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Coastal Homes

South Carolina is home to miles of beautiful white sand beaches and golf courses, from Myrtle Beach all the way down the Lowcountry Coast to Hilton Head. With world-class resorts and secluded islands dotting the coastline, we understand the attraction of coastal living. Swallowtail Architecture is an architecture and design firm based right outside of Charleston, and our years of experience with South Carolina Lowcountry and coastal home design allows us to guide you smoothly through the process of building a beachfront home. The coastal home building process in South Carolina has its own unique quirks and challenges, but with our team of talented home designers by your side, you’ll be toasting your ocean view in no time.

View our Coastal Home Design Portfolio:

Two projects map to one beautiful truth … and an award

We’ve all heard that a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Two of our recent projects proved the truth of that and showed how a lot of knowledge can go a long way toward saving the day. It can even lead to awards, as in the case of our Sullivan’s Island project on an unusually-shaped lot … This first set of clients envisioned a pool beside their new home, overlooking the marshes. The lot was an unusual …

Swallowtail Architecture gains approval on Kiawah Island Residence

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Rachel Burton,, 843-885-9400 DESCRIPTION: Kiawah Island proposed new residence moves to the next step   TITLE: Swallowtail Architecture gains approval on Kiawah Island Residence Summerville, South Carolina; Oct. 12, 2017 – Swallowtail Architects is pleased to announce preliminary design approval for a Rhett’s Bluff Residence new construction project on Kiawah Island. The final submittal process is the next step, with construction planned for November and an estimated completion date of late autumn 2018. …

On The Boards: Site Considerations on Kiawah Island

We just started work on the site considerations for the design of a new home on Kiawah Island.  Our clients intend to retire and live on Kiawah full time, so they want to make sure the design considers not just their current lifestyle but can continue to support them as they get older. After much deliberation, our clients bought a lot on Rhett’s Bluff that over looks the marsh and the Kiawah River beyond.  The view is spectacular! This site …

PRESS RELEASE: Design awards for 3 Sullivan’s Island homes to Swallowtail Architecture

Summerville, South Carolina; June 16, 2017 –– Three Sullivan’s Island homeowners will receive certificates following awards by Architects Creating Homes’ to Swallowtail Architecture for residential design in ArCH’s 2017 international competition. “With prices going up on Sullivan’s Island, here are three examples that show how being brave and taking the risk to do high-quality design and construction can pay off,” says Swallowtail owner and chief architect Rachel Burton. “A home with international recognition of its design has affirmation of its …

Swallowtail Architecture wins BZA Approval for Fort Moultire’s Ordinance Shop to become a Special Exception Residential Building

Sullivan’s Island, SC; May 12, 2017 – Swallowtail Architecture of Summerville has BZA approval to classify a Fort Moultrie building dating back to the 1800s as a ‘Special Exception’. The Sullivan Island project, one of Swallowtail’s three current Lowcountry historic renovations, originally served as an Ordinance Shop within the fort. In January, the project received Conceptual Design Approval and in March unanimous Preliminary Approval from Sullivan’s Island Design Review Board to strip away later additions, uncover the original building and …

The Restoration of Fort Moultrie’s 1890’s Ordinance Shop

Tucked away on Sullivan’s Island’s Thompson Street is a small gem waiting to be uncovered and restored. Hidden under a layer of vinyl siding and almost dwarfed by a rear addition, is a small brick building with a simple gable roof that back in the 1890’s used to be an Ordinance Shop for Fort Moultrie. Like many of the Fort’s buildings it was sold after the Fort was decommissioned and converted to residential use. Looking at it now, it is hard …

A New Sullivan’s Island Home with a $1,000,000 View

Have you noticed how the view gets better the higher you go? We recently completed a new marsh front home on Sullivan’s Island where we bucked convention and put the main living spaces on the top floor to maximize the magnificent view of the Intracoastal Waterway. But we did not stop there. The entire second floor has a vaulted ceiling with a continuous light cove. The vaulted white painted wood ceilings amplify the feelings of space and the big view …

Riverview Villas, Kiawah Island

The Riverview Villas on Kiawah Island consist of four two-story buildings, each containing six units with spectacular views toward the river or marsh. The villas are at the heart of the development, situated within a magnificently landscaped green space and sited to form an internal courtyard featuring a meandering path punctuated by nodes. Parking is discreetly located at the ground level of each villa. Each floor contains one two-bedroom unit and two three-bedroom units that have been designed to maximize …

custom designed master bedroom in South Carolina

Beach Front Home

This Sullivan’s Island beach retreat is elegant and sophisticated, yet comfortable and inviting for extended family when they come to romp in the waves of the Atlantic. We incorporated lots of curves into the plan and in the elements of this home to achieve its sense of elegance including curved bay windows, curved stairs and balconies, curved ceilings and curved window headers. All of the living areas and master suite face the ocean so you can hear the soothing sounds of the Atlantic Ocean while receiving morning, afternoon, and evening sunlight. The master suite was designed to be its own private oasis with a bathing area, sitting area, deck, and twin covered porches.

Exterior of SC coastal home with porch

Retirement Home on the Marsh

Designing a retirement home on one of Charleston’s islands to maximize the amount of living space located at the back of the house facing the long marsh views and the west setting sun while meeting the zoning criteria, demanded some creative thinking. But we were up to the challenge and created a 1½-story house with all of the living spaces on the main floor and the guest bedrooms upstairs. To satisfy the zoning restrictions that required a certain percentage of the living area be at the front of the house, we added a wing along the street front that allowed the main living areas to be located at the back of the house facing the gorgeous marsh views and taking advantage of the natural breezes.

custom island home under construction

Island Home

This island home faces the Intra-Coastal Waterway, providing stunning views from the multiple porches. The floorplan of the house was designed to create the feeling of a large space, while maintaining a small footprint. It did not require any variances or ARB approval, as it stayed within all of the zoning ordinances for this island town.

On the Boards (Coastal Homes)

The Loblolly Cottage and the Virginia Residence are 2 homes designed for a new development on Kiawah. The homes are smaller in building size than many Kiawah homes, and share community space on the river.

The Riverview Villas on Kiawah Island consist of four two-story buildings, each containing six units with spectacular views toward the river or marsh.