//Rachel Burton
Rachel Burton 2018-07-02T19:44:50+00:00

Get to Know Rachel Burton

“So much in architecture depends on the right fit. The way the design fits the landscape. The way the building fits the use. And the way a room fits the people who live in it. Getting the right fit takes a rare combination of consultation and vision. For me, each home is a beautiful gem. Each needs the perfect setting and fit, both for the owners and for the landscape on which the home sits.”


The best architect in the Charleston area for bespoke architecture, Rachel Burton, AIA

Rachel Burton, AIA, ArCH, OAA, LEED AP

Rachel named her practice Swallowtail Architecture after the classic swallowtail joint, a precise and beautiful coming together of two pieces of wood, another kind of perfect fit. She has more than 30 years of experience on an array of projects. Rachel specializes in residential architecture on Sullivan’s Island, Kiawah Island, Summerville and in the Lowcountry around Charleston, South Carolina.

Rachel is drawn to waterways and appreciates the way they reflect the color and nuance, the sunrise and sunset each day and the change of colors with the seasons. She is known for causing the apparently impossible coastal zoning requirements to seemingly melt away as she makes the very most of each project’s potential. Having spent her earlier years in Africa, Jamaica, England and Canada, Rachel delights to call South Carolina home. She sits on the executive board for Dorchester Habitat for Humanity, the Board of Architectural Review for the Town of Summerville and is an active member of Rotary. In her free time, she can be found exploring yet more waterways, through Scandinavian mystery novels and going, with her husband, on two-week wilderness trips… by canoe.

We are passionate about helping people design custom living spaces that let them enjoy the beauty of our local landscape. Whether you wish to build your dream home on a LowCountry marsh, renovate your current residence in Summerville, or modify a historic residence in Charleston, we can help. View our portfolio of custom homes, additions, and renovations. If you are ready to discuss your projects, please contact us.

From Rachel’s Desk

Latest post from Architect Rachel Burton with her insights about designing and building luxury homes in the Lowcountry region surrounding Charleston and on the Barrier Islands of South Carolina.

Designing with 3D drawings

June 26th, 2018|0 Comments

We are starting to use 3D drawings as a design tool so we can really see what the home will look like, and so can the Owners! Our home owners wanted a beautiful classic low [...]

Revisiting the Master Gardener’s Home

June 21st, 2018|0 Comments

Twenty-two years ago, I designed my first custom home, a retirement home for a master gardener. The site was a beautiful 3 acre lot set in the rolling hills of southern Ontario. Seven years ago, [...]

  • Arched Window Header made of brick

Fort Moultrie Project Update

May 4th, 2018|0 Comments

Demolition is underway at the Fort Moultrie 1890’s Ordinance House project. Removal of the interior walls and finishes always reveals hidden gems. In this Sullivan's Island project to convert the former Ordinance Shop into a residential property, we see remnants of a past era and previous renovations.

  • Charlotte at Quesnel 1898

Big City Architect in a Little Lumber Town: A Lesson in Listening

April 26th, 2018|0 Comments

When I was living and working in British Columbia, Canada, I was the only full time practicing architect in almost a 400-mile radius. To put that in context, that's the equivalent of all of South [...]

Swallowtail Awarded Reader’s Choice

March 21st, 2018|0 Comments

We are proud to share that Swallowtail Architecture of Summerville, SC has been awarded the 2017 Readers' Choice Award by the Summerville Journal Scene.  We believe this award is a recognition of the personal connection [...]

  • The Swallowtail Architecture Team

Checklist for Selecting an Architect

February 1st, 2018|0 Comments

ARE THEY QUALIFIED AND REGISTERED? Unlike building designers, architects cannot practice without a specific level of University education -usually 5 or 6 years followed by 2 years of post-graduate, on the job training. Architects [...]

See all of the posts ‘From Rachel’s Desk’

Award Winning

Trust the design of your dream home to award-winning, Charleston-based Architect Rachel Burton.

2018 Best Architects in Charleston ArCHdes 2017 Design Excellence Award ArCHdes 2017 Design Excellence Award ArCHdes 2017 Design Excellence Award ArCHdes 2017 Design Excellence Award Architect Service, Best of Houzz 2017: Remodeling and Home Design

What It Is All About…

This video, originally shot in 2012 when Rachel Burton first opened Swallowtail Architecture, still captures the Swallowtail essentials and what drives our work everyday.  Our mission is to create dream homes for people who want to live in the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry.

Learn More About Swallowtail Architecture

Looking for an Architect in Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Kiawah Island, and in the Lowcountry area around Charleston, South Carolina? Swallowtail provides residential design services including custom, new homes, historic restorations, whole house renovations, additions, as well as commercial design services for coastal, lowcountry, island, traditional, and modern-beach homes, as well as commercial properties in the Charleston area.