When an architect says about a house, “It’s similar to what I’d design for myself,” you’ve probably hit gold. That’s how Darryl Cobb defines the house he partnered with Structures Building Company to create—a home the owners describe as “knocking it out of the park.”
“To me, this is art, this is a step above architecture,” the architect says, calling the eclectic, cottage-style home in Daniel Island Park “this beautiful thing” as he walks around its exterior and points out its “articulation and layers of detail.” The house includes spacious double porches, ornamental brackets and fiber-cement shingles, chosen for their low maintenance and authentic look.
Working closely with Structures, Cobb was happy to accommodate owners Gretchen and Dave Ladley’s specific requests for architectural features, including additional fireplaces.
“Such details keep the sides of the home as visually interesting as the front and back,” he notes. It all helps to break up the home’s 3,800-squarefoot footprint. “Flood and other restrictions require us to build up, but as architects we want to keep the scale down so a home feels organic.”
Creating mock-ups for the home’s 50 ornamental exterior brackets was among the many details Structures project manager Dave Hargis executed. Getting the stain on adjacent soffits “just the right shade to make them pop” was another key feat, says Deborah Way, Structures designer.
“We wanted to make sure both Gretchen and Cobb were pleased,” says Way, who worked with Gretchen throughout the selection/design process. “It’s that kind of detail and collaborative spirit that really sets our process apart, and why we like to work with architects that share the same approach.”
“The architects we work with know they don’t have to micromanage us because we’re here to protect the design,” notes Steve Kendrick, principal of Structures. “The level of trust between builder, architect and client is key.”
In the Ladley’s home, protecting the architect’s vision resulted in streamlined spaces with loads of natural light. A spare entry where even the coat closet was relocated means nothing detracts from immediate, sweeping marshland views. Two-over-one windows, French doors and Cobb’s signature aversion to wasted space create uncluttered, open rooms. Walnut floors combined with Gretchen’s unfussy style—the same wall color, clean-lined tile and fixtures throughout the home—transmit a unified tranquility.
“When I walk in the front door, the view to the back is so comforting to me,” says Gretchen. After researching builders and architects for two years, she and Dave chose to work with Structures because they were as impressed with the company’s reputation and project history as they were with its strong digital presence and collaborative setup.
“We were able to clearly understand the construction quality, core values and services they offered on their website, and because we’d be building remotely, it was important they had a defined process upfront,” says Gretchen. “That was critical for our vision to come to fruition.”
“Darryl’s ability to merge the practical needs of what he’s heard in client meetings with the unique design opportunities presented by the site is a special talent,” says Kendrick. “It’s always our goal to work as a collaborative team when we build—it becomes a win-win for everyone.”
Key to delivering their final home, says Gretchen, was the close integration of all the pieces in the design-build process. “Even with the obstacles, having Darryl readily available and Structures keeping us informed meant we could make quick adjustments in the field.”
“We knew from past experiences that our collaborative team effort was exactly what our client was looking for in their long-distance build,” says Way. “Gretchen and Dave knew we were on the same page, and that we were going to give them exactly what they envisioned.”
“I thought building a house remotely would be a disaster,” says Dave. “But they got it right.”
M.S. Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Charleston. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org.