An Artist's Natural Habitat

An Artist's Natural Habitat

Contemporary Project | Yemassee, South Carolina
A newly-built country house offers artistic inspiration as well as peace of mind for its homeowners. Bridging classic styling with modern performance, Kolbe's Ultra Series impact-rated windows were selected to help protect the residence in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane.
Credits: LFA Architecture LLC | John Clements Builder| Low Country Sash & Door | Tyler Davidson Photography

Located in rural Yemassee, about an hour's getaway from Charleston, South Carolina, a recently built, country house graces ample grounds. Today, the property hosts oak trees along its driveway, horse pastures near its stable, and the former fields are being restored and cultivated to support native habitat. One of the homeowners is an award-winning professional wildlife oil painter who wanted to take full advantage of the landscape. Thoughtfully positioned, the home's trapezoidal floorplan surrounds a central courtyard further enhancing the inspirational, bucolic views and natural light from every window and door. 

The home's design transcends traditional country farmhouse with a more contemporary approach. Bridging classic styling with modern performance, Kolbe's Ultra Series impact-rated windows help protect the residents and their property in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane. 

“I always start by giving my clients what they want and a few additional ideas for them to consider,” said Laura Fisher Altman, AIA, principal of LFA Architecture. “Because this client also is an artist, she already had a strong vision of the house footprint and its functional room layout, as well as an image for the front of the house.” 

Kolbe's Ultra Series impact-rated windows look great and give the homeowners peace of mind knowing they don’t have to do anything special in the event of a bad storm or hurricane.

Visitors approach the home through a grand, arched gateway that leads through the courtyard to the main house. Each entry is punctuated by a radius, arched window above it. The sides of the house splay outward at 120-degree obtuse angles to maximize the views emphasized through large, direct set windows. 

From the low, angled roofline, windowed dormers poke out to create an office on one side and a studio on the other. “The second floor evolved during construction when we found we had more space than we realized,” noted Altman. “The studio is situated on the North side where the light is consistent, ideal for painting. In addition to the dormer window, there are two large windows, plus a swinging French door opening onto a balcony. The balcony is enclosed with minimal railing so as not to disrupt the view.” 

Expanding interior spaces to the outdoors was a guiding principle for the home’s design. Altman elaborated: “Across the back of the house, there are more windows than wall. Two sets of three windows are stacked the full two-story height of the house and the full length of the kitchen and dining room. In the master bedroom, windows line the entire L-shaped exterior wall. With three walls of windows surrounding the master bath’s clawfoot tub, you feel as if you're soaking in nature.” Within the courtyard's walls, LFA created a more intimate setting and a nice rhythm using single casement windows. 

“Because of the high winds and potential for hurricanes, we chose to use all impact-resistant windows throughout the home. As this is not the homeowners' primary residence, it's impractical to think of using anything else,” explained Altman. “If they needed to batten down the hatches, shutters would be impossible for the huge windows. They would need to have someone board them up from the exterior. Even on the smaller, single windows, shutters wouldn't have a place to lay open when not in use. Kolbe's Ultra Series impact-rated windows look great and give the homeowners peace of mind knowing they don’t have to do anything special in the event of a bad storm or hurricane.” 

In addition to impact resistance, the laminated, Low-E coated, insulated glass windows provide fade-protection for the interior furnishings, finishes and artwork, while keeping the homeowners and their guests at a comfortable indoor temperature in the Southern climate.  Adding both detail and functionality, performance divided lites (PDLs) were custom-designed to enhance the historically derived architectural aesthetic. “I always use PDLs with spacer bars. I appreciate their impact, wind and water resistance, while looking similar to true divided lites with their narrow profiles.” 

Oil-rubbed hardware also adds an historic touch in adorning the push-out casements that welcome fresh air and natural light. When open, retractable screens keep out the insects. When the screens aren’t needed, they disappear to allow an unobstructed view. 

Showcasing a unified exterior appearance, all of the extruded aluminum-clad Ultra Series doors, windows and screens are finished in a 70% fluoropolymer Slate color, coordinating with the color of the roof. On the interior, unfinished wood was selected for the windows and swinging doors, then painted or stained to match each room’s palette and décor. 

To ensure every window and door was customized to suit the project, LFA Architecture worked closely with the homeowners; the builder, John Clements; and the window and door distributor, Low Country Sash & Door. “I really love using its products and the local showroom here is wonderful. It's great to take clients there to see all the options that Kolbe has available,” praised Altman.  “The staff is easy to work with, responsive and knowledgeable. I know they’re thinking through each step as much as I am. They help make sure the head heights and muntins are aligned, the proportions of each pane are going to match, and that everything lines up nice and neat. This project was no exception. It turned out beautiful and the homeowners love it.”