Lowcountry Kitchen Design

Home showcase: Breaking the mold

Architects were asked to do something ‘a little different’ in this Palmetto Bluff home. In following that mandate, they raised the Lowcountry standard.

Story by Barry Kaufman + Photos by Katie Charlotte

Exterior of a home with lush greenery outside
Architects Amanda Denmark and Pearce Scott of Pearce Scott Architects were challenged to deviate from their usual work and embrace a more contemporary style requested by the Palmetto Bluff homeowners. The result is a boldly asymmetrical home that blends modern design with elements of traditional Southern architecture.

Architecture, like any art, is driven by the thirst to find what’s next. It’s not just about what you create today, it’s about how the things you create drive what comes after. Amanda Denmark and Pearce Scott of Pearce Scott Architects know that challenge all too well. The homes they have created have helped define the look of the Lowcountry’s modern era, even as they’ve rewritten that definition with each home.

But sometimes even a firm known for pushing the envelope is asked to push even harder. That’s when true creativity is given free rein. 

“The owners of this home had hired an interior designer out of Charleston who had a very contemporary feel, so we were able to play with that a little bit together,” said Scott. “But they still wanted it to fit into that Palmetto Bluff aesthetic.”

Boldly asymmetrical, and borrowing a few forgotten elements of Southern architecture, the home they built from that simple premise of doing something different stands as a tantalizing preview of where the art of architecture is headed.

Carriage House

Redefining tradition

One of the most fascinating examples of Pearce Scott Architect’s outside-the-box thinking comes in the form of the home’s separate carriage house. Eschewing the typical three-car saltbox, the carriage house joins two separate towering structures with a pass-through screened porch.

“I was looking through this old book of barn design in the Carolinas and got really excited because it did give us something different,” said Scott. Drawing inspiration from the narrow peaks of traditional Carolina tobacco barns, they created a structure that flouted tradition even as it embraced classic materials like tabby, rendered in oversized blocks up two accent exterior walls.

“Depending on what point in history you’re talking about, the heights of these tabby stacks would vary. I’ve done a lot of studying up on this,” added Scott with a laugh.

contemporary dining room

Blending eras

Another element that finds its roots in the past while adding a new phrase to the home’s visual lexicon, the dining room evokes both the old Southern solarium with key details that present as thoroughly modern.

“They wanted that vaulted space, but they wanted the windows to show slimmer lines to reflect that contemporary aspect,” said Denmark.

French style entry way to a house with french doors

The art of arrival

While most newer homes hit you immediately upon entry with a soaring two-story view of a great room, the desire to do something different on this project manifested as an entryway that feels more like the classic formal foyer. 

“This one has a real connection to the living space, whereas we’re used to doing these great rooms where you just walk right in. This house reacted to the site. Since we didn’t have views necessarily …  we could really arrange the floor plan how we wanted,” said Denmark. “Sometimes open floor plans really limit what you can do, and this one gave us another opportunity to do something a little bit different.”

Adding to the entry’s appeal are the steel-encased French doors, which open in to create almost a smaller foyer before the main entry.

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