Summerville, SC is at its heart, a small town. A place with a community feel and a great quality of life. People who live in Summerville love living here not only because of the lifestyle and conveniences of dining, shopping, and Charleston’s proximity, but because of the cohesion of the community. Part of what makes Summerville charming is the character of the architecture and the peppering of historic properties throughout the town. For the nostalgic it gives a sense of yester-year and history. For those who like the coastal design aesthetic, it abounds in Summerville. For those who like the calm and relaxation of the low country, Summerville is the perfect place to make a home.
As a practice, we want to preserve all the qualities of Summerville for today and tomorrow’s generation of homeowners. Sometimes though a building may be in need of expensive repairs and the cost may not be justified because of the underlying value of the property. This was the case with West Richardson. As a residential property the expense outweighed the value, but as a commercial property with inherently more value, the cost to repair and upgrade the property would be worth the investment. Although the owner knew the property didn’t merit being restored for private use, he knew the home and it’s location were a gem just one block off from the commercial corridor. His vision was to give the property a new life as office space centered around the old house. That’s where Swallowtail came in.
The 1800’s era large family home sat in the middle of a large corner lot in a park-like setting. It was a lovely green space with large, mature trees, and an abundance of flowering shrubs like azaleas. Since the home had most of its original features intact, it had the highest rating for a historic structure within the district, but it was sliding into neglect and disrepair. We needed to get approval for a change of use for the property and permission through the BAR (Board of Architectural Review) to convert the property to be commercial office space.
Our solution was subtle and respectful to the neighborhood. We would be maintaining the look from the street, but re-energizing the tired facade to be a fresh example of all the things people love about Summerville. The exterior would be repaired, including the front porch where we would be able to keep the original balustrades. Fresh paint and a deep cleaning would allow the architectural details to shine. Non-original additions would be removed. We would repair as like. New buildings would be gently inserted into the site at the rear while minimizing the visual impact for the neighboring properties.
At Swallowtail Architecture we are proud of the great relationships we have with design review and approval boards across the greater Charleston area. We make it a point to understand the goals of all the individual communities and to thoughtfully consider the impact of any changes. We were delighted when our proposals for this property received very little opposition. In fact, when we applied for final approval, local residents spoke in favor of what we were doing at the BAR meeting. This says we have done our homework and the community likes what they see.
While most of our clients are residential, we enjoy these bespoke style commercial projects. If you have a commercial project and you’d like to discuss, please contact us.
We’re excited to share updates about this project as we proceed.