For the first time ever, we traveled to Hilton Head Island to celebrate Thanksgiving at the residence of one of my brothers. While in Beaufort County, I took a bit of time to visit the property belonging to an old classmate and potential clients. I found it to be a quality property with great potential, and was particularly taken with the live oaks at the margin between the march and high ground. Beautiful specimens, quintessential Lowcountry. Trees like this are especially nice around which to craft a design.
One of the great pleasures of practicing architecture for me is making site visits to check on work that we’ve designed. When you can do this on a mild December lowcountry morning, in a building with a fantastic view of an lonesome beach, it is especially nice. Even if it makes you want to go fishing.
A small but gratifying project that we’re working on is the complete renovation of a two bedroom condominium in the principal building at Windswept Villas on the Kiawah Island beach. A talented builder in Jay Sifly along with a great client who understands the importance of design and quality make a renovation like this pretty nice to work on. When we have completed, we’ll have finished what we expect to be the finest and most comfortable residence in the building. And you can’t beat the view.
We were fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the Martha’s Vineyard summer house belonging to some recent clients, with whom I’d worked on Sullivan’s Island, SC. We had a utterly relaxing time staying in the boathouse on the beach. So relaxing that Michelle even enjoyed a couple of afternoon naps.
One afternoon when Michelle and Samuel were asleep I took a couple of beers out to the beach, grabbed a beach chair, and sat on the dock to make a sketch. I was sitting in this perfect weather with my back to Edgartown Harbor and its lighthouse. I left it with our hosts as a thank you gift, but was able to borrow it briefly to document it.
It is a beautiful property that has been in the hands of our clients since the 1860′s. They have a couple of tax bills framed on the wall in the amount of $2.00. The construction of the main house and boathouse, one of the first substantial summer residences built on Chappaquiddick, dates to 1920. Photos in scrap books document the construction of the house, a pre-fabricated residence originating in Kansas and brought over on a barge from the mainland. It may have been a Sears house, but they are not quite sure. It made sense for the house to come from Kansas as this was the home state of Senator Charles Curtis, the first Senate floor leader and our client’s great grandfather.
Senator Curtis’s photo is on the wall in the living room of the main house, along with his friends Woodrow Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt and others. Also on the wall: a photo of Susan B. Anthony, our client’s great aunt. No kidding.
We were thrilled to have the chance to spend a week on Chappaquiddick, and I’m glad to have this sketch to capture what it felt like to be there.
We’re working with a progressive couple from Washington DC on the renovation of their Kiawah Island cottage, and are excited about the way that things are developing. We are using the Home Energy Group as the LEED consultant on the project, for which we are targeting LEED Gold Certification. As a LEED AP myself, it is nice to exercise this discipline from time to time.
We had a LEED project review meeting on Friday, which went very well. It is nice to know that with a few smart selections, our typical design methodology and specifications get us right to the LEED Gold threshold, at least on a project of this size. We’re excited to to see how it progresses over the next months of design and subsequent 6 months of construction.
On Kiawah yesterday meeting with a couple of sets of clients, I visited the construction site of a new residence that we designed at Cassique. It is nice to see this residence bringing into realization the vision that we have anticipated.
Besides being Andra's MTM (Mate/Target/Muse), I am also an architect in Charleston, SC. That means I am often asked my opinions about various Charleston buildings, especially works of contemporary architecture. Here everyone from designers to dilettantes hold passionate positions on appropriateness and architecture. This is especially so these days, as architectural controversy is once again ascendant with the debate over the new…