Designing An Oasis For The Clients’ Antique Cars And Baby Grand Piano

Architects Jane and Michael Frederick create an energy-efficient property using Tesla Powerwall, a 13.2 kWh battery pack

By Sienna Mae Heath


Jane Frederick, FAIA recently received a call from a potential client who had very defined requirements; the property had to be high for Beaufort, South Carolina, on deep water, large enough for his antique Jaguar collection, and room for a baby grand piano.

Jane and Michael Frederick guided this client as he explored properties in Beaufort. Since the client lives in Philadelphia, Jane and Michael reviewed potential houses and vacant sites to determine if they were suitable. The first house the Fredericks reviewed was essentially a tear down and the asking sales price was too expensive for a tear down. They recommended that the client not pursue that property.

“Each of our custom home projects has a unique set of criteria that we have to incorporate,” Jane says. “With this one, one of the challenges was having all those cars.”

Then they reviewed a vacant lot on a 25 foot bluff on deep water, and that was the winner. Just enough room (and proper zoning) for three buildings – a house, a carriage house for the clients’ daily-used cars with a guest suite above, and a garage for his many antique cars.

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Jane commends this client for seeking out an architect early on in the process.

“A lot of the times clients don’t think about hiring an architect before getting started on a project when we can offer valuable advice on investing in the right property,” she said.

Because they established trust and the client came with few preconceived ideas, they enjoyed the brainstorming process. The client has lived most of his life in colonial homes in the northeast. Nudging out of his comfort zone, he yearned for a change of scenery in a more contemporary style home.

“We enjoy designing houses and we want our clients to have fun during the entire process,” Jane says, recalling this client’s lightheartedness.

The construction started in April, and will likely finish within a year. The contractors have already framed the garages and are now working on framing the main house. This is an exciting time for the architects, who will watch the client virtually walk through his future home.

Frederick + Frederick offer a virtual reality experience, in which the client can navigate a 3-D model of the space. The client puts on the 3-D glasses, and suddenly feels at home.

“People actually reach out to things and say ‘oh no’ I’m going to fall off the stairs!” Jane says. “A lot of people have trouble visualizing what it’s going to look like but when they see it in virtual reality, they understand.”
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The front of the house overlooks the river and the back faces the street. This design with the garages closer to the street, give the residents privacy in their home. The three buildings form a courtyard garden, which creates a private oasis. “As you move further and further into the site, it gets more and more private,” Jane says.

All the rooms in the house overlook the river. A wall of glass will line the waterfront side of the home. When someone walks through the front door, they will immediately see the baby grand piano. A subtle detail – will be looking past the piano out to the river. From the living room and kitchen to the south master bedroom, the living spaces flow from one to another.

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Because the clients plans to live here for the rest of their life, the house is designed for aging in place. A ramp leads up to the front door, and all doors are 3-foot wide. In the bathroom, there is a zero edge shower and plenty of room for maneuvering a wheelchair, should one ever be needed.

Another priority is to live off the grid. The 70 solar panels will store unused power that is not sold back to the utility company in the Tesla Powerwall 2, a 13.2 kWh battery pack.

Jane says. “When they move in, I hope they feel that they are on an endless vacation and that life is good.”

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