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.


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

On the Boards in September

This month our projects on the boards include two renovation projects and the house in Seattle that we have been working on for a while.

Addition and Renovation on Lady's Island

This project on the boards is a small house just down the street from our office. It is on the marshes of the inter-coastal waterway with great trees and a fantastic view. The existing house has a garage and storage on the ground floor which is in the flood plain. We are renovating the first floor and adding a second floor which will house the master bedroom suite and office.

Renovation on St. Helena's Island

The previous owner of this house watched too much HGTV - it is a DIY nightmare. My five year old granddaughter probably could do a better job than this one. Some projects were started and never finished and others looked like whatever material happened to by lying around was used. As you can see it is on a beautiful view. The interior is extremely dark and does not open up to the view.

A new house in Seattle

We have been working on this project for a few months - this is the latest iteration of it. We think it just keeps getting better and better!

Designing for an easier life

Did you know that good design can be better than a marriage counselor? How can that be? The common perception is that you might need a marriage counselor after a home building project. Architects are trained problem solvers and are committed to being collaborative partners with their clients to make the clients’ lives better.

When planning your project discuss irritants in your life with your architect. Do the children’s messy rooms drive you nuts? Do dinner guests in your cooking space make you want to run from the kitchen screaming? Does your spouse’s pile of clothes on the dresser make you crazy?  Solutions to these and other problems can be found through good design.

In the majority of our projects couples request separate sinks or vanities in the master bathroom to make life easier.  When different tolerations of neatness, cleanliness, or privacy are involved we often design separate closets and/or bathrooms in the master suite.

We had clients where the husband was a very early riser. The wife slept late and was a light sleeper. This was not a good combination; he regularly woke her during his early morning routine. We designed the master suite so the husband could enter the bathroom and exit through the closet into the hall.  With the installation of sound insulation around the bathroom, the problem was solved.

In a renovation project, moving one door in a kitchen solved the problem of guests hanging out in the cooking triangle.

Another client had an interesting dilemma. She loved her artist daughter-in-law but hated her art work. Her request was to design her house so there was not a wall in the public rooms where you could hang a painting! We created an open floor plan with curved walls and lots of glass. Fortunately, the house was on a great view so the huge window wall made sense.

When an elderly mother with dementia was moving in with her daughter’s family, we redesigned the now grown children’s bedrooms into a small apartment for her. We configured the bathroom and cabinetry like her previous home of 50 years. We also used the same color palette to increase the familiarity of the space.

When you move into an existing house you make the space work for your lifestyle. The unused dining room might become a home office or play room. In a custom designed home or renovation, the house is designed for your lifestyle. Think about how you want to live in your house and move through the day.  Communicate your desires with your architect; who is committed to solving your problems and enhancing the spaces where you live.

Drone footage

Check out the progress at the Bremermann Residence on Dataw! We are loving the drone footage. Seeing the construction site from above and the long views of our gorgeous environment is a treat!