In the late 19th century, Victorian architecture, with its emphasis on the grandeur of the past, gave way to the Arts and Crafts style, a movement that rebelled against industrialization and mass production. The new style put a premium on good design, traditional building methods and the use of local materials. Furthermore, during this era, the finished product was as important as the happiness and fulfillment of the craftsman.
Today, the idea of placing a value on the satisfaction of a craftsman is almost unthinkable. And it’s a shame. What if all of the people involved in building a home lovingly went about their work every day? Wouldn’t the care that went into its creation radiate from the house on a quantum level? At the very least, the quality of the work would reflect the pride and care invested by its craftsmen.
This lovely, but lost, concept has recently been revived and carried out by a very special team of people, in a very special house, in a very special neighborhood.
Cassique is a tranquil Kiawah Island Club community located at the point where the Kiawah River meets the Atlantic Ocean.
An outdoor kitchen with views of the pool and marsh is a favorite place for casual dinners. An adjoining wet room serves as powder room and shower.
Homes in this community are designed to reflect the English Arts and Crafts style and have stunning views of unspoiled marsh and the Atlantic. The house in our story was conceived and built by an unusually thoughtful and creative team that includes builder Scott Koenig of Koenig Construction, project architect Wayne Windham and interior designer Margaret Donaldson of Margaret Donaldson Interiors.
When the homeowners approached Windham, they had specific requests for the home’s function, interior flow and aesthetic. Windham then had to design to those specifications, making sure the architecture conformed to the neighborhood’s required Arts and Crafts style. “The homeowners requested a his-and-her master bath, his-and-her offices, and a kitchen and dining room that could accommodate their large extended family,” Windham says.
The result is a kitchen that— between the custom-made table by local artisan Brian Hall (of Kistler Design) and the expansive granite bar—seats 18. In the master bath, a two-sided glass shower separates his-and-her dressing areas with heated mosaic tile floors. A gas fireplace outside the shower provides a toasty place to towel off.
In true Arts and Crafts style, the real star of the show is the intricate woodwork. At the request of the homeowner, the corners of every interior wall are rounded. Smooth barrel-vaulted ceilings, arched doors, stair treads and rounded fireplace surrounds reflect this soft fluidity. Outside, the craftsmanship is just as remarkable. The home is a combination of stucco, brick, wood and slate. “Integrating the brick and stucco with slate and shingle was a fun challenge,” Koenig says. “To design the flashing details where the different materials came together, we used a combination of new and old techniques, and we had to have the perfect team of craftsmen to pull it off,” he adds. The garage features corbelled brick columns that illustrate the old-world skills of Koenig’s brick masons. “My favorite part of this house is the juxtaposition of materials,” Windham says. “They convey what the house is about.”
The home has a playful side as well. Stair balusters are turned on the diagonal, cheerful green and blue tiles are laid in a herringbone pattern in the laundry and an old-fashioned gargoyle sits placidly atop a chimney pot on the roof. “Our relationship with the homeowner was great,” Donaldson says. “She has such positive energy and was so enthusiastic about new ideas, we considered her part of the team.”
Koenig and Windham agree. “Her positive energy imparted something special into the design,” Koenig says. “It’s part of the reason the build went so smoothly.”
One of the homeowner’s requests was that every window in the front of the house have a permanent electrical outlet built into the sill for electric candles. The result is a friendly, cozy glow that suggests this home was lovingly created as a place to gather and relax. And so it is.
Robin Howard is a full-time freelance writer in Charleston. See more of her work at robinhowardwrites.com.