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.

 


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 Carolinian's; 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!


Sketch to site- Spring Island

It's always really exciting to watch our designs come to life. Here are a few elevation watercolors from way back at the schematic design phase of this Spring Island house, paired with photos during construction. See the house from sketch to site!

Exterior

 

front entry Spring Island Architecture

A unique and gracious entry, well executed by Esposito Construction.

Spring Island front entry

FoyerCustom stair, lowcountry SPring ISland Architecture

custom stair lowcountry architecureWe used "Subway Stone" from Lowountry Pavers for the foyer floor and in various hardscape applications. We love the unique shape of the pavers!
kitchen concept, lowcountry Spring Island architecture
Custom Kitchen, Spring Island South Carolina

 


On the boards with House in Colleton River Club

Here are preliminary design sketches of a new house in Colleton River Club in Bluffton, South Carolina. The owners requested zen-like spaces with lots of natural light and good airflow.We begin every project with an analysis of the site and a site plan. It is critical to correctly place the house to take advantage of prevailing breezes, sun angles and the views. The sun path diagram allows us to consider the sun angles at different times of the year.

Site Plan colleton river houseElevation colleton river

 

interior elevation

 

Interior View

 


Under Construction in Beaufort SC

Our services include construction administration, which is essential for the success of our projects. We visit the job sites regularly to ensure that the house is being built as drawn, and to address any issues or questions that invariably arise during the construction process. We welcome abundant questions from the contractors and our clients during the construction phase. The more we communicate, the better the outcome. Here are some recent photos taken during these site visits in our projects under construction in and around Beaufort, SC.

Spring Island

The details are coming together beautifully on the Spring Island house. I am loving that Skyfall Quartzite countertop! So pretty! See more of this house: Sketch to site- Spring Island 

and here Under Construction- October Update

 

Factory Creek House

The view from this house is incredible. It sits on a bluff over Factory Creek, with a west facing view over the Beaufort River and downtown Beaufort, SC. There will be some spectacular sunset watching going on in this great room!

Long Cove Renovation

The outdoor living areas at this house are fantastic! Can't you just imagine gathering with friends around the outdoor fireplace on a chilly evening or soaking in some of the first warm weather days of the Spring?

 

St. Simons Island, Georgia

There has been lots of progress on the St. Simon's Island house since construction began in November! It's always fun to see the house take shape in the framing phase.

Stay tuned for more construction updates, completed projects and drawings from the boards of Frederick + Frederick!


On the Boards: St. Helena Island Renovation

The latest renovation on the boards is a 1950's ranch on an absolutely gorgeous lot on St Helena Island. The clients love the deep water dock & the extensive view over the Port Royal Sound, but the choppy plan of the house is not very functional. The entry is not well defined, the kitchen is tiny, the rooms are dark and choppy.

Here's the existing plan:

Here's our design solution, in plan view:

 

 

The new plan will allow the owners to enjoy their incredible view from more of the house (including the kitchen, which was not possible before). They will have more outdoor living space, with a screen porch. The main living areas will be much brighter and open to one another. The foyer moves to the middle of the house. The bathrooms and closets are reconfigured to increase functionality.

Here are the elevation drawings:

 

And a Building section of the St. Helena renovation project.

Our clients are excited to move to Beaufort, and we are excited to redesign their house! The renovation will improve the owners ability to enjoy the lowcountry lifestyle and the beautiful view from their house.


Friday Fun

We work hard around here, but every Friday afternoon we like to get a jump start on the weekend and do something enjoyable, creatively dubbed "Friday Fun".

One day, we sketched a flower arrangement and a tiny chair using a series of drawing prompts, like blind drawing, drawing the negative space and "drawing" with wire. It was fun, and a great way to get our creative juices flowing.

lowcountry architects sketch sketching Lowcountry Architects sketching lowcountry architects sketch lowoountry architect

 

We like to take advantage of our location. If the tide is high, we can launch our kayaks and paddleboard from the yard. One day, we brought our fishing poles and threw a couple lines out....we didn't catch much, but we enjoyed being on the water.

Friday Fun Beaufort SC kayakingBeaufort SC paddleboard kayak fishing Beaufort, SC

 

When its chilly outside, we like to play games. Our new favorite is Giant Jenga. Paired with appropriately dramatic music, our jenga games can get pretty intense.

Friday Fun Beaufort Architect Beaufort Architect Lowcountry Beaufort Architect

What should we do for Friday Fun at Frederick + Frederick next?