As an architect in the southeast, I have the fortune to design many Low Country style homes. When I do, I can’t help but project myself into the design, imagining myself relaxing on the front porch drinking iced tea.
The character of this style has allowed it to remain relevant today, particularly within pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods with front porches.
So, let’s talk about this style. What makes a Low Country elevation is the front porch, often elevated a few feet above the street to capture breezes. In the days before air conditioning, this is where you went to escape the heat of the South. Authentic Low Country houses featured porches with blue ceilings, it is said that the color repels mosquitoes! Beautiful, calming, and functional – we’ll take it!
Once you look beyond the relaxing atmosphere of the front porch, what you will discover is the style tends to be very traditional and often symmetrical. Typical building forms tend to be simple. Many have three or five bay front porches with the front door always in the center. Non-symmetrical forms include four bays where the front door is to one side. Two-story homes often had double stacked porches—these have had a huge resurgence today as buyers crave more outdoor living.
Windows are most often single with flanking shutters. Shutters were louvered to block the sun while still capturing the breeze. Window grid pattern can be traditional 6 over 6, 9 over 9, or 6 over 1.
The predominant building material is siding. Raised foundations were often on brick or wooden piers with lattice in-between to keep out the rodents. If you’re building a slab on grade house, try adding 16” to 18” of height across the front of the house to lift the porch up.
There are so many color options that can intertwine this beautiful style with your personal preferences. Here are a few color schemes to emphasize the flexibility of the style.
Finally let’s think about this style as a whole. The forms are simple, making it relatively easy and affordable to build. It is a front porch-dominant style which is only growing in popularity with buyers and community planners. Its exterior material is siding - affordable and can be low-maintenance. It is traditional and timeless without being stuffy and it encourages a variety of colors... Is it really any wonder why this style is still going strong?