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August 02, 2021

A Charming and Challenging Infill

Once in a blue moon, an amazing opportunity presents itself. A quaint, treelined street filled with an eclectic blend of houses in downtown Greenville, SC has a vacant lot.

Ah, but with opportunity comes challenges. The lot isn’t particularly wide – it had been cut out of a previously proposed townhome project. The lot became effectively narrower as the garages in this neighborhood were all in the back of the lot, requiring precious lot width for a driveway. But wait – the back of the lot is where all the large trees were. The lot was at the end of the quite street and bordered a very busy and noisy thoroughfare. Lastly, there was a historical review board that needed to approve everything, the architecture, the driveway and even the retaining walls.

Squeezing It All In

The lot was already narrow before you added the ribbon driveway to the back. As such, the house could only be 35’ wide. The first-floor footprint became critical with no room for frivolous formality. Instead, there is a delightful primary bedroom with three windows facing the street. The lifestyle triangle consists of kitchen, café, and family room. We choose to the attached the garage not only to save space on the lot but also for convenience. Entry into the home is through a combination Welcome Home Valet and Connected Laundry which is super useful according to the owners. Three bedrooms, two baths and a large loft complete the second floor. The design of the roof disguises the homes 2,700 sq. ft.

The Streetscape

As mentioned, the street was an eclectic mix of styles, colors, and materials. Some houses were traditional in brick while others were Craftsman in style in both siding and brick. After several elevation studies, a quaint Craftsman style was chosen; clad in brick, lap siding, and board and batten. A front to back gable was utilized to add a second floor while keeping the single story, almost cottage look from the street. The last important detail was the stone retaining wall across the front, in keeping with the neighborhood.

Outdoor Living

On trend, there is ample outdoor living in this home. It starts with the cozy front porch, conversational distance from the street. There is also a covered rear porch, just off the café and family room. But the backyard environment is where this home really excels. Utilizing both the large trees at the rear of the lot and the rolling topography is a sunken backyard paradise. It includes a stone outdoor fireplace and blue stone paved patio for dining outside beneath the large water oak trees. To add ambiance at night, lights are strung above creating a ceiling. Lastly, there is a small stone waterfall to add soothing sounds – and drowns out the noise from the adjacent busy thoroughfare.

I hope to share more images from this great little gem of an infill once the owner’s get more settled. I can’t wait to capture the backyard paradise at night with the fireplace glowing and the lights shining above. It’s always fun to share stories of overcoming obstacles and lessons learned.

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This post was written by Housing Design Matters