Environmentally Sensitive House on Dewees Island To Be Featured on HGTV’s New “Extreme Living” Show

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July 11, 2008 (CHARLESTON, SC) –  Perched lightly above the unspoiled beaches, dunes and marshes of Dewees Island just north of Charleston, South Carolina, is a small, environmentally sensitive vacation home designed by Whitney Powers, AIA, that will be showcased on HGTV’s new “Extreme Living” show in August.

HGTV bills “Extreme Living” as featuring “Homes that are way outside the mainstream.” This home’s location is the first key to its “extreme” credentials.

Accessible only by boat, Dewees Island has been preserved in its wild, natural state. The maritime forest is rugged, with large wind-shorn trees bent into bonsai shapes and thick jungles of native vegetation. The marshes teem with fish and birds.

To preserve the wilderness character of the place, highly restrictive covenants allow only a very small percentage of each lot to be disturbed or altered in any way.

“This is an example of ‘touching the earth lightly,’ ” Powers said, referencing the Aboriginal proverb many “green” architects embrace. “It was conceived as a minimal outpost, or camp. No existing trees were removed to construct the house and no paving was used, which would affect the natural hydrology of the delicate site adjacent to an inland pond and wetlands.”

To that end, the two-level, 1400-square-foot house is perched above the earth on a matrix of one- and two-story tall pilings. Screened porches – 1600 square feet of them – completely surround the house. The exterior walls are a “curtain-like series of glass doors to allow the whole house to be opened up to cooling sea breezes,” Powers explained.  Sleeping and bathing areas are located on the lower level, screened by the trees. The living room and kitchen rise above the treetops.

The house is based on an 8-foot by 12-foot module and the exterior is sheathed in to Hardipanel®, applied in a board and batten configuration, to greatly reduce the amount of construction material waste. The broad, hipped roof is clad in Galvalume® metal, which is highly reflective to reduce heat build-up during the summer months.

The HGTV crew filmed the house in August of 2007. It should be aired on
August 21, 2008, although airdates are subject to change without notice. A snippet of the episode can be viewed at http://www.kpitv.com (click on “Extreme Living”).

Whitney Powers’ work in sustainable design has received numerous design awards and has been featured in local, regional and national design magazines and journals. To see more of her work, visit http://www.studioa-architecture.com.

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