Contemporary St Helena Island House

We are pretty excited about the preliminary design of our latest house. Think lots of glass- looking onto spectacular creek view, gracious living spaces, both inside and out, the roofs are flat and either loaded up with solar panels or vegetation. It is fun to design for these clients who requested an “ultra-modern” house. The house is raised up to get it out of the flood plain, which also capitalizes on prevailing breezes.


OTB Frogmore

Our latest project on the boards is for a young, active family moving to Frogmore, SC. The piazza, screen porch and courtyard double the living space. The kids all have a fun loft space above their bedrooms; perfect as a reading/study nook or a hide-and-seek spot.


On the Boards

The latest new house on the boards is on deep water on the Coosaw River. The clients wanted a “Mediterranean Ranch.” Here’s what we’ve come up with

 


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.


master bathroom

Master Bath renovation

Before & After

Here is a master bath renovation that we completed a couple of years ago in the Shrimp Pond house. The Shrimp Pond house is at Spring Island, South Carolina. We designed the house in the 90's, then new owners hired us for the Shrimp Pond Studio addition and for a remodel of the master bath.

See the side-by-side comparisons in this master bath renovation:

Shower:

The addition of the round window in the shower and the new tile make it so much brighter and prettier.

Vanity:

master bath floating vanity

The floating vanity gives the space a contemporary feel. It's a cleaner aesthetic, and easier to clean too!

Tub:

free standing tub

The tub area is updated by swapping the drop in tub for a free standing tub, new tile and losing that dated brick accent wall.


What is the right size home for you?

 

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.