On the Boards

 

Vernacular Traditions

This house is based on the vernacular Beaufort T House. The floor plan is shaped like a T with a wrap around porch, this allows the rooms to have great cross ventilation.

Designed for Resiliency

The first floor is raised out of the flood plain  and is finished with materials that can get wet. The large overhangs protect the walls from the rain. The impact glass in the windows and doors protect them in high winds. The house is design to be net zero, meaning that the energy produced on-site from photovoltaic panels is equal to or greater than the energy required to run the highly efficient house.

 

Designed for Outdoor Living

The large screened porches overlook a lagoon. One of the screened porches is dedicated to cooking and dining while the other is for relaxing.

Close to Custom

This house will be included in our C2C Collection and is available for purchase. Our Close to Custom plans are based on vernacular forms,  and the T-house plan builds on the theme of providing plans that inherently preform well in our hot, humid climate. See the other plans here.


Earth Day

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day it is hard to remember what our plans for today were before we became house bound. This isn’t an ordinary year. COVID-19 has dramatically altered the rhythm of our days and will continue to reshape our lives in ways we can’t foresee. That can seem overwhelming, disheartening, and frightening unless we remember that we are not defined by the challenges we face, but how we meet them personally, professionally, and as citizens of the global community.

The fact is that despite the ongoing COVID-19 global health emergency and the grim news that it brings, it is still spring. It is still a time of rejuvenation and growth, and a physical reminder of the indomitable power of the human spirit to renew itself and to grow from adversity.

Some of the lessons learned could even have positive impacts over the long term – particularly when it comes to climate progress. Scientists have catalogued the sudden plunge in greenhouse gas emissions caused by the large-scale substitution of telework and staying home for commuting and travel. Of course no one would have chosen to reduce pollution under such tragic circumstances – and, thankfully, stay-home orders aren’t permanent – but the change does help demonstrate that dramatic environmental progress is possible.

Scientists also point out an instructive parallel between the pandemic crisis and the climate crisis: If you wait until you can see the impact, it is too late to stop it. Climate experts like Elizabeth Sawin, co-director of the think tank Climate Interactive, explain that “the public is coming to understand that in that kind of situation you have to act in a way that looks disproportionate to what the current reality is, because you have to react to where that exponential growth will take you.”

Jane wrote an Earth Day article for the April issue of Architect Magazine back in February BC (Before Covid 19). It now seems like it was last year.  Robert Ivy CEO/EVP of the American Institute of Architects and Jane co-wrote an article for Earth Day this week. She was also quoted in this Forbes article on why green building are more important than ever. Finally, another BC article from Architectural Digest on how the architectural industry is responding to the climate crisis.


after renovation hilton head kitchen

Home Improvement During Coronavirus

I was asked by Carolina Thorpe of the London Financial Times on how to improve your home during a lockdown for an article she was writing. My quote was the lede in the story found here. My complete response to her is below.

To deal with the anxiety caused by COVID-19 and the isolation we feel from social distancing, it’s more important than ever to make sure our living quarters are healthy both physically and mentally. Protecting health starts at the front door. The recommendation I received from an infectious disease specialist is to create a transition zone at the entrance to your abode where you can remove your outer clothing and shoes and disinfect anything you are bringing inside, including yourself. This transition zone should be easily cleaned.

For our mental health we can follow the advice of Ray Davies of The Kinks, A change is as good as a rest. It is almost impossible to start home improvement projects without any supplies, but you can assess how you use the spaces. While you’re stuck inside, document your daily routine and consider how the activity can be enhanced. Does your reading chair need to be moved by the window for great natural light? Can you set up an eating space outdoors to enjoy the beautiful spring weather? Do you need to carve out a small space for some time alone for exercising, yoga or meditating? This may be more of a challenge in small spaces, but don’t underestimate the impact of minor adjustments.

Another way to freshen your space is to move your furniture and decorative items around. Redo your tabletops, bookcases, and – if you have one, mantel. Moving art brings a whole new appreciation of the work.

Finally, this is the perfect time to plan your home renovation. Spend some time on Houzz.com to create idea books to share with us. Our team is working from home and are available for a virtual consultation. If nothing else, visualizing a positive future can be a comfort in these tough days.

 


March 2020 Under Construction

St. Simons Island

We designed this St. Simons Island house around this fabulous Live Oak. The clients wanted the house to gently fit into the neighborhood unlike some of the recent new homes that over power the street.

The swimming pool is raised to be level with the first floor. This creates privacy from the road and maximizes the great view over the marsh.

The bookmatched stone fireplace is stunning.

Fripp Island

What a great view!


2030

2030 commitment

Jane is one of a number of architects interviewed for this article in Architectural Digest. She talks about AIA's role in combating climate change, such as the AIA 2030.

"Some firms have been grappling with these larger questions for years, while others have yet to take them into consideration at all. In 2006, the nonprofit group Architecture 2030 issued the 2030 Challenge, which seeks to make all new buildings, developments, and renovations carbon-neutral by 2030. The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 2030 Commitment brings together firms to work toward this challenge, evaluating each reporting signatory firm’s entire portfolio and collecting data on the progress being made. According to AIA President Jane Frederick, 252 out of 600 signatory firms reported data in 2018, and the reported projects had an overall predicted energy-use reduction equivalent to avoiding 17.7 million metric tons of CO2 emissions."

In our office, we are working on getting all of our energy data reported to the design data exchange for the 2030 commitment, we will blog about those results in the near future.

If you are an architect, is your firm a signatory? Are you reporting? If not, why not? Sign up here!

Read the article in Architectural Digest here:

https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/climate-change-design-architecture

Jane is currently at Carbon Positive '20 Conference and Expo. I am sure she will come back with inspiration and knowledge that will help us continue to improve in our goal to reduce the carbon footprint across our portfolio.


Inauguration Festivities

Jane was welcomed by 2019 AIA President Bill Bates at her inauguration as the 96th president of The American Institute of Architects. The entire family and office traveled to Washington, DC to celebrate. Jane gave a speech that Benjie recorded here. Afterwards everyone enjoyed dancing the night away. David Lauderdale with the Island Packet wrote a great article about Jane.


roof terrace

Long Cove Club Renovation

BIG changes at this Long Cove Club house on Hilton Head Island! Slide to see the before and after transformation.

 

The front exterior was refreshed by raising the existing porch roof, replacing the existing columns with new columns, all new windows, a new front door with sidelights, cable rail on the stair rail and new landscaping.

The new stair rail, by Sean Ahern of Ahern’s Anvil is so much more elegant than the existing. And who wants the HVAC return to be the first thing you see when entering the house? Not us- relocating it definitely elevates the space.

The kitchen is much brighter and more open than before, with a huge island and beautiful cabinetry.

The old pine media center just screamed 1990’s. Here the shelving and fireplace are updated for the 21st Century. Large lift and slide doors bring lots of light in and connect the interior living to the exterior.

This is where this family is going to be spending all their time! Hilton Head Living at its finest!

New outdoor living area with roll down insect screens, new brick fireplace, new roof terrace with insane views over the marshes of Broad Creek, accessed by a new spiral stair. The pool was redone, an outdoor shower added. Replacing the existing rail with cable rail really makes a huge difference!

The team and the clients are HAPPY! Thanks to Esposito Construction and to our FAB clients! What a fun project this was!

Sometimes people think that building a new house is the only way to achieve their dream home, but we are here to tell you, that sometimes a renovation is the way to go. It can be less expensive and more sustainable to rework an existing house. This Long Cove Club renovation is proof. Check out this major renovation on Fripp Island for another example of a transformative renovation.


Palmetto Bluff: On the Boards

Remember the Kessler House in Palmetto Bluff? The master plan has always included a third building, which provides a nice balance to the house. Construction is about to begin on the final phase of this project. This building houses an art studio, bicycle storage and a bedroom. Here are the preliminary drawings…

Palmetto Bluff elevation
3d drawing
floor plan palmetto bluff

Lowcountry creek

Renovation on St. Helena

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.

Existing First Floor Plan

New First Floor Plan

Existing Second Floor Plan

New Second Floor Plan

Site Plan


Pond at Auldbrass

Auldbrass

Auldbrass pool

We had the pleasure of attending the Beaufort County Open Land Trust’s biannual tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Auldbrass Plantation, in Yemassee, South Carolina. It was a real treat to see this property. It has been so lovingly cared for, both in restoration of the original construction and in fruition of many of Wright’s plans that were never realized by the original owner.

The property is Frank Lloyd Wright’s only “plantation,” which in this case means that it is a sprawling compound with multiple outbuildings, barns and pastures. All the buildings are unassuming from the exterior, designed to fit into the landscape of large live oaks and a cypress pond. In fact, the buildings are famously devoid of right angles, the exterior walls angled to mimic the monstrous oaks that surround them.

There are a number of other design elements that reflect the locale. The Auldbrass symbol which is cut out of the clerestories throughout the house is said to be representative of the Yemassee Indians in a boat. The copper downspouts are sculptural homages to the spanish moss that drips from the oaks all around. The plan of the main house is regionally appropriate, designed to lessen the heat gain in the hot, humid climate.

Wright’s signature Cherokee red is prevalent, from the gravel (which we were told is painted to match now!) to the custom cars that Wright commissioned.

See an older post about our visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Broad Margin” house in Greenville, South Carolina by following this link.