Herlong & Associates
103 Palm Blvd., Suite 3AIsle of Palms, SC, 29451
Architect Steve Herlong has developed something of a cult following for the island vernacular he does so well—wherever that island might be, from the South Carolina barrier islands to St. Kitts in the Caribbean. That’s not to say he deals in one aesthetic or that his projects aren’t diverse. “I believe houses are connected to their environment and a distinctive style belongs to each place,” says Steve.
During his 35-plus years in the industry, the Clemson architecture alum’s award-winning works have consistently appeared in magazines from Coastal Living to The Robb Report. Steve is also a board member of the American Institute of Architects Charleston and the Custom Residential Architect’s Network.
The small firm, comprised of five architects and four interior/architectural design staff, takes on up to five custom homes each year, in addition to overseas resort projects, and many renovations and additions, including historic restorations.
Steve attributes experience to his firm’s success. “We’ve seen challenges in every design phase and have learned to solve problems and provide solutions.” From site evaluation to full-scale interiors, Herlong & Associates is prepared to tackle big issues and see to the smallest of details too.
Q and A Section
Q: Do you think the Lowcountry’s defining architectural styles are changing? Is the Southern vernacular evolving?
A: The Southern vernacular is very much intact, but people certainly want a modern adaptation with a more open, functional plan that is connected to the outdoors.
Q: What is your definition of “smart architecture?”
A: I think it begins with the technical issues that go beyond design to make a home high-performance and efficient and sustainable, especially in coastal conditions. Wireless, music, security—things that are based in technology, but with adaptability so that it’s not obsolete as technology advances.
Q: What are the first steps in finding the right architect?
A: Meet with several, and their staff, to see if you communicate well with the group and sense that they share the same lifestyle ideals—they can realize your goal if they understand it themselves.
Q: Do you have some advice that would make construction or renovation less daunting?
A: Before you begin design, make sure you have a thorough understanding about how you, and the people who share your home, interact in a living space. Then come to the table with a mutual agreement on budget goals—that’s when we have a starting point.
Q: Are there common mistakes you see homeowners making? How can they be avoided?
A: Making the assumption that the design they want can be done within their budget. Get a realistic idea of cost by finding projects in an architect’s portfolio that appeal to you, and get prices per square foot. From there, you can reset your goals if necessary and a seasoned architect can offer attractive, but cost-efficient alternatives.
Q: How would you advise someone to stay on budget once it’s determined?
A: Have a mutual agreement in place between the homeowner, architect, and builder not to add features without editing first, in order to offset the new costs.
Q: To ensure a good return on investment in, for instance, a house renovation, what are some specific upgrades you would recommend?
A: A kitchen remodel is always a good idea. Investing in good insulation and efficient heating and cooling systems is essential because the cost of energy is only going to go up. Also, studying the internal plan of the home and finding ways to bring in light is important—whether by adding windows, removing a wall, or opening up a hallway, creating view corridors is a significant upgrade.
Pose your architecture and design questions to the Herlong & Associates professionals at firstname.lastname@example.org