Meet the Architect: A Conversation with Charleston Architect Anita King

Anita King knew she was going to become an architect at the ripe old age of 12 years old. "My dad is a surveyor, so I was introduced to architecture plans and drafting at an early age," she recalls. She never wavered from her goal and went on to earn her Architecture Design degree from Clemson University. Fresh out of college, she worked at DP3 Architects in Greenville, SC before deciding to pursue her graduate degree from Virginia Tech. King attended Virginia Tech's prestigious Washington-Alexandria Architecture Consortium (WAAC), which is an urban architecture design program. She resided in Georgetown, a city rich in architectural history and design, much like Charleston, where she worked for the famous Hugh Newell Jacobsen. But the Carolina coast beckoned and King couldn't resist the siren call of the city she loved so she returned to Charleston, SC where she worked for Herlong Architects before venturing out on her own. King founded Ink Architecture and then eventually found her way to Sea Island Builders.

Sea Island Builders is fortunate to have Charleston architect Anita King on staff. Her experience and knowledge make her a great fit to deliver stunning custom homes and exceed client expectations. We sit down with Anita to talk architecture, design and dogs! 

Q: What are your favorite types of projects to work on? 

A: I have always enjoyed designing custom homes along the islands, taking a cue from nature and the stunning natural surroundings we are fortunate to have here in the Lowcountry. 

Q: Where do you get your inspiration for design? 

A: I think that depends on where the design is located. I think the architecture should speak to the area and reflect the design of the local vernacular, while having unique features to the homeowners personality. 

Q: What are your style influences? 

A: Growing up in Summerville, with historic Charleston right down the street, I think I have a lot of respect for the local vernacular. I am, however, a modernist at heart. So, I like to make sure the architecture speaks to the area, but has an overall clean line aesthetic. 

Q:What is your favorite space to design? 

A: I take a holistic approach to design, so I am always thinking about how the interiors integrate with the exterior and vice versa. It is important that the entire house feels like a cohesive design and interior compliments the exterior and so on. I enjoy all of the interior architecture components of the details of trim and cabinetry. However, we have some great interior designers that we collaborate with when it comes to actual furnishings. 

Q: Do you prefer designing new construction or renovations? 

A: I enjoy working on new construction, because the design options are almost limitless. I enjoy collaborating with clients and builders to determine the best design and seeing that design come to fruition. For renovations, you generally have some strict parameters to stay within to maintain the original structure and create a design that compliments the original architecture. This can be challenging but also very rewarding at the end of a successful project. 

Q: What is the most challenging part of designing for a renovation project? 

A: Depending on the level of renovation planned, you can be limited on floor plan options or original heights of ceilings and such that limit the possibilities for the design. For large scale demolition and renovation project, the project almost becomes new construction where you really have the options to design something special. Our Palm Blvd project is a great example of this. This extensive renovation project basically ended up being new construction, and we were able to really add in some design elements that made it special. It just received the 2020 Home Builders Association of South Carolina Pinnacle award for best remodel in the state (pictured below).

Q: What are your favorite things to do outside of work? 

A: My dog Charlie and I spend just about every afternoon walking the nature trails on Daniel Island. Beyond that, I enjoy being outdoors on the water or even swimming in it. I have done several open water swims, but I stick to fresh water for those! The great thing about Charleston is that with our mild winters you can be in the water longer than usual. 

Q: What is your favorite travel destination ? 

A: There are so many great places, it is hard to say. I have been to Switzerland during Christmas, which is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. My most recent trip was to Barcelona with other Virginia Tech alumni. That was a great spot to discover lots of fun architecture. 

Q: Name a place you want to visit in the future and why? 

A: Greece is definitely on my travel list and a cooking trip to Sicily! 

Q: Favorite Charleston restaurant? 

A: This is a tough one. The restaurants in Charleston are always fabulous. I love local spots and recently discovered a great lunch spot called Pickled Palate with a great atmosphere, live music and of course, frozen mimosas. For a great dinner spot, I love Edmund's Oast. And, for drinks, the Bar at Husk! 

Q: What book are you currently reading right now? 

A: I have about 8 half read books on my night stand. I am constantly reading something and never finishing it. That's how I've been my entire life.  

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