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

The cathedral in Girona, Spain has the widest Gothic nave in the world.

Sa Tuna, Spain

Sant Pere de Rodes Monastery

Seeing is Believing

One of our very first clients was an artist. After her house was finished she walked in and said, “Wow, I didn’t know it would look like this!” Thankfully, she was pleasantly surprised.

But what if she hadn’t been.

By then, it would have been too late. We had shown her many drawings. Being an artist and a visual person, we thought she understood.

Your house is often the biggest investment you make. There is a risk when building a house that it will not be exactly what you want.

Just think how terrible that would be  …all that time and all that money and you still didn’t get what you wanted.

Or maybe it is 95% perfect but one window is in the wrong place. So you live with it but it drives you crazy every single day. Or you decided to make a change while the house was under construction – boy that can be expensive!

If only you could channel Marty Mcfly and his DeLorean time machine and go back to the future, see the mistakes, and then correct them while your house was still in the design phase. You could change the future like Marty did when he took out the bully Biff.

Now you can.

Recently we had a client who was concerned with the look and size of a truss in his house. So we set up the virtual reality experience and gave him the opportunity to see the scale of the beam “in real life”. Seeing is believing and the client was pleased with the perfect sizing.

Virtual reality is a great help for folks who might be less visual. One of our clients was having a difficult time understanding how the finished house would look from our drawings or from the 3-D computer model. But with the virtual reality goggles, she was able to walk through her home. The technology helped her understand and experience what her house would look like. She loves it.

In 5 years everyone will be using 3-D goggles but right now only 5% of people building homes get to see into the future.  

Compare being on your lot trying to imagine what your house is like to traveling in a time machine where you are virtually there. You are inside the house seeing it and feeling it. It is so real that you will reach out and try to touch the walls.

The difference in cost between asking us to make a change on paper versus asking a builder to make changes either during construction or once the project is complete – is huge. Experiencing your home through virtual reality will eliminate this risk. Plus, it’s pretty awesome.

If you want to see if for yourself...give us a call and stop by to check out our Virtual Reality Experience.

Frederick + Frederick Architects Awarded American Institute of Architect South Carolina 2017 Firm Award

IMG_2564.JPG

The AIA South Carolina Board of Directors awarded Frederick + Frederick Architects with the 2017 Firm Award at their annual awards banquet on April 21, 2017. The Firm Award is the highest honor that the American Institute of Architects South Carolina Chapter can bestow upon a South Carolina architectural firm. The award is given in recognition of design excellence and contribution to the profession of architecture that has made a lasting influence on the practice of architecture in South Carolina.

Kate Schwennsen, Director + Professor, Clemson School of Architecture, wrote in her nomination letter, “Frederick + Frederick is unquestionably a Small Firm with Big Impact, and a firm that many other firms look to for exemplary practice. The design excellence of their body of work has been widely recognized … But perhaps what is most uniquely important about Frederick + Frederick, the raison d’etre of their success, and the thing from which other firms could learn the most, is their innovative and supportive firm culture. They are a family-owned business that sincerely treats their employees like family. Jane and Michael moved to Beaufort to enjoy the lifestyle there … [and] so they do.”

Principal Jane Frederick said that they are humbled and thrilled to be recognized by their peers. “We would not be where we are today without all the fantastic clients who have made our work possible.” The Firm Award was first conferred in 1993 and Frederick + Frederick Architects is the tenth firm to receive the recognition in the awards 24-year history. Frederick + Frederick is honored and delighted to be the 2017 AIA South Carolina Firm Award Recipient.

Frederick + Frederick Architects specialize in custom homes for hot, humid climates. The Beaufort, South Carolina, firm was established in 1989 by the husband and wife team of Jane and Michael Frederick.