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

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.

Frederick + Frederick Architects Awarded American Institute of Architect South Carolina 2017 Firm Award


The AIA South Carolina Board of Directors awarded Frederick + Frederick Architects with the 2017 Firm Award at their annual awards banquet on April 21, 2017. The Firm Award is the highest honor that the American Institute of Architects South Carolina Chapter can bestow upon a South Carolina architectural firm. The award is given in recognition of design excellence and contribution to the profession of architecture that has made a lasting influence on the practice of architecture in South Carolina.

Kate Schwennsen, Director + Professor, Clemson School of Architecture, wrote in her nomination letter, “Frederick + Frederick is unquestionably a Small Firm with Big Impact, and a firm that many other firms look to for exemplary practice. The design excellence of their body of work has been widely recognized … But perhaps what is most uniquely important about Frederick + Frederick, the raison d’etre of their success, and the thing from which other firms could learn the most, is their innovative and supportive firm culture. They are a family-owned business that sincerely treats their employees like family. Jane and Michael moved to Beaufort to enjoy the lifestyle there … [and] so they do.”

Principal Jane Frederick said that they are humbled and thrilled to be recognized by their peers. “We would not be where we are today without all the fantastic clients who have made our work possible.” The Firm Award was first conferred in 1993 and Frederick + Frederick Architects is the tenth firm to receive the recognition in the awards 24-year history. Frederick + Frederick is honored and delighted to be the 2017 AIA South Carolina Firm Award Recipient.

Frederick + Frederick Architects specialize in custom homes for hot, humid climates. The Beaufort, South Carolina, firm was established in 1989 by the husband and wife team of Jane and Michael Frederick.

"Suited to a T"

T House featured in Residential Design Magazine!

The new national magazine, Residential Design, chose to publish our T-House in their second-ever issue! We couldn't be more pleased with the article, which so accurately captures the essence of our town and our firm. This project was great fun and our enjoyment of the design and process is reflected in the final product.

Editor Claire Conroy wrote, “Although much new building in the area evokes the “Lowcountry” look without a thoughtful understanding of its practical aspects and pleasing proportions, several local firms are mining these antecedents in fresh, appealing ways. Frederick + Frederick is one of the best examples. Jane and Michael have a deep knowledge of the climate, sensibilities, and sensitivities of the place they call home and headquarters for the firm. They understand the traditions of the Lowcountry, and the subtle ways to honor and elevate them at the same time.”

The issue focuses on small houses. Conroy commented “A small house is like a poem. Each design choice must fit the rhythm perfectly. It’s often as much about editing out what’s not essential as it is about choosing what to include.”

Check out the article from Residential Design here

View more photographs of the T-House on our portfolio page, here.

See this project from beginning to end in our video "The Architectural Process."

Under Construction

Factory Creek Bluff House

Construction has been underway at the Factory Creek house for a few months. The slabs are complete and construction of the piers has begun.

 Native grasses have been planted on the bluff, so by the time the owners move in, they will have had time to mature.

Native grasses have been planted on the bluff, so by the time the owners move in, they will have had time to mature.

Palmetto Bluff House

The Palmetto Bluff and Berkeley Hall houses are both nearing completion. 

 The kitchen is coming together! I love these copper pyramid pendants from Lowcountry Originals.

The kitchen is coming together! I love these copper pyramid pendants from Lowcountry Originals.

 Front door, with Old Savannah Grey brick foyer

Front door, with Old Savannah Grey brick foyer

 The walnut and iron stair rail looks great!

The walnut and iron stair rail looks great!

Berkeley Hall House

 Stained cedar shingles, coral stone tiles and the wide walnut door unit create a dramatic entrance for the Berkeley Hall House. 

Stained cedar shingles, coral stone tiles and the wide walnut door unit create a dramatic entrance for the Berkeley Hall House. 

 The owners will be able to take full advantage of our beautiful lowcountry climate with a house that flows seamlessly from indoors to out. 

The owners will be able to take full advantage of our beautiful lowcountry climate with a house that flows seamlessly from indoors to out. 

 Gorgeous tile in the master bath!

Gorgeous tile in the master bath!

 This sketch shows how the master bath will look with the tub and light fixture installed. 

This sketch shows how the master bath will look with the tub and light fixture installed. 

by Jane

Do I stay or do I go?

Whether to renovate, rebuild or move in Beaufort County, South Carolina

The skills and expertise of your architect can help you in your decision to renovate, rebuilt or move. There are some great properties in Beaufort County with houses that are way past their prime and require such decisions. These houses often include; dated kitchens, small non-functional bathrooms with ugly tile, mean little windows overlooking a great view and rooms built below FEMA’s base flood elevation. Maybe you own one of these properties or are considering buying one for the view. Homeowners of older properties often come to the point where they have three options:

1. Renovate and/or add an addition to the existing house (and this might include raising the house),

2. Tear the existing house down and build a new house on the same property, or

3. Move.

     To help you decide whether you should stay or go, consider the following:

  •      Do you love the location?
  •      Do you have a great view?
  •      Is the house built above FEMAs base flood elevation requirements? If it is below you are  limited to spending 50% of the value of the house on the renovation or the          house has to be raised.
  •      Is the house built behind the current OCRM coastal or municipality river buffer setbacks? If your house is in the setback, you are not allowed to add any additional          square footage in the setback but you can keep what is there, which might be an advantage.
  •      Will current zoning laws allow you to add onto your house?
  •      Will you over-build for the neighborhood?

A few years ago, we had clients who owned a beach front house in Port Royal Plantation.  The property was in foreclosure when they purchased it at a great price, but it needed a lot of work. The question was should they tear the house down and build new or renovate the existing?

We listened to what they like about the house: besides the great location, they liked the feel of the spaces, the flow of the rooms and the relationship of the rooms to the ocean. Two other positive conditions were the first floor was above the required base flood elevation and the zoning allowed us to add the needed square footage. It was apparent that renovating the existing house and adding a small amount of square footage was the right approach. The project turned out beautifully.

Tearing down a house and starting over is a big step. The cost analysis of what is salvageable compared to the desired result is a good place to begin. Sometimes it is not obvious what the best path is at the beginning of a project or the conditions might change. For example, current Port Royal Plantation clients’ initial project was redesigning the windows in the great room. While documenting the existing conditions we discovered some structural beams in failure. In consultation with our clients and structural engineer we decided to reinforce the foundation.

Then Hurricane Matthew hit. There was water damage throughout the house; and the roof and foundation were compromised. After considering the amount of work to repair and renovate compared to starting over, our clients decided to build new. A big advantage in this project is the new house is placed to enhance the views of the Sound.


On the Boards

We are excited to have a multi-family project on the boards! The community will be affordable housing with an emphasis on energy efficiency. Here are some drawings of the preliminary design. The three apartment buildings are dogtrots, with a outdoor passage through which provide ventilation and an outdoor living space. The remainder of the buildings are single family cottages with either one or two bedrooms, which center around a common space with a Chapel and a Pavilion.

Solar panels on every south-facing roof!

Why Now is the Best Time to Build Your Hurricane Resistant South Carolina Home

Even as our ability to design and build houses that withstand hurricanes has gone up, construction costs haven’t kept pace. If you are thinking of building a home in South Carolina at some time in the near future, this may just be the perfect storm.

There is a perception that everything is cheaper in South Carolina but we’ve seen that is not the case. This is especially true when it comes to building a quality home that can endure hurricanes and earthquakes, yet provide decades of enjoyment as well.

True, our gas taxes are cheaper and our property taxes are cheaper. Construction costs are higher than newcomers expect them to be.

Building in a Hurricane Zone Poses Special Challenges


Many people relocating from other parts of the country do not consider the additional cost of building in both a hurricane zone and an earthquake zone and what this means in terms of design and construction materials.

The requirements to mitigate both of these hazards add additional strength and durability to the building … and additional costs. Some of the necessities:

  • Building the first floor above FEMA’s base flood elevation, which adds to the foundation cost.
  • Structural Engineering fees in order to design code-compliant structural systems.
  • Connecting the roof through the walls to the foundation and footing with threaded rods, go-bolts, hurricane clips or other code approved methods. This adds to both the material and labor costs.
  • The shear walls required for lateral stability are more expensive than sheathing options available in other parts of the country.
  • Window and door openings must be protected from windblown debris. Impact rated windows and doors can cost up to twice as much as non-impact openings.
  • Our designs usually have big window walls, which require steel frames to meet the wind loads (and the views are worth it!)

Design & Construction Ensure House & Budget Weather Storms

We recommend and use several best practice options that will cost more initially but will save money on your home insurance or your utility bill.

  • A secondary roof under a metal roof ensures water tightness if the roof is compromised during high winds.
  • A U.L. certified lightning protection system will add $7,000 to $10,000 to a 2500 s.f. house but will protect your home and electronics from lightning strikes during our many lightning storms.
  • Spray foam insulation, more expensive than fiberglass insulation but a far superior product. It stops air and moisture infiltration, will not sag, keeps dust and pollen out and reduces capacity requirements, maintenance and wear of heating and air conditioning equipment.

A Secret We Want to Share with You About South Carolina Construction Costs

There’s one more cost consideration that you will want to be aware of because it can save you money.

Our firm’s historical data of residential construction costs show that the current average new home construction cost is about the same as the few years before the great recession.

Now is a good time to build, before construction costs rise again.

On the Boards

Factory Creek House

Here's a new house on the boards that overlooks Factory Creek. The owners wanted  traditional lowcountry style, but we went with a more contemporary feel in the rear with a lot of glass to take advantage of the incredible view. 

Hilton Head House

These clients originally hired us to help with a window replacement. Unfortunately, Hurricane Matthew cause significant damage to their existing house and they have decided to tear it down. Here's the design for their new house.

Tile trends, 2017

The latest trends in tile, from two local tile purveyors, Tammy Nold at Tileology and Will Dukes at Creative Interiors.

What were the most popular tile trends in 2016?

Tammy: Any type of subway tile is still hot hot hot. I do notice more people wanting to get a larger size to have less grout though, and more of an undulated finish versus the basic smooth surface. 
Will: Wood looks and porcelain tiles featuring natural earth colors (and grey, grey, grey) continue to be popular, a trend I see continuing for the foreseeable future.  Wood look tiles are now available in a wide variety of sizes, allowing for interesting patterns including herringbone installations.  The porcelain printing techniques employed by the mills have also continued to improve and many of the new reclaimed/distressed wood look tiles are so realistic that they rival the look of real wood.  For those wanting a little more pop, the sea greens and cobalt blue glass and porcelain tiles/mosaics can really add a coastal vibe to a Lowcountry interior.

Which do you think will continue in 2017? 

Tammy: Only because of our location I’m sure the subway will continue.  Porcelain brick tile floors and back-splashes is also gaining momentum.     
Will: We really see more wood looks continuing to expand across the industry in 2017 and beyond.  Not only are we seeing more variety in the available sizes, colors, and textures of wood look tiles, but customers are becoming bolder in their use and placement of these tiles.

Is there anything new on the horizon for 2017? 

Tammy: Tile manufacturers keep coming up with porcelain marble look-a-like tiles, and all kinds of funky shapes; i.e. elongated hexagons.  
Will: We anticipate more wood look tile installations on walls and showers as customers seek to create a more natural and soothing “woodsy” feeling in their baths.  We are also seeing a lot of hot new brick look porcelain tiles that will allow for the retro look of a brick floor without the headaches and costs associated with the installation and maintenance of real brick.  Finally, we are seeing more 3D tiles with lots of folds, wavy ridges, and profiles that literally jump off of the walls.  These textured tiles can make a great statement wall in a shower or really make a great first impression on a prominent wall in the foyer.

What trends do you think will or should retire in the upcoming year? 

Tammy: Elongated glass and stone lineal mosaics for back-splashes and borders in showers….SOOO over that.
Will: We continue to see the evolution in the style from old world chiselled edge product to tiles with much cleaner finishes.  There is a decrease in decorative bands or borders in showers as clients seem to more and more go for a bold statement with a decorative glass or mosaic feature wall in their shower.

Fripp Island Renovation

Our clients needed major renovations at their Fripp Island home, but because their house is below flood elevation, the scope of work is limited to less than 50% of the value of the house (read more about the 50% rule on our blog, here) So, up it goes! Wolfe house movers raised the house so it is safely above flood elevation and ready for renovations.

Check out the video, shot and edited by Benjie Morrillo.

Below are our drawings of the house, post-renovation. We will keep you posted as this project progresses!