By Carolyn Weber The owner of this vacation compound on a barrier island off the coast of South Carolina wasn't planning to build his main house for a few years. But he wanted to enjoy the property right away. So, in the meantime, architect Christian Schmitt, principal of Schmitt Sampson Walker, designed a guesthouse, garage, and workshop.

The tree-shrouded site is private, with no long vistas, just a view to a small pond. In response, Schmitt devised an internally focused series of buildings.

The simple board and batten, wood-frame buildings are creative reinterpretations of a classic cabin with contemporary forms and a vibrant green and red color scheme. The deck of the 980-square-foot guesthouse has an inverted roof that opens the porch to make it feel like part of the woods. The roof collects rainwater, which a giant scupper dumps to the ground like a waterfall. The workshop features glass garage door panels on both sides that allow for maximum light and cross ventilation. "When they're open, it almost feels like an outdoor room," says Schmitt.

The playful forms include some modern materials such as the cable railings on the porch. "There was really no attempt to give it a stylistic bent," notes Schmitt. "Most of the architecture down here is low country, so we are kind of the outlaws of Spring Island," says Schmitt.

Photo: Dickson Dunlap Photography Studio

Category: Custom home, less than 2,000 square feet; Entrant/Architect: Schmitt Sampson Walker, Charleston, S.C.; Builder: Gollihugh amp; Hull, Port Royal, S.C.; Landscape Architect: Verdant Enterprises, Walterboro, S.C.

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