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

Hurricane Matthew at Edisto Beach

Jane, Michael and Tom are sworn into the South Carolina Guard

We are trained in the Safety Assessment Program (SAP). On Tuesday and Wednesday we were called to Edisto Beach to work with the South Carolina State Guard to assist the Edisto Beach Building Department in determining if houses were safe to access and occupy. The major issue on Edisto Beach was the large storm surge that dumped over 4 feet of sand on Palmetto Boulevard, which parallels the ocean. The front beach houses had at least 4 feet of sand under them.

Mailbox in the sand.jpg

Edisto Beach is an eclectic mix of old beach houses and newer contemporary houses. The difference between the houses that were built to contemporary codes and those that were not was obvious. In one older house, the post supporting the first floor was swept away. We were surprised that the house had not already collapsed. If this house was built to current codes – it would have driven piles instead of posts on a shallow foundation. In newer houses built on piles, garage space can be enclosed under the house with break-away wall. The break-away walls did what they were designed to do – break away, even in a case where a HVAC platform was attached to the break-away wall.

Many of the older houses had grandfathered living spaces in the flood plain, which is not allowed now for a good reason. The water and sand filled the spaces creating a huge mess that currently is filled with sand and soon will be filled with mold and mildew.

The wave action that brought in the sand, scoured under the parking slabs in the old houses. This left many of the slabs suspended in the air and very dangerous, especially since it was not evident that they were suspended from the street side. The newer houses had break-away slabs which broke and were washed about, sometimes taking stairs with them. A better practice would to use gravel in the parking area under the house.

It was also interesting to see the species of trees that blew down. Almost every Cedar tree we saw had blown over. Water Oaks were next followed by Pines. The Live Oaks that were down were usually hit by another tree first.

We also saw some areas that were hit by isolated tornados which is almost impossible to design for damage prevention. After spending time on Edisto Beach, it is understandable why the first responders want to make sure the area is safe before the residents return.

Thermally Modified Decking

When we first proposed using thermally treated decking for a project in Long Cove Club, we were drawn to the beauty of the wood. After the heating process, ash is rendered a gorgeous brown that looks exotic and expensive. There are many other advantages to using this product besides the aesthetics.

The product is very durable, water resistant and environmentally friendly. The heating process removes the sap and resin in the wood, which prevents mold and bacteria growth. There are no toxic chemicals applied. After the thermal modification process, the moisture content of the timber is very low, which limits the moisture absorption. The boards won't warp, bend or swell, even without a protective coat. Thermally modified timber is a great choice for exterior applications, especially in the hot and humid South. 

On The Boards

We are all excited about this new project on the boards! The lot is on a bluff with an incredible view.

With the installation of solar panels, the sustainable design and the use of energy efficient materials, we are hoping this house can be net-zero!

The kitchen

The glass staircase is really cool!

Here's the view from the foyer, we are loving the mid-century modern feel!

Fall Tour of Homes

Around the South, home tours offer guests a chance to peek inside private residences and gardens. Cooler weather makes Fall the best time to take advantage of the opportunity to get an inside look at homes in Beaufort and throughout the South.

2016 Historic Beaufort Foundation Fall Festival of Houses and Gardens- October 28-30

This event is a great way to get to know Beaufort better. The weekend of tours start on Friday with a walking tour in the National Historic Landmark District. Saturday’s tour continues with different houses and gardens in the National Historic Landmark district. The Sunday Kitchen & Cuisine tour is always a favorite. Local chefs create regional specialties in private kitchens in new houses on Cat Island, Distant Island, and Lady’s Island.

Preservation Society of Charleston, The 40th Fall Tour of Homes, History and Architecture, October 6-30, Charleston

Founded in 1920, the Preservation Society of Charleston is the oldest community based historic preservation organization in America. They sponsor a variety of tours throughout Charleston, including “A Day on Cooper,” “Gardens of Historic Ansonborough,” “Broad Street Tour” and others.

South Carolina Historical Society 2016 Fall Tour: Beaufort October 30, 11:00-4:00pm

The South Carolina Historical Society was founded in 1855 with the mission to preserve our state’s rich historical legacy for future generations. Their fall tour moves around the state and this year tour covers Beaufort, Parris Island & St. Helena Island. The McKee- DeTreville- Smalls House, Fripp Plantation, Frogmore Plantation, historic buildings on Parris Island and Fort Fremont are all open.

38th Annual Symphony Tour of Homes October 7-9, Greenville, SC

This year’s tour is in the Green Valley area, which is close to Furman University and the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The houses that are open vary from the historic mansion “White Oaks” to a modern, energy efficient home.


In Georgia

Tour of Homes & Tea October 15, Savannah, GA

This annual event hosted by St. Vincent’s Academy benefits the preservation of the historic 1845 convent building which will be open on the tour. Six residences in Savannah’s historic district will showcase houses reflecting their original architectural style as well as contemporary living spaces. Enjoy an elegant Tea on the grounds of St. Vincent’s Academy.



The Georgia Trust Fall Ramble, From River to River: Georgia’s First City October 7-9, Savannah, Georgia

The Georgia Trust is headed to Savannah for three full days of tours. On Friday you can explore Savannah’s earliest street car suburbs of Midtown and Ardsley Park. Downtown Savannah is the focus of Saturday’s tours with an array of private homes and some of Savannah College of Art and Design buildings. A highlight is the Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farm.  Dinner Saturday night is at the historic Lebanon Plantation. The Moon River district 20 minutes from downtown is the destination for Sunday’s tour.


Around The South

AIA Triangle Tour of Residential Architecture, October 8

This is a self-guided tour of award-winning, architect-designed homes in the North Carolina Triangle region hosted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The houses include new contemporary buildings, as well as renovations of historic buildings. The architects will be at each house to answer questions.


Natchez Fall Pilgrimage, Natchez, MS, September 23- October 10,

Head a little deeper down South to the charming town of Natchez, Mississippi and tour eighteen antebellum mansions during the day with additional evening events including Gospel music performance and seated dinners. Be sure to visit the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture while you are there.

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.


On The Boards

This is a sweet compound on a high bluff on Battery Creek.

Here is the water side, with plenty of windows to enjoy the view.

Here is an interior perspective of the great room.

by Jane

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.

by Jane

Before and After

We've been enjoying sharing some before and after photos of renovation projects. The transformations in functionality and style of the spaces we renovate can be major! 

This 1950's ranch house was totally dated and uninspired, but the lot that it sits on has gorgeous views of the Beaufort River. Rather than tear down the original structure, we were able to re-purpose the existing building, saving time, money and resources. The finished product....


We will continue to post before and after photos of current and past projects. Check back with us soon!

Outdoor Kitchens

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor cooking whether it is steaming a pot of crabs or grilling burgers on the 4th of July. Outdoor kitchens range from full kitchens with grills, fryers, smokers, pizza ovens, refrigerators, sinks, and dishwashers to a charcoal grill on the edge of the patio. When planning your outdoor cooking area, begin by determining what will be the end use of the space. Is one person going to go outside to flip the burgers or will you entertain while cooking and eating outside? This will help you decide the size and location of your outdoor kitchen.

The design of a full service outdoor kitchen should follow the same rules as outlined by the National Kitchen and Bath Association for an indoor kitchen. The basic layout is a work triangle measured from the center of the sink, refrigerator, and grill.  Each leg of the triangle should be between four and nine feet and the sum of the legs should not exceed twenty-six feet.  There should be no obstructions in the triangle or through traffic.  Counters should be a minimum of 42” apart for one cook and 48” for two cooks. Kitchens designed for multiple cooks should consider two sinks and therefore two work triangles.

The outdoor rooms should complement the design of the house and create distinctive areas for cooking, eating, and sitting. To extend the use of the space install a roof that both shades the area and blocks the rain. By controlling the temperature with ceiling fans for warm weather and a fireplace or heaters for cool weather, the room is usable almost the entire year. Outdoor fireplaces are a great way anchor the space. Full service outdoor kitchens can be further away from the main house because the prep work can be done outside rather than inside.

The details are critical for longevity, maintenance, and ease of use. For countertops avoid highly porous materials such as limestone or marble. Instead, use cultured granite with UV stabilizers or stainless steel. Select appliances that are designed for outdoor use. Install an outdoor range hood if the grill, smoker, and/or fryer is under a roof. Lighting is critical and should include both task lighting for cooking and cleaning and general lighting for entertaining. Finally, don’t forget to add music to the mix to add some life to the party.

A modest grilling area can be very functional when it is close to the kitchen where all the prep work will happen. A grill, small staging area, and a task light are the essential components to cook up a great dinner.

On the Boards

Lost Rabbit Residence

This project is located in Lost Rabbit, Mississippi. The plan has lots of spaces to enjoy the outdoors; porches, an outdoor living room, courtyard and a zen garden.

 Courtyard design

Courtyard design


Battery Creek Garage and Guest House

This is a phased project with a garage and guest house being built first. Later, the main house will be built when the client moves to Beaufort on a full-time basis.

Under Construction

Quite a lot of progress has been made since our last "Under Construction" post. 

Palmetto Bluff Residence

 Gorgeous view from the screen porch

Gorgeous view from the screen porch

Berkeley Hall Residence

 Cedar shingles were individually stained and pinned up to dry

Cedar shingles were individually stained and pinned up to dry

 Cedar shingle siding going up!

Cedar shingle siding going up!

Dataw Island Residence

 Custom windows follow the slope of the roof.

Custom windows follow the slope of the roof.

Before and After in Colleton River Plantation



 After, in progress. We will show you the complete transformation when construction is finished.

After, in progress. We will show you the complete transformation when construction is finished.

Long Cove club residence

 Cypress coffered ceilings downstairs bring warmth and vibrancy to the rooms.

Cypress coffered ceilings downstairs bring warmth and vibrancy to the rooms.

Lady's Island Residence

 Front elevation

Front elevation

 Rear elevation, with the greenhouse

Rear elevation, with the greenhouse