Residential architects who specialize in the hot, humid, southern climate

On the Boards - Dining Hall

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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.

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Spring Home Tours

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Across the south, spring is a popular time for tours of homes. With warmer weather and flowers blooming, it’s a lovely time to get out and explore your own or visit another town. Here in Beaufort, Historic Beaufort Foundation hosts its annual Architect’s Tour. The tour showcases contemporary homes in and around Beaufort designed by local architects. This year the tour will take place on Saturday, March 17.  We have the Reynolds' House on Cat Island on the tour. See more photographs of the project here.

Nearby, Savannah’s Tour of Homes & Gardens is from March 22-25. There is a different walking tour each of the four days, as well as a variety of special events and seminars. 

Historic Charleston Foundation Festival of Houses and Gardens begins March 15 and continues through April 21. There are a number of walking tours that feature different neighborhoods on the peninsula. In addition to the house and garden tours, the festival hosts a variety of lectures and musical performances. The Festival of Houses and Gardens coincides with the Charleston Antiques Show, March 16-18 and with the Garden Club of Charleston’s Springtime in Charleston House and Garden Tour from March 23 & 24.

2018 Prince George Plantation Tours are from March 23-24 and feature pre-revolutionary and antebellum churches, town homes and plantations in and near Georgetown. 

Historic Columbia offers year-round tours of several notable historic homes, including the Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion, Mann-Simons Site and the Woodrow Wilson Family Home.

If you are up for a weekend trip, Madison Georgia boasts one of the largest National Register Historic Districts in Georgia. The Madison in May Spring Tour of Homes and Gardens  is May 4-5, 2018.

On May 5, historic cottages and contemporary homes will open their doors during the Tybee Tour of Homes on Tybee Island, Georgia. 

Under Construction

Spring Island


Our latest project to begin construction is on Spring Island. I included drawings, since its hard to visualize the house at this point. It is going to be gorgeous!


Factory Creek


Fripp Island

 Remember before? Wow! 

Remember before? Wow! 

by Jane

Jane serving as Juror for Marvin Window's Architects Challenge

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Jane Frederick, FAIA is one of three jurors for the 10th Annual Marvin Windows Architect’s Challenge. The international competition awards winners in six categories, contemporary, transitional, traditional new construction, remodel or addition, commercial, and historic. The majority of the windows and doors in the submitted projects must be Marvin brand products.

The winners will be announced at the American Institute of Architect’s 2018 Conference in June in New York City. The two other judges are Matthew Kreilich, AIA of Snow Kreilich Architects in Minneapolis and Takashi Yanai, FAIA of Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects in Los Angeles.


What is the right size home for you?

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The Wall Street journal recently had an article on The Risks of Buying a Home that is Too Big. It elicited a big – DUH – in the comments because their reasons were the obvious ones… more expensive to build, heat, furnish, maintain, and higher property taxes. What they didn’t explore was how to determine what the right size home is for you, your family, location, and budget. There are five major factors to consider in choosing the right sized house.

1.       Who is going to live in the house most of the time? This is one of the key elements, a family of 5 will probably need more room that a family of 2 or 3. The larger family may need more bedrooms, a larger laundry room, and maybe a separate kid friendly space for playing. If the house is for a retired couple who are home most of the day, there might be a call for separate offices or hobby spaces. It is essential to spend time thinking about how the family will live in the house and what spaces are needed to enhance family harmony.

2.       How and how often do you entertain? Houseguests two or three times a month require a different amount of space than a houseguest once or twice a year. Large dinner parties require space for guests to both mingle and sit down to eat.

3.       How much stuff do you have? Unless you channel your inner Marie Kondō and get rid all of your possessions, most people have a fair amount of stuff. Categorize like items for storage and determine how they will be stored. We once included 500 square feet of storage just for the Christmas decorations for a client. The size of your furniture, area rugs and artwork will also determine the sizes of the spaces.

4.       What is your budget? If you need more spaces than comfortably fit within your budget, it is best to see if rooms can be multi-functional. A once a year guest room can easily double as an office the other 51 weeks of the year.

5.       What is the average size house in the neighborhood? We occasionally have clients who say “ I will move out of this house feet first and it is up to my heirs to worry about selling it.” That is the rare view; most homeowners do not want their house to be the biggest or most expensive in the neighborhood because of resale.

It is also important to realize that other than the working rooms of kitchens, baths and utility rooms, all other rooms are flexible in their function to fit your needs and lifestyle.

Custom Furniture Design

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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.

custom walnut headboard
iron & marble tables

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.

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.

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

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corrugated table

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

Best practices to mitigate stormwater runoff

 Here is an example of a rain garden that Thomas Angell, of Verdant Enterprises, designed for the Cole Residence.

Here is an example of a rain garden that Thomas Angell, of Verdant Enterprises, designed for the Cole Residence.

In David Lauderdale’s interview with Al Segars in last Sunday’s paper, Al said that we need to “go above and beyond. See that your homeowners’ association maintains it storm-water retention ponds so they function as promised.” You can read Lauderdale's article here.

Beaufort County has a storm-water runoff management ordinance for new single family houses in unincorporated areas of the county that are not in an approved community storm-water runoff system and single family houses that are renovated in excess of 50% of the appraised value of the building. The ordinance requires the mitigation of the storm-water within the property limits.

For the rest of us, we should all go above and beyond by reducing the amount of storm-water on our properties that needs to be mitigated. The easiest way to reduce runoff is by reducing the amount of impervious surfaces on the property. This includes: using gravel or pervious pavers for your drive; and limiting the amount of patios and terraces or paving them with pervious pavers.

The best management practice is to collect and store the rainwater for reuse or slow infiltration. There are two options for collecting rainwater; either a rain barrel or a cistern. Both are connected to your gutters and downspouts. A rainbarrel is used to collect water for use in your garden. Be sure that the rainbarrel has a cover so that it is not a mosquito nursery. A cistern is larger and is the storage tank portion in a complete rainwater harvesting system that filters and stores water for any normal household use. If the water is to be used for potable needs it must go through additional filtration and water purification.

Another option is a raingarden which is a shallow bowl shaped depression of loose absorbent soils that is planted with deep-rooted native perennials and grasses. The runoff slowly soaks into the ground and reduces the amount of runoff entering our marshes and rivers. The design of the rain garden should be incorporated with the entire garden design. According to Garden Design Magazine rain gardens can help reduce storm-water waste by up to 99 percent.

The county has a very easy to use on-line worksheet that calculates how much runoff needs to be mitigated.  To determine the total excess runoff to be mitigated you will need to know the following information before you begin: the square footage of your roof; the square footage of other impervious areas; the square footage of your lot; your soil type, sandy or clayey; and the area of your lot that is irrigated. You next enter the number and size of storage and reuse systems want to use. The worksheet then computes the natural infiltration capacity of the lot to control runoff. If the first two practices do not control all of the rainwater, the worksheet determines the size of a raingarden to capture all of the runoff.

Jane receives her ASID credentials

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In order to better serve our clients, Jane recently received her American Society of Interior Designers credentials. This is an advantage for our clients in multiple ways. 

As an architect, Jane brings a integrative approach to interior design. Sometimes architects focus on the "architecture" of the building without thinking about how you live in the spaces. She is always studying our designs for how usable and functional they are. How can the flow of the space enhance your life and how will the room be furnished because an unfurnishable space is wasted space. 

Providing interior design services in-house creates a seamless transition between the architecture and the furnishing of the home. As we design the house we are also designing the interiors.

As a design professional, we receive "to the trade" discounts which we pass on to our clients. 

Finally, whether the client needs help finding a few additional pieces of furniture, or everything from art to window treatments working with the same team from day one to moving day simplifies the process making life easier.

Trends and Timeless Design

Hilton Head Long cove house

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.

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Colors of the Year

 Photo provided by Sherwin Williams

Photo provided by Sherwin Williams

Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore Paints have both announced their Color of the Year for 2018. Earlier Pantone predicted that the new palettes for 2018 will be intense colors and this holds true for the two colors selected thus far. 

Sherwin Williams describes their color Oceanside “as a collision of rich blue with jewel-toned green, a color that is both accessible and elusive. A complex, deep color that offers a sense of the familiar with a hint of the unknown.  Blues are universally perceived as intelligent, honest and interesting - making blue the most beloved color worldwide.”

Ellen O’Neill, of Benjamin Moore said, “Caliente is the signature color of a modern architectural masterpiece; a lush carpet rolled out for a grand arrival; the assured backdrop for a book-lined library; a powerful first impression on a glossy front door. The eye can’t help but follow its bold strokes. Harness the vitality.”

 Photo supplied by Benjamin Moore

Photo supplied by Benjamin Moore

Before and After

It is not often that we have the opportunity to work on one house many times. We designed Shrimp Pond house in 2000 for a client from Chicago. He sold the house and in 2014 the new owners hired us to design the  Shrimp Pond studio found here.

Spring Island Shrimp Pond House

This year we re-did the front porch. We removed the gable wall on the porch, replaced the doors with wood and glass doors and added a new window in the gable. It looks so much better - it made us ask..What were we thinking when we designed the house initially? The original house is below.


We also redesigned the master bath last year, that project can be found here.