A Pawley’s Island Beach House: “Blends Without Conforming”

During the 9 months of growing my first baby, I was also ‘growing’ this custom home design.

a mama’s got to brag, right?

On January 30, 2014 I birthed my baby; on January 30, 2015, this home should be ‘birthed’ and ‘fully grown’ as well.

This project presented many challenging design obstacles; for starters, an extremely challenging site: very skinny with protected Live Oak Trees, a 10 foot rise in elevation, beach-front considerations, and all of the local Pawley’s Island ordinances and codes.  One of the major requirements of my client was to have a seamless, handicap accessible route all the way from the parking spot to the beach front, as well as to every space within the home.  Being the artist that she is, she also challenged me with the task of creating a home in which the ‘house and the views become a piece of art in itself.’

Not wanting to mimic the very traditional and conventional homes seen on Pawleys, she wants her home to stand apart from the rest. As an Architect, it’s always a challenge to decide how to create a structure which is original & unique, without being a ‘Frank Ghery‘ kind of structure which relates to none of it’s surroundings (sorry Frank Ghery fans!).

In the words of Georgetown Building Inspector, this home “blends without conforming”  which is exactly what I was shooting for.  The height, scale, and mass is sensitive to the site, especially from the beach-front view, yet the materials and the details offer a more unique and modern approach to the traditional beach home.

Here are a few key elements of the design:

Passive Solar Design Strategy – window placements,  roof forms, and an open floor plan with lofted 2nd floor allows for optimum solar gain during cool months and optimum shading and ventilation during warm months; the single sloped roof allows for hot air to rise all the way from the first floor to the to top the

second floor and out through upper clerestory windows

floor plan

Minimal Square Footage – as to minimize impact on a sensitive site, minimize heating and cooling costs, and to consider a modest budget, each space was carefully designed to maximize functions & efficiency within the smallest footprint possible; the total heated square footage is 2600sf

Zoning of the Building – as a single woman with many visiting family and friends, I wanted her to be able to literally close off 1300sf of the home when guests are not in town and be able to live in the remaining 1300sf.  The HVAC system was carefully designed to have 3 seperate zones; this way she is not heating and cooling spaces in her home which are not in use.

Living Roof – the roof over the parking area will have Green Roof Modules provided by Green Roof Outfitters

The Golden Rectangle drawing from sacred geometric patterns, I designed the floor plans based off of the geometry of the Golden Rectangle as to create the most aesthetically pleasing (and feeling) space.

Creative use of Materials – the exterior of this home is clad with a mix of local milled cedar and hung in a board & batten style intermixed with corrugated metal panels. All of the exterior deck railings are nothing more than ‘cattle fencing’ with a handrail.

The interior will have a very open floor plan framed with old, reclaimed mixed species oak and pine from Reclaimed, and finished with modern white cabinets, stainless steel countertops, exposed metal ducts, and a concrete & metal stovepipe fireplace.  Michael Moran will provide charred wood for the fireplace surround and Handcrafted, LLC will custom build open tread stairs, countertops on hinges, and board & batten style shutters.  The aesthetics of the home will be a nice mix of ‘rustic traditional meets modern contemporary.’

charred wood

interior; fireplace







‘Bare Bones’ Approach – Exposed structure, single sloped roof, minimal trim….’no fuss’ kind of design

Maximum Views – maximum ocean views captured from every room of the home

Handicap Accessibility – a wheelchair can access every space in the home; from the parking spot to the ocean

Sensitivity to Trees – the floor plan was heavily dictated by the existing trees on the site and careful decisions were made as to not encroach on them

inspiration for exterior materials

I am happy to be collaborating with Thompson Young Design during the construction period of the home.  At this point, the piles are in and framing will begin next week.  I will continue to document the construction process as the home emerges.  I can only hope that once this home is ‘birthed’ she will be as stunning and beautiful as my last project.






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2 Responses to A Pawley’s Island Beach House: “Blends Without Conforming”

  1. Madeleine Fischer says:

    I drive or walk past this home site almost daily as it is close to my home and wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed seeing the progression of the house. The other day I was walking around sunset and the way the sun hit the corrugated metal made it look like shimmering water. Great job and beautiful house!

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