Captain Sam’s Creek runs along the easternmost edge of Johns Island on its way to the Kiawah River, providing a natural boundary for Cassique, a private golf community near Kiawah Island. Here, homes enjoy views of water through tidal marshland and, on this winter day, a grazing flock of wild turkeys.
The English Arts and Crafts style of architecture sets an Old World tone for exclusive properties tucked into pristine maritime forests.
The natural setting, sense of community and proximity to Charleston resonated with a recently retired couple relocating from Connecticut. “We had friends in the Preserve who said if they could do it again, they would be in Cassique. We can ride our bikes to Freshfields Village and are 20 minutes closer to Charleston.”
Additionally, Cassique’s smaller scale—only 275 homes will exist at the completion of the buildout—lends the upscale development a more residential appeal. The couple identified a piece of land overlooking the creek, and, because their former home had already been sold, quickly put the pieces in place to launch an ambitious construction project.
“We wanted to do something with a local firm,” they recall. “We’ve built a couple of houses and were very sure about what we wanted. Our main criteria for our design and build team was that they listen.”
With projects throughout Cassique, Kiawah and Palmetto Bluff, and a longstanding reputation in the Lowcountry, Charleston architect Wayne Windham was a natural fit. “Wayne introduced us to half a dozen builders—all very talented—but we felt that Steve Koenig and his son Scott spoke our language.”
The relationship between Windham and the Koenigs spans more than 30 years: the architect and Koenig Construction have built 40 homes together.
With a sense of urgency, the couple got the project under way with a program outlining everything they wanted in a home, including the size (12 rooms within a footprint of over 5,000 square feet). They also referenced a few historic architects they admired.
“They gave me a clean palette to go with,” recalls Windham. “They commented on the designs I presented them with, and then just let us go. I handed a set of drawings to the Koenigs and said, ‘Build this house!’ ”
“To put together such an accelerated construction schedule on a highend custom home without affecting quality takes effort from all members of the team,” says Scott Koenig. “Wayne Windham runs a very efficient office, and his staff is on the job weekly. That really helps keep things moving when we come across issues that need to be clarified.”
Consistent on-site supervision—key to a successful project—is a hallmark of Koenig Construction, with one or both of the father/son team on site multiple times a day. The Koenigs also take very seriously their company motto, “We Build Relationships,” with respect to both the client side and personnel.
“Many of the folks who worked with us on this home have been a part of our team for over 20 years,” says Koenig. “We take pride in the fact that we bring craftsmen and good suppliers on to our team and are able to achieve the highest level of quality by treating them with respect.”
Selections coordinator Debra Menard, a vital team member since 1985, ensures that clients have everything they need to make their selections. Koenig says her attentiveness to that process keeps the project management staff in the field, instead of in showrooms or in the office doing paperwork.
“We’re really proud of the level of detail we achieved throughout the home,” says Windham, pointing to the arched and coffered ceilings and wainscot paneling. Windows dominate the home, bringing the outside in and adding points of interest in unexpected places. “The glass and beam work really well together,” he continues. “We wanted the glass to rise to the ceilings—it’s a very intricate process to make it all work with the crown molding and coffering.”
The technically savvy couple enjoyed being part of the project from afar, watching their home come together from the comfort of a laptop.
“The Koenig website is great. We were able to follow their progress and maintain a dialogue with them. Wayne had a great system in place as well: he’d put it up on the website, we’d mark it up and send it back to him.”
“Our 3-D Revit software is unique,” says Windham, who won the 2013 Aurora Award for Best of State (South Carolina) in the “custom home” category for this project. “They can really see the design before they’re invested in it and make adjustments.”
The homeowners add that Koenig Construction submitted a cost estimate at the design and development stage of the project and came within an impressive 1 percent of that number.
“They did a very good job,” says the couple, who were able to occupy their luxe Lowcountry home just 11 months after breaking ground. “They executed exactly what we wanted.”
Wendy Swat Snyder is a freelance writer and public relations consultant based in Charleston. E-mail her at email@example.com.