Folly & Gardens Retreat


Wadmalaw Island


Square Feet









Our client explained this project to me as “The folly and the gardens”. This whimsical story is the design basis for the first of several structures that will be built on our clients property at Wadmalaw Island, which is located twenty minutes outside of Charleston, SC.  The overall masterplan will be a family retreat with wandering paths throughout the 37.7 acre property. The way you drive and walk to the house has a direct engagement with the Church Creek Sleeping Quarters.   The stucco will rival Porters Lodge at the College of Charleston along with the 18” thick wythe walls, which anchors the new Sleeping Quarters into the highest hill of this landscape.

One challenge at the Wadmalaw Island Project was to balance two different elevations from the entry and the creek side of the residence.   The client’s goal was to create “folly architecture” throughout the buildings. The client had a clear vision for two different and distinct ways to entertain & visually approach the structure in a whimsical way.  The history of Oliver Messel inspired the designs for the floor plan, elevations and most importantly the roof pods.  Landscape architect Charles Stick has sited the structure, rotating the residence to align the views with Church Creek and the Wadmalaw River.

To construct a building that looks a hundred years old is not as simple as it sounds. The design was modified to include a center axis to split the two facades before construction.  Stucco finishes will match the College of Charleston along with green painted wood mahogany windows will be sourced prior to construction. The interior wythe walls will be plastered to resemble the old charm of the Barbados Caribbean structures seen in late Oliver Messel homes.