Exterior Spring Island Architecture

Construction Update- Hilton Head Island, Spring Island

Long Cove Club Renovation, Hilton Head Island

Iron work by Ahern's Anvil

This custom rail is being installed in the major renovation happening in Long Cove in Hilton Head Island. Sean Ahern of Ahern's Anvil is the blacksmith. I visited his shop in Charleston a while back and was super impressed with his work. I'd recommend checking out his portfolio at  http://www.ahernsanvil.com/ to see beautiful and unique ironwork.

Here are a few more photos of the Long Cove House. It's a major renovation of an existing house, but it is going to be like a new house when we are finished, we have touched every room. The house will be updated and so much more functional after the renovation. Our clients often grapple with whether they should renovate an existing house, or tear it down and rebuild. We usually find that it is less expensive to renovate, even if the renovation is extensive. It is more sustainable, also!

Port Royal Plantation, Hilton Head Island

This house has incredible marsh views and lots of windows to capture those views. The style is clean and contemporary, but it still reflects lowcountry architectural traditions. I can't wait to see this house furnished!

 

Spring Island, Beaufort, SC

We've shown you this gem on Spring Island a good bit lately, it's just so pretty! We are looking forward to getting a professional photographer in, once the landscaping and final punch list items are completed. This house has about 10 kW of solar panels on the roof and a Tesla Powerwall 2 battery for back-up storage. We can't wait to find out what the power generation is like after the owners have been using it awhile. Interested in more information about rooftop solar? Check out our post here. The landscaping here is by Thomas Angell of Verdant Enterprises. We enjoy working together and have a similar mindset about keeping the site native and natural and fitting the house into the site (rather than vice-versa).

St. Simons Island, Georgia

The house on St. Simons is looking really great. This is another project that we are collaborating with Thomas Angell of Verdant Enterprises on. We just love how that giant oak camouflages the house. The maple front door and the cypress ceilings are very handsome, its so exciting to see finish materials on the house!

 


Designing to mitigate hurricane losses

As we enter into hurricane season, many people ask, "How can I build to mitigate hurricane damage?" Historically, we have worried more about hurricanes with high winds but Hurricane Florence proved that category 1 storms can be just as disastrous. Eight people in South Carolina died, property damage was over $607 million, and more than 2,000 homes were lost to flooding.

When building a new house there are three critical concerns in the design and construction in hurricane prone areas that address the simultaneous impacts of wind, rain, and flooding.

Keep the building from blowing away

The building must be tied together from the roof rafters to the foundation. The most common method employs hurricane clips and tie rods. The building must be designed to withstand wind shear which can be accomplished with plywood sheathing if there are limited amount of openings in the walls. Walls with large openings often require steel framing to withstand the wind shear.

Windows and doors need to be protected from flying objects. The simplest but not the cheapest is to install impact rated windows and doors. Other options include hurricane rated shutters, PVC coated woven fabric such as Wayne Dalton’s Fabric-Shield® or plywood panels cut to fit the openings and fastened as per the building code.

The exterior finishes should be rated to withstand hurricane force winds and be installed securely to the structure as per the manufacturer’s recommendation to meet the tested installation.

Keep the rain out

Keeping rainwater out of the building is fairly straightforward but only if design decisions are made to address it. As the building scientist William Rose observed, “If it doesn’t get wet…it can’t leak.” Thus, large overhangs help keep the building dry by reducing the amount of water flowing down the walls by a minimum of 50%.

Field experience shows that water leakage around doors and windows is very common. Therefore, sill pans and flashing are essential. Flashing has two distinct purposes; it keeps water from getting into the wall through joints and it guides water back out of the wall when some leakage does occur.

All exterior cladding will allow some moisture to pass through. The best way to capture the water and direct it out of the wall system is with a drainage plane which is a waterproof layer on the exterior of the wall sheathing. For the drainage plane to work correctly there is an air gap to promote drying. Likewise, a secondary roofing membrane will keep water out if the primary roof material is compromised.

Crawl spaces must be sealed against water leakage, humid air infiltration and vapor permeation from the earth. Closed crawl spaces do not have vents to the exterior. They are insulated at the perimeter wall.

Drain water away from house by using gutters and sloping the ground away from the building.

Prevent flood damage

The most important consideration is to elevate the structure and mechanical systems to minimize its contact with flood water and a potential storm surge. The new flood maps that will soon be adopted in Beaufort County are lowering the flood heights in many areas. It may be prudent to place your house at the current higher requirement because of rising sea levels.

Crawl spaces located in a flood zone need hydro-static vents to prevent flood waters from collapsing foundation walls. The hydro-static vents will allow flood water to enter and exit the crawl space. Charleston based Flood Flaps® provide a tight seal for a closed crawl space.

Finally, use materials that tolerate soaking and can easily dry.

 


Construction Progress April 2019

We are getting close to finishing some of our projects under construction...so close that the protective layers are being removed from the interior finishes. This is always an exciting time. Check out the construction progress in the photos below.

Spring Island

St. Simon's Island

Factory Creek

Brays Island Renovation

Factory Creek 2


The Case for Resiliency

Credit NCDC.NOAA.org

According to NOAA, since 1980, the US has sustained at least 241 weather and climate disaster where the overall damage exceeded one billion dollars. Hurricanes are a combined 919.7 billion in total damages with an average of 21.9 billion per event. The other natural disaster in order of costs are drought, wildfires, flooding, freezes, winter storms and severe storms. The South and Southeast regions experience higher frequency of billion dollar disaster than other regions. In 2018 natural disasters cost the US $91 billion dollars.

Despite the evidence – we are ignoring the consequences of building in vulnerable places.

According to the National Institute of Building Science's research found that mitigation funding can save the nation $6 in future disaster costs, for every dollar spent on hazard mitigation. They also demonstrated that investing in hazard mitigation measures to exceed select building code requirements can save the nation $4 for every dollar.

They estimated that implementing these two sets of mitigation strategies would prevent 600 deaths, 1 million nonfatal injuries and 4,000 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Resiliency is similar to sustainability but there is a difference. Sustainability is reducing a building’s impact on the environment and resiliency is reducing the environment’s impact on a building or community. Generally, sustainability initiatives are add to a building’s resiliency but some resiliency requirements are not as sustainable, especially when they are creating redundancy.

Resilience is about surviving and thriving regardless of the challenge, whether it is a chronic stress or an acute shock. Chronic stresses weaken the fabric of a city on a day-to day or cyclical basis. They include issues such as global warming, poverty, homelessness and aging infra-structure. Acute shocks are sudden sharp events that threaten a community. Often acute shocks are weather related but they can also be human induced such as an act of terror.

Four Kinds of Resiliency

Climate Resiliency

Architect, Lance Hosey identifies four kinds of resiliency. The first is Climate Resiliency which is reducing the environment’s impact on the building. Depending on the anticipated hazard buildings and landscapes may be protected or hardened against the elements to withstand hurricanes, floods, and fires. Other options include adapting or retreating.

In the case of rising sea levels the options of protecting is building levees or other “hard” methods, accommodating would be raising structures or using “soft” or natural protection measures such as wetlands restoration, and finally retreating would be accomplished by moving or demolishing flood-prone buildings.

This is a huge issue for us because the southeastern US alone represents nearly 70% of the entire projected populations at risk.

Functional Resiliency

The second is Functional Resiliency.  This includes the systems where the building is still habitable and functions. Current standards and codes focus on preserving lives by reducing the likelihood of significant building damage or structural collapse from hazards But they generally don’t address the additional need to preserve quality of life by keeping buildings habitable and functioning as normally as possible, what we call ‘immediate occupancy.

Community Resiliency

The third is Community Resiliency which focuses on municipal and neighborhood resources that help people bounce back to normality or better.

The National Institute of Standards & Technology’s Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems (Guide) provides a practical and flexible approach to help all communities improve their resilience by setting priorities and allocating resources to manage risks for their prevailing hazards.

Aesthetic Resiliency

The fourth is Aesthetic Resilience which is best described by the Senegalese poet Baba Dioum, “In the end, we conserve only what we love.”


2019 Kitchen Trends

White kitchens and subway tile have been in the rage for most of this century. 2019 kitchen trends show homeowners moving away from all white and instead we are seeing the rise of color, texture, and drama with an added emphasis on the functionality of the space, cabinets, and materials.

Cabinets and Storage

Many kitchens do not have as many wall cabinets as was once popular, which adds an open and airy feel. Full wall storage cabinets and large pantries have replaced them. Cabinets in deep rich hues of blues and greens are very popular. Cabinets of different colors are also seen with dark base cabinets and lighter wall cabinets. The amount of open shelves is minimized to only display decorative items, not everyday items.

Large pantries serve as additional work space with a second dishwasher and sink. Small appliances are located in the pantry for a clean open look in the kitchen. Pantry storage is a combination of open shelves and cabinets.

Countertops and Backsplashes

Color, texture, and drama are all visible in the backsplash. Book-matched stone slabs running from the countertop to the ceiling create a beautiful look that is easy to clean. Encaustic cement tile in bold colors, traditionally seen in Europe, is all the rage. Non- rectilinear tile, such as scallop shapes and circle add an interesting texture.

Stone slabs with a lot of color and movement are showcased on islands with complementary plainer slabs on the other countertops. Waterfall countertops add a clean modern vibe to the kitchen. Quartz which is a manufactured material is sought after for its durability and wide color palette.

Appliances

Recently, the only colored appliances were the super expensive brands of la Cornue and Aga. KitchenAid’s introduction of colored ranges makes them more accessible and more popular.

This Berkeley Hall kitchen incorporates many of the 2019 kitchen trends. The book-matched walnut cabinets add warmth and visual texture. A full height storage wall replaces traditional base and wall-hung cabinets. Open shelving is now being used for decorative items instead of general storage.  The backsplash is a continuous slab that runs from the countertop to the ceiling. The design allows for the couple to work together in preparing a meal. The husband works in the cooking zone, while the wife is the sous chef in the cleaning zone. See more of the Skwarek's house in our portfolio.


Wexford Renovation, North Elevation

On the Boards with a Wexford Renovation

Wexford Renovation

This Wexford house was on the market for two years before our clients purchased it. It has some issues including: The house is very dark inside. The kitchen is small for the size of the house. The pantry is very small. The master bedroom has the smallest closet that I have seen for a master suite. There is a bedroom past the master bedroom that invades the privacy of the master bedroom. One of the garage bays cannot be backed out of without hitting the gazebo. The front has no curb appeal.

Existing Plan

Wexford Renovation existing floor plan

Wexford Renovation Plan

In the new Wexford renovation we updated the front of the house by removing the small front porch and the weird windows on the front of the garage. We moved the garage doors to the front to break up the huge unarticulated mass of the garage. The addition of the small roof over the garage further breaks up the large mass. We opened up the inside to one large great room with new large sliding doors on the view. The kitchen expanded toward the gazebo and we removed the blank walls of the gazebo that face the street. We added a breakfast area on the view. We converted the den into a bedroom and turned the old guest bedroom into the master closet. Not shown is the second floor with additional bedrooms.

Wexford Renovation new floor plan

 

Existing House


Under Construction- December

While other parts of the country put construction projects on hold so they can dig themselves out of the snow, our projects are moving full-steam ahead! See the latest site visit photos in our December construction update.

Benjie went down to St. Simon's Island for his first site visit there this week. We are excited that this project is getting started. And we approve of dog-help on job sites!

Spring Island

The Spring Island house is coming along very nicely. Currently, Esposito Construction is installing interior trim and wood floors. They are going to begin installing cabinets and tile next week.

Port Royal Plantation

There has been good progress at the Port Royal Plantation house. I love the front elevation, its really going to look great with a bright red front door!

 

Long Cove Renovation

Our major renovation in Long Cove has drywall hung and they will begin installing trim soon.

Factory Creek House

All the drywall is hung in the Factory Creek House and the painters are beginning to prime the walls. The views from this house are stellar, the clients are going to love having all those windows!

Factory Creek House 2

This Factory Creek house should be finishing up soon.

Brays Island Renovation

We are counting the days until this renovation is complete. 

 


Crosby Addition

Revisiting the Crosby's House

It is always fun to revisit a project after many years. Usually we are called in when a new owner buys one of our houses and wants to make it their own. This fall we are revisiting the Crosby's house for the original owners. The house was built as a weekend retreat and over the years the Crosbys decided it should be their full time residence. This prompted them to call us to add a true master's suite, enlarge the mud room and add a larger laundry room.

The Crosby's bought the vacant lot next door so the new master suite expands to the east. The existing master bedroom becomes a new den; while the existing master bath and closet becomes a bath for the pool and the laundry. The former laundry becomes a pantry and a mud room is added onto the western side between the house and garage.

Crosby Addition

Here is a link to the original house.


Broad Margins by Frank Lloyd Wright

Broad Margin by Frank Lloyd Wright

Several years ago, we had the delightful pleasure of visiting, Broad Margin, the only other project designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in South Carolina (besides Auldbrass in Beaufort County). We were entertained by the original contractor and viewed the complete set of working drawings for the house and furniture, all six pages of them!

The 1727 square foot, three bedroom, two and one half bath, Wright designed Broad Margin in 1951 for sisters, the Misses Gabrielle and Charlcey Austin. Wright named the house Broad Margin after the passage, “I love a broad margin to my life.” from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.   In 1978, the house was listed on the National Registered of Historic Places.

Usonian House

Broad Margin is an Usonian House, a term coined by Wright to describe his small affordable houses that were typically single story, built on a concrete slab, of native materials with large overhangs. He was particularly sensitive to building the house to fit into the landscape.

Broad Margin house

Siting

The siting of the Broad Margin is quintessential Wright. The downtown Greenville site is heavily wooded and bordered by two creeks; you feel like you are miles from civilization. The approach to the house is from above and your first view is of the large low sloped roof. The modest entrance is through the carport into a narrow hall that functions as a spine to the building. All the rooms open out to the view and a series of decks that step down the hillside.

The house is constructed of stone, poured in place concrete, Lowcountry cypress and glass. The great room has a magnificent sunken stone fireplace as the focal point. The kitchen is the only room without a view but it has an eighteen foot ceiling culminating in a skylight. The floor is Wright’s signature red poured in place concrete with radiant heating.

The current owner has lovingly restored the house and had the dining room table rebuilt to Wright’s specifications, a previous owner sold the dining room furniture. Most of the other original furniture designed by Wright is still in place.

Frank LLoyd Wright Broad Margin


Phillip Johnson home tour

Cincinnati Home Tours

Geier House

Our office attended the AIA Custom Residential Architect's Network Symposium in Cincinnati. One of the highlights of the Cincinnati home tours was Phillip Johnson's Geier House, which is also called the Berm House. The house was built in 1968 in the town Indian Hills just a few miles northeast of Cincinnati. The flat site was modified to create a small lake and the house was built into berms. All the rooms have large glass walls opening onto the lake.

Peterloon Foundation

This big snail (one of four) is on the wall between the dependency building and the main house at the Peterloon Foundation. The country estate was designed in 1928 by the architecture firm of Delano & Aldrich.

Rauh House

Next on the home tour was this 1938 International Style house was designed by John Becker. It is located Woodlawn, Ohio. The house had changed hands several time and had fallen into disrepair. It was slated to be demolished until Emily Pulitzer, who grew up in the home, stepped in and paid for the restoration. She donated the house to the Cincinnati Preservation Society, who put restrictions on the property and sold it to the current owner.

 

Hawkins House

The Hawkins house was designed for a client who uses a wheel chair which inspired the interior and exterior ramps. This Indian Hills, Ohio house was designed by architect David Niland. The Hawkins house was originally constructed in 1984. The house was reconstructed in 1996, after major issues with water infiltration were discovered which were a result if impropert building envelope detailing.

 

We really enjoyed seeing a range of architectural styles on CRAN's Cincinnati home tour.