A key consideration in the initial design of the Kiawah Island Character Lot Home was the preservation of a large oak tree near the side and rear of the lot.  Having worked extensively with the Kiawah ARB in the past, our clients trusted us to leverage our knowledge to create a plan that would safeguard the tree and meet the ARB’s requirements to be approved. With sweeping views of the marsh from the rear of the home, we understood that the large oak could become a grounding point for the design–an anchor if you will. The tree would also provide a screen between neighbors.

Pool deck on elevated pool with infinity edge and natural landscaping and special marsh view

Special consideration was given to limit the encroachment into the root mass and to limit the height we were building under the tree limbs.

We knew that we would be designing a home for our clients with main floor living and with additional bedrooms for guests, as well as an informal den, on the second floor, but that most of the living spaces for our empty-nesters would be on the first floor. Therefore, we determined that we would place the main suite bedroom at the corner of the house where the oak tree is. This location has direct water views and with the ever-changing character of the tree, the homeowner’s would have a backdrop of natural beauty to take in every day. During our initial planning phase, we identified a lower branch that would extended over our build line. In discussions with the ARB, we all agreed that we would not remove that branch. We had the surveyor map out the location and heights along the length of that lower branch. We had initially thought we would have a small porch off the bdroom, but due to the height of that branch we revised that to a deck. There is something so majestic and humbling when such an exquisite natural feature is a part of your design plan and we are so pleased to preserve it and make it a highlight.

Kiawah Island ARB seeing approval for building on a lot with character and natural considerations

This particular site challenge reminded me of a similar project back in 2017. Feel free to read that story, On The Boards: Site Considerations on Kiawah Island.