Historic Beaufort Foundation is preparing for its annual Spring Architect’s Tour, which is set for 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 20 and includes houses spread across five Lowcountry Islands. This year’s event – sponsored by Gilbert Law Firm, Broad River Construction, Allen Patterson Builders, Howell Builders and Phifer Construction – will guide attendees on a unique journey of Beaufort through examples of both traditional and contemporary architecture, showcasing the creative and distinctive imprint of some of the area’s most accomplished architects. The houses chosen for this year’s tour interpret Lowcountry architecture through 21st century design, and all the featured properties have either been recently completed or are under construction and will be part of the “hard hat” portion of the tour.

HBF has prioritized tour participants’ safety during the event and will ensure that protocols are in place for signage, social distancing, masking, hand sanitizer usage, and other necessary precautions. Masks will be required when inside the properties.

Beaufort has boasted some of the souths most interesting architecture since the city began to take shape in the 18thcentury. Today, local architects continue that tradition of excellence. This year’s tour will highlight the work of Allison Ramsey Architects, Frederick and Frederick Architects and Montgomery Architecture & Planning. Throughout the tour, architects, builders, and contractors will be onsite to provide information, talk about the homes and answer questions. Representatives from Broad River Construction, Allen Patterson Builders, Howell Construction, Phifer Contracting and TD Commercial Builders will also be in attendance. 

Properties included in this year’s tour are located on the Port Royal Island in historic downtown Beaufort, on Lady’s Island at Factory Creek, Cane Island, St. Helena Island at Station Creek and Fripp Island.

Cane Island House

The Cara May Cottage – a cozy small house – in Beaufort’s Historic District  was designed by Allison Ramsey Architects and built by TD Commercial Builders. The interior design was done by owners Jeremiah and Emily Smith. The cottage is 400 SF with one bedroom and bath, similar in size to the original freedman cottages built throughout the North West Quadrant of Beaufort’s Historic District in the late 19thcentury. The 11’ ceilings, 6.5’ tall casement windows and the chic modern interiors bring this home design into the modern day. The cottage porch and cozy built-in breakfast nook on the street side bring curb appeal and encourage outdoor living and engagement with neighbors. The cottage is named after the owner/architect’s daughter, Cara May.

The Cane Island House was designed by Frederick & Frederick Architects, and is being built by Patrick McMichael of Broad River Construction and Matt Phifer of Phifer Construction. Interior design is by Frederick & Frederick Architects. The home’s custom design provides a more contemporary feel than the traditional Lowcountry style and emphasizes the owner’s desire for a light-filled house with clean lines. This contemporary design uses the local vernacular vocabulary of single width rooms with great cross ventilation, a raised first floor, large porches, and high ceilings. The 21stcentury twist is seen in the large lift and slide doors on the front and back, the dramatic staircase with clear story windows and skylights combined with clean details. The house has a super-efficient building envelope with the addition of a geo-thermal HVAC and hot water system and solar panels; the house will be net-zero. The solar panels will charge a Tesla battery wall for backup electricity and excess power will be sold to the power company through net metering.

St. Helena Island House

The St. Helena Island House at Station Creek was designed by Montgomery Planning & Architecture and was built by Allan Howell of Howell Builders. This ultra-modern home sits along the marshes of Station Creek with views to St. Phillips Island, Bay Point, and the mouth of the Port Royal Sound. The site provides enjoyment of the Lowcountry landscape with sweeping natural vistas. The design emphasizes the expansive views of the surrounding maritime environment. The contemporary interior of the house was designed by the owner, Susan Loeffler.

The Fripp Island House was designed by Allison Ramsey Architects, and is being built by Allen Patterson of Allen Patterson Builders. Interior design is also being done by Allen Patterson Builders. This custom waterfront house has a great view of the Atlantic Ocean with southern coastal charm. Garden spaces and a pool accent the interior side of the lot, adding to outdoor living opportunities. The house plan interior floorplan is that of an “upside-down house,” where the kitchen and living spaces are located on the top floor to take in the expansive views and large porches. The exterior

Fripp Island House

design has Caribbean influence with southern details. 2500 SF of covered porches, screened porches and rooftop deck with fireplaces provides outdoor living at its best.

The Factory Creek home on Lady’s Island was designed by Montgomery Planning & Architecture and is being built by Matt Phifer of Phifer Construction. This innovative project is a blend of old and new by reimagining a 1970’s split-level house into a sensitive and sustainable design. The original 2-story bedroom wing has been retained and a new living, kitchen, and dining area, along with a third floor “perch” was designed to incorporate an expansive screen porch for better interaction with the surrounding environment and views of Factory Creek. Solar panels and cistern for rainwater harvesting have also been incorporated into the design.

Whether you are a history buff, a lover of architecture, or looking for inspiration for your own home, this year’s architectural tour has something for everyone. Please join us to enjoy this unique opportunity for a behind the scenes look at some of the Lowcountry’s most exciting new architecture,” said Cynthia Jenkins, Historic Beaufort Foundation’s Executive Director.

The Spring Architect’s Tour will take place rain-or-shine. Advanced reservations are strongly recommended as this popular event tends to fill up quickly. Tickets are $65 each and may be purchased by calling HBF at 843-379-3331 or going online to https://historicbeaufort.org/event/spring-architects-tour/. The tour is self-paced and self-driven.

HBF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education foundation created to preserve, protect, and present sites and artifacts of historic, architectural, and cultural interest throughout Beaufort County, South Carolina. For more information on the entity’s mission and history, please visit historicbeaufort.org and follow them on social media, including Facebook and Instagram.