A new table for our studio!

It was time to upgrade the table in our studio. The table that sat in the center of our space was outdated, very wobbly and had a broken glass top. So naturally, we designed and built a table that is perfect for us!

Michael designed the table, with input from the team. It is simple and clean, made from steel tube legs and with a steel plate top. We decided on standing height, since we never sat at our old table.

Now for the fun part! Tom took the lead on welding the table, which may not have been the fun part for him in 90 degree weather.

We all took turns with the grinder. Benjie shot some pretty impressive videos full of flying sparks!

After the base was welded and the table had rusted to our liking, we brought the pieces into the studio to assemble. The table is too big to fit through the door, so it will remain in the office for the foreseeable future.

It took us about a month of  our "Friday Fun" time to complete the table (we always knock off from work at 4:00 on Fridays to have a little fun together). We are very happy with the result!


Exterior Rendering

An exterior rendering is an excellent tool when selecting colors and materials for your home. To decide the window color for our project on St Simon's Island, Benjie prepared three options to show the clients. By using a combination of our Revit model, photographs and stock photos of plants and materials, Benjie can create a realistic image of the house. The live oaks in this rendering are from photographs of the site!


On the Boards - Dining Hall

Our clients love to host large dinner parties at their historic lowcountry plantation. A tent erected on the lawn worked well until this winter when it was just too cold! The cold winter inspired them to build a dining hall that will seat thirty. The cozy interior is all antique heart pine. We will break ground soon to be ready for next winter’s cold weather.


On the Boards - Beach Front

We just presented this beach front house to the clients and they love it! This is the ocean side with multiple terraces and porches. The top deck will have endless views - probably almost to England!


Custom Furniture Design

Did you know that we design custom furniture? We designed this walnut headboard that is book-matched with curly maple insets. It was made by Michael Sanders with Sanders' Woodworks  Below is a close up of the headboard.

We designed this pair of matching foyer tables with scrap slabs of marble.

Sometimes you need a skinny table that is just the right size. This is a steel table we designed that Pender Brothers made for us.

Likewise, a really big table to feed a crowd outdoors is pretty nice, too. Pender Brothers made the base for this granite top table.

This funky corrugated metal coffee table is perfect in a corrugated metal Quonset hut.


Save the trees

Trends and Timeless Design

I recently was at the High Point furniture market and starting chatting with a woman at the shuttle stop. She told me that she is a trend spotter. I asked her what the new trends are. She was very coy and said that she could not tell me. But she said that gray is passé and subway tiles are horribly out of fashion. She expounded by saying that anything that you see a lot of - is already old news.

Maybe being a trend setter is not desirable. A friend of mine is friends with a New York-based trend setter. He describes her as looking completely strange and out of place, because she is wearing a look before anyone else. Think about the first people who wore ripped jeans as a style and we all thought they needed to throw out that pair of worn out jeans.

Hopefully, this isn’t spreading “old news” but I did spot some trends at the High Point market. First was the color blue. It was everywhere and in every shade. Sherwin Williams has announced their 2018 color of the year as “Oceanside,” which they describe as a collision of rich blue with jewel toned green.  The other popular color was a pale pink. Organic shapes and patterns were on everything. Texture was popular on furniture and fabrics. Bright brass hardware is back and furniture pulls are big and flashy.

One of the most innovative products I saw was Crypton fabric. This performance fabric is indestructible, yet looks and feels great. I saw a demonstration where the sales rep poured red wine on a piece of white Crypton fabric and it wiped right off. Residential textile brands that offer Crypton frabics are Thibaut, Kravet and Robert Allen Duralee Group.

I agree with Caroline Herrera who said, “I don’t like trends. They tend to make everyone look the same.” The opposite of trendy is timeless. My discussion with my shuttle companion turned to timeless design. She said that when a house is integrated with the landscape it becomes timeless because it belongs to it’s place. I agreed especially since site specific designs are what we do.

This project in Long Cove on Hilton Head Island was built on the last waterfront lot. It was full of beautiful live oaks and most people thought it was unbuildable because of the trees. We nestled the house among the trees and all the neighbors were amazed that we didn’t remove a single tree from the lot. You can see more photos here.


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.


On the Boards

We have a new project on the boards. This property has some great live oak trees. We positioned the house to focus on the trees and on a long view down the pond. 


Zillow Digs Design Competition

We are the National winners of the Zillow Digs Design Competition for the bedroom category! Our design of this tranquil bedroom in Hilton Head was voted the best by Zillow Digs users throughout the country. Thanks for everyone who voted for us!


Sketches, 3-D Models and the Real Thing

Helping our clients understand the design of their house is essential for a successful project. Our first presentations to our clients are watercolor sketches to show the preliminary design. These sketches convey the design, yet are still easy to revise.  As we progress in the project we begin building the project in the computer.  With sophisticated software, called Building Information Modeling (BIM), we virtually build the project long before construction begins. This also allows advanced coordination and integration of all the systems and scheduling components. Many clients have difficulty visualizing the house. Because of this, the use of digital modeling is very useful.  Here are some project under construction showing the initial sketch, the computer model and the same view of the real house.