Modern Tudor

Modern Tudor

Transitional Project  |  Greenville, South Carolina
This South Carolina home reinterprets the details of traditional English Tudor architecture, melding a timeless European aesthetic with modern style and performance. The expansive openings of Kolbe’s VistaLuxe® Collection windows and doors create a personalized home with interconnected spaces that showcase the views within its walls as well as into the surrounding landscape.

Greenville, South Carolina, has become one of the most sought-out communities in the nation. Residents are arriving from across the country to enjoy the microcity’s convenient urban amenities, recreational activities and entertainment, comfortable climate, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods and forested greenspace.
The welcoming Woodland Park at Cleveland Forest redeveloped a previously privately-owned estate into 22 spacious lots for single-family homes with scenic views along the Swamp Rabbit Trail. MHK Architecture & Planning designed the first home in the new community. Referred by realtor Tom Marchant, MHK has since worked with five more clients moving to the newest destination in Greenville.


MHK’s most-recent project found inspiration in melding traditional English Tudor architecture with Modern style, performance, open plans, and generously-sized Kolbe® VistaLuxe® Collection windows and doors. Forging the timeless European heritage with current forms and materials, the resulting design creates a personalized home with interconnected spaces within its walls and into the surrounding landscape.
The clients, a couple approaching retirement, had looked all over the country before finding what they wanted in Greenville. They have a grown child who lives nearby, which made the area an even more enticing location. When they are not at their home in Greenville, they live abroad for part of the year in Belgium.
They met by video with MHK’s regional director, Mitch Lehde to discuss their plans. “About 95% of our clients are out of state, so we’re used to building long-distance relationships,” said Lehde. “Some clients you really click with. On this project, it felt like we shared a common thought process with the client.”


They love some of the old, ancient design qualities and finishes they see in Europe, and in particular, the English Tudor style. They also appreciate the openness and large, vertical, visual elements that a Modern style could provide. We married the two architectural styles, relying on Kolbe’s VistaLuxe WD LINE of windows and doors to accentuate the best of each.

Our solution involves reinterpreting the glass details on a grander scale.

“One of the community’s only stylistic requirements is that the design must have historical reference and merit. A completely Modern design wouldn’t be acceptable, but a Modern interpretation of a historic style meets the guidelines,” explained Lehde.
The community Design Guidelines suggest Tudor, French Country, Colonial, Revival, Victorian or English Manor, and state the intention to “promote and preserve the architectural styles that have influenced the growth and development of the surrounding neighborhoods.”


Traditionally, Tudor style is identified by its steeply pitched roofs, decorative timber and wood details, masonry and stucco exterior walls, functional fireplaces, elaborate entries and garden landscapes. Completing the aesthetic are narrow, rectangular casement windows with true divided lites in tight muntin grids with small square- or diamond-shaped patterns.
“How do you modernize a classic, historic design?” asked Lehde. “Our solution involves reinterpreting the glass details on a grander scale. Our original design was heavy on the English Tudor character and windows with numerous mullions. The clients really liked the idea of expansive glass openings and views. As the design progressed, we decided to use fewer mullions to avoid interrupting their views.”


Lehde found that as the mullions were reduced, “we lost some of the vertical scale. To maintain the proportions, we expanded the openings on the front and back of the house, such as the grand staircase that seems to float in front of the glass as if suspended in space. On the sides of the house, we kept the windows a little smaller with respect to their historic origin.”
The VistaLuxe WD LINE’s Flush style exterior aluminum frames and narrow muntin grids were finished in an Onyx color to replicate the look of historic, black steel framing. The performance divided lites also simulate the look of true divided lites, without sacrificing energy efficiency. The pine wood interiors were painted to match the Onyx exterior for a classic appearance that completes the aesthetic effect.


“Everyone wants this look,” notes Lehde. “It’s a trend currently, but it’s also a timeless element. The beauty of Kolbe’s windows is that even in close proximity to the frame, it emulates the steel look and divided lites with authentic detail. We were able to keep the window profiles as thin as possible.”
The narrow framing and divided lite patterns present a consistent appearance and balanced scale from the two-story staircase window wall to the 8-foot-high by 8-1/2-foot-wide arched dining room window, to the kitchen’s 10-foot-high by 12-foot-wide folding door.

We were able to keep the window profiles as thin as possible.

“The folding door blends indoor and outdoor spaces such that the kitchen and deck become one expansive, usable space. Each space opens and communicates with one another,” described Lehde. “The kitchen opens to the living room. The living room and above it, the second-story bedroom’s juliet balcony, overlook the outdoor plunge pool. The upstairs bath overlooks the garden. Every room incorporates a focal point.”


He continued, “The arched window in the dining room creates a focal point for the room, and through it, we look out on to a fountain and bench. It’s the only arched window in the house, conveying a special sense of place and intimacy.” The expansive window also defines the dining room nook as separate, while still open and linked to the living room.
Adding to the connected, cozy atmosphere, the living room and the study each feature a fireplace. “I love to do one hands-on, personal element for the projects I’m involved with,” Lehde shared. “For this home, the fireplace mantels were made out of reclaimed oak. I hand-finished the freshly sawn edges with a distressing technique to give them an aged look.”

The arched window in the dining room creates a focal point for the room... conveying a special sense of place and intimacy.


The home has a unique layout, unlike any other in the community, according to Lehde. “It also was one of the most difficult of the 22 lots to build on because there’s so much topography on the backside. Typically, garages are not allowed in front, but we would’ve needed 16- to 18-foot retaining walls if we had to put the garage in back. To gain the variance, we designed a stone arched structure as a front porch and entrance to the study. This connects to the garage and that bridges to the main house.”

He elaborated, “The big sweeping arches present a grand experience and are sequenced to orient you as you move from front door to dining room to backyard. When you walk into the house, you can see through it and out the large windows to a wooded view out back. Approaching the windows, you discover a creek running beneath the vegetation.”

Lehde also takes a hands-on approach with the home’s landscaping, which seamlessly connects with the adjacent community garden, while preserving its private boundaries. Unified by the same plantings, the grounds create an illusion of a much larger site for the impressive home.