Spring Island Residence

April 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

A spirit of minimalist simplicity informs the design of this little “temple in the woods” – a weekend retreat placed in the pristine forest of coastal Sea Island.

With only 1,200 square feet of heated floor space, it has been made as small as possible to accommodate the Owners and one guest couple, each with a degree of airy autonomy.

With lofty porticoes at each end opening to the sylvan landscape, the building is contained within a compact, rectilinear, gable structure suggesting a rustic temple.  No space is wasted.  Contrasting with the rigor of the plan, a wall curves surprisingly out of the flank of the temple like an arm to receive arriving guests.  Within this curve is an entry formed by the twisting open-riser stair.

Its intimate rooms have been juxtaposed to create a deceptive sense of spaciousness: two bedroom/bathroom suites – one at ground level, one upstairs – each opening directly into small sitting areas and to screened porches beyond.  The effect is of two quasi-independent mini-apartments, each with a sense of depth, opening to the outdoors.  An alcove off the first level sitting area provides a cozy, shared dining booth and kitchenette.

Unique features of the project include materials conducive to a graceful aging process in a coastal environment, including a rustic exterior palette of peeled logs, cedar shingles, and thick pine planks.  The homeowners also brought to the project a sense of comfort and familiarity through the recycling of a wooden barn on some family property.  A portion of the barn was given to furniture pieces for each child, a portion to wood for a desk in the space, and a portion for the second level floor and stairs.

The cottage has two faces announced by the gable ends of the roof, with glazing on each face treated separately as it relates to the surrounding environment.  The apertures of the road (and entrance) face punctuate the walls to admit only a minimum of light and convey a sense of mystery.  The opposite face, framing a view through the trees toward the golf course, is virtually all glass windows and sliding doors.  These are subdivided into a matrix of wood muntins and glass panes, however, so as to create a veiled sense of protection for the small spaces within.  Scale and proportions of the panes have been carefully considered to relate to the human figure.

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AWARDS
2010 Post & Courier Design Award

PUBLICATIONS
Charleston Magazine, June 2009

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