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Charleston's Best Architecture Firms

At Sea Island Builders we work with many of the areas best architectural firms.  While there are many amazing architects in Charleston, Herlong Architects, Swallowtail Architecture, Beau Clowney Architects, and Anita King are the architects with whom we have the most experience.  This article highlights various projects with these talented Charleston architects.  

Sea Island Builders has worked with Herlong Architects on many coastal homes.  The principal of Herlong Architects, Steve Herlong, began his career in 1986.  To quote Steve, "Even today I see such a difference in coastal island architecture versus coastal city styles. Over the many years of work and travel, what became of particular interest to me was the evolution of architecture through history and how modern innovations were incorporated into it in timeless ways to create a blend of contemporary lifestyle with durable finishes and materials. I think this is what I have tried to use as a guiding principal in my design."

The Herlong team has been around for many years designing homes around Charleston as well as homes in the Caribbean. One of our most recent projects with the Herlong team was our multiple award winning project, Raising History, a landmark Sullivan's Island renovation and addition.  This project won multiple awards at the state and local level from the Home Builders Association.  Additionally, Raising History was featured in Charleston Magazine in January 2024.

Located in Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, Herlong Architects stands out as a full-service residential architecture and interior design firm. Specializing in custom coastal home design, each project embodies a tailored design solution crafted for specific sites, often with breathtaking vistas and embracing nature's sanctuary. Their clients actively shape the beauty of their custom homes, reflecting their unique character and style. From the Lowcountry of the South Carolina coast to the beaches of the Caribbean, Herlong's architectural designs seamlessly integrate with the coastal landscape. Their team of talented residential architects and interior designers fosters a collaborative, creative process, aiming to create custom homes that harmonize effortlessly with their surroundings.

Raising History designed by Herlong Architects - Sullivan's Island, SC

Sea Island Builders first worked with Rachel Burton of Swallowtail Architecture in 2008, prior to her launching her own firm.  Since, we have completed multiple collaborations including a beautiful marsh front project in Cardinal Hill, a marsh front community in Mt. Pleasant, SC.  Paramount in the design was the creation of a layered experience that reveals itself upon approaching the home. The curved drive provides privacy from the street and begins to open up as the home is approached. Peek views through the understory, volume and daylight within the interior spaces, amazing views, and a wonderfully connected floor plan are all part of the experience when enjoying this home.  This project won the 2022 South Carolina Home Builder's Association's Pinnacle Award for Runner-Up Best Custom Home of the Year.

Swallowtail Architecture excels in crafting homes that perfectly align with your vision for life in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Whether you're contemplating a new build or a comprehensive house renovation, Swallowtail will tailor a design plan that seamlessly blends practicality and emotional resonance. Swallowtail Architecture through an attentive process of active listening, curates a custom home design that reflects a client's uniqueness, adorned with distinctive details and timeless elegance. As a South Carolina Architect, Rachel Burton specializes in creating bespoke living spaces that harmonize indoor and outdoor elements, allowing homeowners to relish the coastal beauty, whether in Historic Charleston, barrier islands like Sullivan's, Isle of Palms, Kiawah, Seabrook, and Daniel Island, or communities like Mount Pleasant, Summerville, and Yeaman's Hall.  Swallowtail was named the best Charleston Architecture firm in 2018 and 2019 by The Post and Courier.  Additionally, Swallowtail Architecture received USA property awards for best architecture single residence in South Carolina from 2018 to 2023.

The Cardinal House designed by Swallowtail Architecture - Mt. Pleasant, SC

Our historic Island Beach Cottage project is an amazing collaboration that seamlessly blends history with modern day life. Taking a piece of history and creating a living masterpiece can be challenging. The team at Beau Clowney Architects designed a transformation of two structures from the 1830's into a combined single dwelling. The project involved moving, raising and elevating, to preserving, restoring and adding onto the original elements. This design-build collaboration for a repeat client speaks wonders to a successful team-based project approach. This project was featured in Coastal Living Magazine and serves as an excellent example of how a historic gem can honor its past while being updated for modern family living.

For over 20 years Beau Clowney Architects has been working collaboratively with clients to create beautiful structures that seek to enhance life through good design. They have successfully designed a unique collection of homes throughout the U.S. and abroad that weave together the nature of the home's location with the unique character of the individual client. Architect Beau Clowney, a 6th generation South Carolina native, along with his partner Kate Campbell and talented leadership team, are passionate about the design and execution of each project. This widely published firm is located along the Battery in historic Charleston, SC, which serves daily as a rich laboratory for continued research and design inspiration.

Historic Island Beach Cottage designed by Beau Clowney Architects - Sullivan's Island, SC

This Sullivan's Island beach front custom home is an in house design build project led by esteemed architect, Anita King.  This project was designed for a couple from Dallas, Texas who desired a contemporary home with a nod to traditional Sullivan's Island architecture.  The materials used in the construction of this home are the best on the market to withstand beach front exposure.  The landscape architect, Glen Gardner, created a master plan that provides privacy for our clients while creating a welcoming tropical experience for those that visit the home.  Roll-down electronic screened porches, in ceiling radiant heaters, a sliding bar window that pockets into the wall, and a steam shower with a self drying system are just a few of the luxurious amenities incorporated into this home.  

Anita earned 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.  Anita attended Virginia Tech's prestigious Washington-Alexandria Architecture Consortium (WAAC), an urban architecture design program.  She resided in Georgetown where she worked for the famous Hugh Newell Jacobsen.  Anita founded Ink Architecture and then eventually found a home with Sea Island Builders.  Anita's professional portfolio contains award-winning projects across the world, from Aspen, CO to Paris, France, and most recently on the Isle of Palms, SC.  Anita's design, architectural experience, and knowledge make her a great fit to deliver stunning custom homes that exceed client expectations.

Lowcountry Lonestar designed by Anita King - Sullivan's Island, SC

Herlong Architects, Swallowtail Architecture, Beau Clowney Architects and Anita King are some of the best architects and firms in the Charleston area.  Working with an architect experienced in coastal design and familiar with local municipalities will greatly enhance both the quality of the design and the ease of getting through and obtaining permits and approvals.  Feel free to contact Sea Island Builders to learn more about our process and how we work with clients to serve as a single point of contact to seamlessly deliver amazing experiences.  

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