Volunteering with the State Guard

SC State Guard EngineeringSouth Carolina was recently impacted by Hurricane Matthew.  As the storm was still approaching our coastline, I was invited to join the South Carolina State Guard’s Engineering Detachment to assist in surveying and assessing the damage caused that would be caused by the storm.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have taken several days off to serve with the Guard.  We have been looking at various structures from private homes to National Guard Armories and public beach access structures.

While the damage could have been far worse and we were spared the devastation seen in Haiti, there are many in our own communities whose homes and property were damaged or destroyed.  I served alongside Guard members whose homes remained flooded as they selflessly continued to serve their community.



What’s on the Architect’s desk? 26 October 2016

I am spending the day at my drafting table today.  For this particular project, the client wishes to enclose a good portion of an existing wrap-around front porch.  The home has water front views from the rear porch and the front porch is rarely used.  The space acquired from the porch will be incorporated into the conditioned floor area of the main house.  Specifically, we’re looking to increase the size of the Master Bathroom.  This will allow for an entirely reconfigured Master Suite, including taking full advantage of this home’s water views.  In addition to larger room sizes for the bedroom and bathroom, the space we are reclaiming from the porch also provides enough room to add a second walk-in closet.

On the other side of the porch, we are also looking at different layout options to use some of the space for a new Guest Suite and to relocate the Laundry Room.  All in all, this reclaimed porch area will be utilized far more often as interior space.

What’s on the Architect’s desk? 01 September 2016

I am in the middle of working on a Zoning Study for an ocean front lot.  Our most immediate concern with this property is regarding the flood zone.  Most properties in this area are in some sort of a flood zone and those along the coast (as is logical) tend to be in more restrictive flood zones.  This particular property is in a V zone, which indicates that in a hurricane or other flood event, there could be waves in excess of 3′ rolling across the property (these 3′ waves would be in addition to the concurrent flooding).  So, for good reason, we need to ensure this project is safely above the projected flood level.

While the flood zones are determined at the federal level by FEMA, the application of the FEMA guidelines is performed at the local level by each jurisdiction.  In this case, we are working with the local County to determine the parameters within which we can design.

What’s on the Architect’s desk? 03 August 2016

Today, I have several piles on my desk related to getting approvals for a new home that we’re designing in Beresford Hall (on Daniel Island).  Earlier this year, we received preliminary approval from the neighborhood for our conceptual design.  The paperwork that I have on one side of my desk is the application for the final neighborhood review.  This particular neighborhood review process is more involved than many other neighborhoods, so I do have some work to do to ensure that we have all of the information that they have requested.  They also require a thorough set architectural drawings, which we have ready to submit as soon as the drawings from the Landscape Architect arrive.

The neighborhood does not require us to submit structural drawings.  But, I also have a final draft of those drawings on the other side of my desk for review.  After we secure the neighborhood approval, we will need the structural drawings in order to submit for our building permit from the City of Charleston.  Many neighborhoods in the Charleston area have similar layers of approvals which must be navigated in order to begin construction.

A house with 2 front doors

Typically, a house has a main door somewhere on the front facade (or elevation, as architects call them).  In most cases, this elevation faces the nearby road.  There are exceptions to this, however.  One exception of particular note is when a home has a significant natural feature on or adjacent to the property.  drayton hallFor instance, the historic plantation home Drayton Hall was constructed with two front elevations.  One faced the Ashley River and the other faced the main road.  Many believe that the river-facing elevation was considered to be the primary front of the home as the river was the more preferred mode of transportation in the 1750’s.

Drayton Hall

Few people today utilize water features as essential means of transport.  However, homes adjacent to bodies of water can present design opportunities to create a home with two fronts: a street front and a water front.  In the Charleston area, we often work with properties which face both a road and water.  If you are a water front property owner, we would love to help you design your home (no matter which side you consider to be the primary elevation!)

Sweet Summer Time

Yesterday marked the first day of Summer. For many who grew up in the South, Summer often stirs up images and memories of sitting on the porch, sipping sweet tea, and enjoying the long days.

Southern homes are famous for their relaxing and beautiful porches, which provide views and breeze.  Here are just a few porches that we’ve done recently.

Robert E Lee Blvd

24th Ave


Go ahead, grab a glass of ice tea and daydream of your perfect porch (then give us a call to help make it a reality!)

Portfolio Update – Grand Pavilion Blvd

slide2We are excited to share with you a new project in our portfolio! The remodel of a home on Grand Pavilion Blvd. was completed in 2015 and we recently received the pictures from the photographer.

As you will see on our portfolio page, this project started as a simple renovation to enclose an existing screen porch. As I worked with the owners and they saw the potential of their home, we decided to expand the scope of the project. We ended up also renovating the outdated kitchen and bathrooms in addition to enclosing the porch.

After working with the clients, we saw an opportunity for increasing energy efficiency by upgrading the exterior windows. We also replaced the aging cedar siding with cement board siding, which dramatically increased the curb appeal of the home.

TMD Architects is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with these clients on this project and appreciate the chance to be a part of the process.