February Construction Update

It’s February in the Lowcountry, which means it can be 37 degrees or 73 degrees, like today! We are loving watching our projects being built. First up is the Cane Island house, which is going to be amazing! This week, they are working on the interior stairs and they just finished sanding the wood floors. Here’s a couple photos:

The Brays Island renovation is 99% done, and wow, looks great!  Next time we will share professional photography of this stunning house, as well as the before pictures.

We have two of our Camellia plan houses being built in Beaufort right now! Its fun to see them side-by side

The first is in Islands of Beaufort:

The other Camellia is in the Grays Hill area of Northern Beaufort County, on the Marshes of McCalley Creek

These three projects are just getting started. A new house on Brays Island, the great porch on St. Helena Island and a renovation project in Rose Hill.


Porches

Every evening, Michael and I enjoy sitting out on the porch, while watching the sunset and listening to the tree frogs serenade us. With fall’s cooler weather we are reaching peak porch season. There are many factors to consider to create the best experience for outdoor living.

The best location for a porch is the south façade. This protects the interior from the hot summer sun and provides a cozy spot for winter days. Likewise, do not put porches on the north, unless it is a small covered entrance for a door.  Large porches on the north side of the house tend to be dark, dank and uninviting.

Most porches need to accommodate both an eating area and a comfy sitting area. Ten feet deep is a good starting point for the porch. Fourteen to sixteen feet is more gracious. Allow for at least three feet around all sides of a dining table to give maneuvering room for chairs.

Unless you are ocean front with a constant breeze, most people want to have a screened porch. Retractable screen are extremely popular because they can be rolled up when not in use and not block the view. Fenetex offers a dual insect and hurricane screen for the ultimate protection. Ceiling fans will help beat the heat and keep the bugs at bay. The ceiling fan should be U.L. rated for Wet Locations for safety and longevity of the fan.

Here in the lowcountry, many porches are raised to be out of the flood plain. If the house does not need raising, porches that are 30” or less from the adjacent grade, deck or terrace do not need a railing. This is ideal because the view remains open.

Adding an exterior fireplace to the porch to extends porch season to a year-round activity.

Finally, outfit the porch for leisurely visiting and entertaining with lowcountry favorites such as swinging day beds, joggling boards and Pawley island hammocks.

 


On the Boards in July

Brays Island

Here’s a house on Brays Island that we designed years ago. The new owners are adding on to the main house and also building a new guest house.

Brays Island Addition

Palmetto Bluff House

This house is on a beautiful, wooded lot in Palmetto Bluff. The guest house is already built, we designed the main house and garage to complement the existing building and to take advantage of the marsh views over the May River.

Fripp Island

A fun renovation project on Fripp Island, perfect for family vacations, all year long!

Lady’s Island

This project is an outdoor living improvement. We have gotten lots of calls lately about improving outdoor living spaces. Adding pools, decks, porches, fireplaces/ firepits, outdoor seating, kitchen and dining is super popular right now!


Improve your home

2021 Kitchen and Bath Trends

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the online home design platform Houzz, recently released independent reports on design trends for kitchens and bathrooms. The AIA’s research is gathered from a panel of 500 AIA architects who specialized in residential design. Houzz’s research is from their community of homeowners who have recently completed a renovation project.

Unsurprisingly, with more people staying at home due to the pandemic, there are new trends reflecting how we are adapting. Due to the desire the carve our personal space the request for an open concept floor plan by opening the kitchen up to other living spaces decreased significantly; the AIA reported an eleven percent decrease and Houzz a ten percent decrease.

As people limited their trips to the grocery store, pantries increased in size. The AIA and Houzz reported growth of 10% and 13% respectively. The AIA reported that pantries are not only bigger but they are now a work hub with an additional dishwasher, refrigerator and other small appliances. Pictured above is what our clients call their “Costco Room” in their under construction house- plenty of space for all the toilet paper.

Bluffton screen porch

Opening the kitchen to an outdoor living space continued to grow in popularity with outdoor kitchens the leading trend reported by the AIA.

According to the Houzz survey for style trends, the most popular style for kitchens is transitional, with modern and contemporary styles in a close second. Farmhouse style peaked in 2019 and continues to decline popularity.

The AIA found that the top three trends in bathroom design include larger curb-less showers, universal design for aging in place, and shower stalls without a separate tub in the bathroom. Houzz reported that only 10% of renovators include a separate bathtub.

Houzz renovators cited an old and outdated space as their primary reason for the project. Therefore 89% of the homeowners change the style of the bathroom. The desire for clean lines resulted in modern as the number one style for bathroom remodels with contemporary in a close second. Traditional and farmhouse are not as desirable.

Whole house remodels and additions grew by 27% in 2020 and kitchen and bath remodeling projects grew by 20% according to the AIA. Due to this increase, firm project backlogs are currently five to six months.

master bath

Though not cited in the research by Houzz or AIA, outdoor showers are very popular among our clients. I imagine this is a geographic trend, and that an outdoor shower is not requested often in a cold or snowy location. Here in the Lowcountry, the climate and the proximity to the beach make this trend popular and practical.


March Construction

Cane Island

The house on Cane Island is looking great. The house is dried in and work continues on exterior trim, roof installation and rough ins for HVAC and plumbing.

Brays Island Renovation

St Helena Island Dogtrot Cottage

The owners have moved in to this lovely little house. The dogtrot is outdoor living space which separates the kitchen/living areas from the bedroom.

Fripp Island

This Fripp Island House is very nearly complete, which just punch list items remaining, as well as landscaping. Until the plants are installed, the frog will have to hang on the deck. 😉

Many of the projects that we have shown recently in our under construction posts are nearing completion, but not to worry; We have exciting projects on the boards and beginning construction!


Early Spring on the boards

Fripp Island

As we finish up one beachfront house on Fripp Island, we begin another. This house will have the public areas (kitchen, great room, outdoor dining) and primary bedroom on the second floor and the guest bedrooms on the first floor. The views over the beach and ocean are spectacular from the upper floor, so we may as well flip the house in order to have the best view from the areas where the family will spend the most time.

Harbor Island

Here’s another “upside down” house. This one is on Harbor Island and has views of both the ocean and of St. Helena Sound. This is a relatively small house that makes efficient use of space. The T shaped plan allows for great views from every room, ample outdoor living areas, and refreshing cross ventilation when the weather’s good for open windows.

Brays Island Cabin

The latest drawings from our cabin on Brays Island. When Brays Island was developed, the lots were divided so that they are all one-acre circular lots, resulting in privacy and screening from neighboring houses for its residents.

Brays Island Addition

Here’s another project at Brays Island. We designed this house about 20 years ago and new owner has some modifications to make. One the main house, they are building a small addition to house their book collection. They are also building a two story guest house.


Colleton River preliminary design

We presented the preliminary design to a client building in Colleton River Club, in Bluffton, SC. They have a gorgeous view of the Colleton River, as well as many beautiful Live Oak trees.

The goal of the design is to preserve all the Live Oaks and maximize the view. Here are the drawings:


November Construction

Phase 3 of the Kessler Residence

The Art Studio/ Guest House is pretty much finished. We enjoy working with Esposito Construction and appreciate the quality of construction they deliver. See the rest of this project here.

Brays Island Renovation

Currently, they are working on painting, carpentry, hvac and roofing. The project is about 70% complete.

Fripp Island

The house is getting very close to completion. I just love how the morning light fills the room and makes the walnut media center look so pretty.


December Construction Update

December Construction Progress

Fripp Island

The beach front house on Fripp Island is going up! Second floor walls and ceiling are being framed and the sheathing is being installed. Remember when this house was on the boards (click link to see the preliminary design)? We made some changes from that original design, which is very typical of how we work; always morphing the design to fit the clients needs, wants, and budget.

 

St. Simons Island

The house on St. Simons Island is getting pretty close to completion and is looking fantastic! Benjie visits the site once a month, since it is farther from our office than most of our projects that we visit weekly. The fireplace photo is from last month, there has been more progress, but the photo from last month was better. How gorgeous is that bookmatched quartzite stone??

 

St. Helena Island Renovation

A major renovation is under way on St. Helena's Island, see this project on the boards here.

Got to love a good dog on the job site!

 

 


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!