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Custom Homes

As custom residential architects, we are very familiar with the unique challenges of building a custom home in South Carolina. We understand that you need a space that is perfectly suited to your lifestyle or your family, and sometimes you just can’t find that dream home in the real estate listings! It might be on the beach facing the ocean, or overlooking one of the fabulous Low Country marshes, or nestled in the heart of a historic district with a coffee shop within walking distance. As South Carolina custom home design specialists, we can integrate your ideas with beauty and practicality to design a new home that suits your location, family and lifestyle.

As experienced home designers, we also know that building a custom home can feel overwhelming. We want to walk with you through each step of the custom home design process from beginning to end so that you will enjoy the building experience just as much as the end result.  We can guide you through the process of selecting materials, communicating with consultants, and interviewing builders.  We will collaborate with you to make sure that each detail is meticulously considered and all of your requirements and needs are met with creativity and ingenuity. At Swallowtail Architecture, we take pride in our ability to achieve your vision, while alleviating your stress about the building process.

View our Custom Home 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 …

‘When Dreams Meet Reality’: Why You Hire a Professional

Story #1: The Dream My client, Ruth*, spent years imagining her dream home. She came to me already knowing how the rooms would flow one into the other. From the kitchen would be a view out onto the water. There would be a small, private porch. The dining and living rooms would relate in a certain way to one another. But Ruth bought a site that was the wrong shape for the particular house she had imagined all those years. As …

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 …

Architecture for Aging

Our homeowner, Ann, was featured in an article in the Post and Courier article titled “Architecture for Aging’. The article was about how home design features help older adults to maintain full mobility and a high degree of safely in their homes. For access to the full story in the Post and Courier archives, see:

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.

South Carolina custom home for a master gardener

Home for a Master Gardener

River, pond, forest grove, wild flower garden and lush lawn are the views from this gorgeous rural home. Built into the side of a hill, the living spaces are organized as a series of fluid gathering places with large windows facing south, framing the views to the garden that become part of the landscape of the interior. The main floor accommodates the kitchen, living room, dining room and sunroom, with views to the north, south and east, ensuring good natural light throughout the day and a range of ever-changing scenes.

South Carolina Custom Residential Townhouses

Residential Townhouses

This unique building is composed of a series of four units grouped around a common porch with each unit having an entry through its own front door. Additionally, each unit also has its own large porch allowing the tenants to enjoy both the privacy and the connection to the community more commonly associated with conventional home ownership. Hip and gable roofs are alternated at these porches to add rhythm as well as to break-up the mass of the long building.

South Carolina Custom Residential Apartment Building

Residential Apartment Building

This three-story apartment building is part of a larger rental property. The building is comprised of bachelor, one, two, and three bedroom apartments. The interiors of each unit are designed to have an open feel with the kitchen and bedrooms on one end and a big open living space on the other. The variety of unit sizes and the interesting layouts meet the needs of a wide variety of lifestyles. All the apartments have a large window and a large covered porch-like balcony allowing the tenants to enjoy both their privacy as well as the sense of being part of a community.

elevation plans for custom home in SC

On the Boards (Custom Homes)

An urban home for a growing family: this tight urban lot is in a great neighborhood, so the owners decided to demolish their existing home and build a new home to accommodate their family with 2 young children and a home-based business.

Retiring in South Carolina: the owner wanted the home on a single level to allow them to age in place, with a large veranda and screened porch overlooking the pool