Auldbrass

Auldbrass

We had the pleasure of touring Frank Lloyd Wright’s Auldbrass Plantation last week with the Beaufort County Open Land Trust‘s biannual tours. Some of the office had visited before, and for others of us, it was a first. It is quite impressive, both the original design, as well as the efforts undertaken by the current owner to realize Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision. Auldbrass is one of two Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs in South Carolina, the other is Broad Margin in Greenville, South Carolina (you can read about our visit to Broad Margin here).

Auldbrass seems to belong among the live oaks and spanish moss. Though it is a sprawling estate, the buildings are unassuming and quiet in a way that pays homage to the peacefulness of the cypress lake by which it sits. All the exterior walls slope to mirror the angles of the surrounding oaks. Many of the details are typical of Wright’s designs, such as his signature color, Taliesin red, and the hexagonal motifs throughout the property. Others are unique to Auldbrass and reflect the specific site, such as the copper downspouts designed to represent the spanish moss. The Auldbrass ‘logo’ is a design that is derived from the Yemassee Indians of the area. The form is common for our area; one room thick to encourage daylighting and ventilation with high ceilings to allow the heat to rise. The kitchen was originally located in a separate building from the sleeping and living areas, which is historically typical in our area, both to contain heat from cooking and lessen the impact of a potential kitchen fire. The house was retrofitted with cooling capabilities, but it would have been fairly comfortable without, even with our hot, humid summers. The concrete floors were originally heated, a feature that is no longer used today.

In addition to the main house, the grounds have extensive gardens, a swimming pool, stables, barns, a guest bedroom building, and various cottages. The owner has plans to build a two story guest house and a canal from the pool to the lake with a dinner barge.

Auldbrass

Much of the furniture throughout the house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The cars belonged to a fleet of Taliesin red cars that were customized to his specifications.


On the Boards- St Helena Renovation

This house sits on a fabulous lot overlooking Chowan Creek on St. Helena Island, but could use some improvements. The plan is choppy and the kitchen is small. The outdoor living spaces are disjointed. Our plan opens the living, dining, kitchen areas and creates a pantry/mudroom space by adding on a master suite.

First floor plan before

Second floor before

Redesigned first floor plan

Redesigned second floor plan


Construction Update

Saint Simons Island House

Exterior under construction

We always love seeing our designs come to life. It is fun to go back to preliminary design drawings and compare to construction photos. Some houses go through many iterations of preliminary design before the owners are completely satisfied. This one is not much different than the first sketches drawn.

St Simons House

tile tub

Tile installation is in progress. The tile on the right, in the master shower, is by Alyse Edwards, its part of the “Wanderlust” Collection, see more here.

Maple interior trim is nearly complete (click above photos to enlarge)

We are excited to see this project coming together. It is about 70% complete.

Fripp Island

Piers, Fripp Island

On Fripp Island, foundation work is underway. The footings are poured and the CMU piers are going up. A retaining wall of piles is installed. See the preliminary design for this house on the boards here.

Under Construction
Retaining wall
Beach front, Fripp Island

It is a treat getting to go to the beach for site visits!

Long Cove Club Renovation

Our major renovation in Long Cove Club, on Hilton Head Island is very close to completion. We love happy clients, and these clients are thrilled with how their house has been renovated to suit their family’s lifestyle and design preferences.

Hilton Head Island Renovation
Back porch
Pool Broad Creek View

The outdoor living on the rear of the house and the pool, with views over Broad Creek are pretty spectacular!

We will have more houses under construction to show you soon!


Dining room to kitchen, Beaufort SC renovation

Thomas Rhodes House wins AIA SC Honor Award

Frederick + Frederick Architects was recognized with the 2019 Honor Award from the South Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in the Historic Preservation category for the Thomas Rhodes House. To see the project, visit our portfolio page here. The project is a complete renovation of 1790's house, one of the oldest in Beaufort.

Jury Chair, Cheryl Morgan, FAIA said of the project:

“This is historic preservation done right! The fine design of the original house shines through and nothing in the plan adjustments distracts. They only make it a much more livable house.”

 


Factory Creek House Progress

The house on Factory Creek is nearing completion and looking great! The expansive outdoor living areas sure will be a nice place to take in that view!

 

rear elevation

Viewfireplace


3D drawing lowcountry cottage

On the Boards- Lowcountry Cottage

There is something very satisfying about a compact and efficient cottage, especially here in the lowcountry where most of us would rather be outside most of the time. This little house will serve as a guest cottage with rental potential after the owners build a bigger place on their land. It's really got everything you need though, and with all those solar panels on a house that is just over 800 square feet, you can bet it'll be net-zero!

The clients on this project are interested in using hempcrete, which is a lightweight, cementitious insulating material made from the stalks of hemp plants and lime. We are still learning about hempcrete, but it seems like a wonder-product. The raw materials are renewable, it sequesters carbon, it insulates well. We are very intrigued, and will report back about the practicality of using it.

The Lowcountry cottage clients decided they wanted a little more space, including a full second bedroom rather than a loft, so here's version two. It is a dogtrot plan (our favorite vernacular form, read more here). The dogtrot space between the two buildings is unenclosed. The breezes funneling through the outdoor space will make it a lovely spot to dine, relax and watch the sunset. The butterfly roof will capture rainwater in a cistern. The collected rainwater will be utilized as gray water for irrigation, etc on the property, with an additional benefit of keeping the stormwater from running off into the marsh.

See what else is on our boards here.


Cane Island House

Our latest project on the boards is a new house on Cane Island, right down the road from our office. The clients requested a light filled spaces and clean lines. They like lowcountry style, but want a more contemporary take on the tradition. The inspiration photos they shared with us featured symmetrical elevations. Because the lot is fairly tight, we couldn't achieve perfect symmetry. We chose to bring this element in with "local symmetry" instead.

These are the drawings for the Cane Island House. The site plan is where we start, then we create floor plans and elevations, along with a large pile of balled-up tracing paper in the recycling bin.


master bathroom

Master Bath renovation

Before & After

Here is a master bath renovation that we completed a couple of years ago in the Shrimp Pond house. The Shrimp Pond house is at Spring Island, South Carolina. We designed the house in the 90's, then new owners hired us for the Shrimp Pond Studio addition and for a remodel of the master bath.

See the side-by-side comparisons in this master bath renovation:

Shower:

The addition of the round window in the shower and the new tile make it so much brighter and prettier.

Vanity:

master bath floating vanity

The floating vanity gives the space a contemporary feel. It's a cleaner aesthetic, and easier to clean too!

Tub:

free standing tub

The tub area is updated by swapping the drop in tub for a free standing tub, new tile and loosing that dated brick accent wall.


Beaufort SC Lowcountry Sunset

Rooftop Solar in South Carolina

The state legislature passed a bill this week that signals a win for rooftop solar in South Carolina! It's called the SC Energy Freedom Act. The bill will allow the expansion of the solar market, both large scale and for residential installations.

Solar panels on custom spring island house
This house on Spring Island has a 10.50 kW solar array

In 2014, a state law passed that made South Carolina a viable market for solar power by enacting tax credits and net-metering requirements. To appease the power companies, the 2014 law included restrictions (or caps) on the amount of rooftop solar allowed in the service areas of SCE&G (now Dominion Energy) & Duke Power. These caps were reached this Spring. Without the bill that passed this week, the solar market would have collapsed in SC because net-metering would no longer have the same benefits.

What is Net-metering?

Net-metering is the process by which a home with rooftop solar sells excess energy to the utility company, and draws energy from the grid when the solar system is not producing energy (like at night). The customer will always have electricity, provided the grid is functioning properly. The new legislation requires that the utility companies buy power from customers producing excess energy at the same rate that they sell to consumers.

What about battery storage for solar energy?

Batteries like the Tesla Powerwall can be connected to solar panels to store excess energy. At times when the solar panels are not producing energy, the consumer can tap into the energy stored in the battery. These batteries are really cool, but they may not be practical for the average consumer. They are expensive and one battery probably does not have the capacity to power a whole house. The technology is rapidly advancing, and battery backup may soon be a more practical option. We have a number of clients who have installed solar connected batteries in order to keep essential appliances and lights on in the event of power failure. In our hurricane prone area, I think this approach is smart. Often, the days following a major storm are sunny, but it may take utility companies days to weeks to restore power. A house with a solar array + battery would be sitting pretty!

Two Tesla Powerwall2 batteries at a recent project
Two Tesla Powerwall2 batteries at a recent project

Net-metering is an essential piece of the growth of solar power in South Carolina. I congratulate the legislators that championed this bill. Alternative, renewable energy will continue to be a sound choice for South Carolinians; both for our wallets and for our environment!


Bathroom Trends 2019

Accessibility

The American Institute of Architects’ most recent home design research focused on bathroom trends. The findings report that 62% of new and remodeled projects have larger showers that are designed for easy accessibility. This includes a shower seat, a curbless entrance and grab bars. As a result, manufacturers are responding to the increase in the demand for grab bars with great looking options. Standalone showers without a separate bathtub continue to increase in popularity. Homeowners are only installing bathtubs as a personal choice and not in response to future resale.

 

Luxury curbless shower with mosaic tile
Here is a large curbless shower in a recent project with a seamless transition from bathroom to shower.

Technology in the bathroom??

When shopping for plumbing fixtures it appears that smart toilets are the wave of the future. But the research shows that the demand is not there. Only 13% of respondents reported an increase in requests for these easy cleaning, one-piece toilets with heated seats, Bluetooth technology and foot-warmers. I am certain that the high price tag is reason enough for the low demand. The list price of Kohler’s top of the line smart toilet is eight thousand dollars (Kohler Numi)!

Design Styles

The web based company Houzz.com also conducts consumer research and reports that contemporary design is the most popular style for bathrooms followed by transitional design. Over 60 % of homeowners match the finishes of the faucets, hardware, bath accessories and light fixtures. Brushed or satin nickel are the most popular, followed by polished chrome. Oil-rubbed bronze is losing popularity and might soon join avocado appliances in the graveyard of dated finishes. Since 2016 the specification of oil-rubbed bronze finishes has dropped by 40%.

In master bathrooms, double under-mount sinks continue reign supreme. Houzz reports that vessel sinks popularity grew 50% since 2016. This is not consistent with our clients who find vessel sinks difficult to use and clean around.

Master bathroom with undermount sinks and custom walnut cabinetry
Undermount sinks for bathrooms and kitchens remain very popular for a sleek look and easy cleaning.

Tile Trends

Tile shapes and patterns are making strong appearances with hexagons, large-format shapes, mosaics (like the gorgeous mosaic in the photo of the first shower), herringbones, and chevron patterns. Full accent walls of decorative tiles that spill down on the shower floor are replacing horizontal strips of deco tiles.

Decorative tiled wall makes a luxurious statement in this master bath
The curved, tiled wall makes a statement and separates the walk-in shower from the tub

Finally, LED back-lit mirrors are all the rage in contemporary bathrooms.  They provide the perfect light for applying makeup or shaving. The mirrors are anti-fog and easily cleaned.

Bathrooms can be a great place to make a design statement, and while I've titled this post bathroom trends, these design elements have staying power.

You may enjoy our previous post on the hottest trends in kitchen design too!