HGTV Dream Home 2013: Making the Most of Marsh Views

The home is sited to take advantage of its waterfront location and minimally disturb the property's existing vegetation.

HGTV Dream Home 2013 Marsh Views

Like most coastal islands, Kiawah Island, South Carolina, faces open waters on one shore. But on the opposite, mainland side — where HGTV Dream Home 2013 presides — a stunning tidal marsh encircles the land.

Depending on the season, the tall marsh grasses offer an artist’s palette of greens, yellows or oranges. Pairs of great blue herons stand statue still, osprey circle overhead and, at high tide, dolphins chase schools of fish in the shallows.

“There’s always something happening, and it’s so beautiful, it takes your breath away,” says HGTV Dream Home 2013 lead architect Chris Rose, AIA, who took advantage of Kiawah’s gorgeous ecosystem when siting and designing the home.

Minimal Disturbance of Vegetation

HGTV Dream Home 2013 is part of a 16-house development nestled on a linear eight-acre parcel of land; property lines were drawn so that the biggest local flora, 60-foot-plus oak trees, would be preserved. “We used an aerial photo to identify the largest trees and then overlaid our subdivision lines on that so we could save as many of them as possible,” says Rose. The trees lend permanence to lots and provide privacy screening between homes.

Marsh Orientation

Although houses face north and front onto a shared road, exact placement of each structure varies to ensure best positioning to capitalize on backyard marsh sightseeing. “We turned some houses a few degrees this way or that way and moved them a few feet closer or farther from the road to give everyone optimal views of the marsh,” says project architect Myles Trudell, AIA.

Scene-Centric Design

Like its neighbors, HGTV Dream Home 2013 is being built to maximize enjoyment of the marshland show. The home’s rear wall consists almost entirely of hurricane-proof glass windows with only the narrowest frames bisecting views. Beyond the glass wall, a 350-square-foot rear deck, 225-square-foot master bedroom deck and an infinity pool hover about 10 feet above ground level, creating a dramatic balcony-like experience. Access doors integrated into the glass wall create seamless visuals from the inside out.

Sight-Friendly Landscaping

Project contractor Craig Gentilin installed temporary fencing in a 20-foot diameter around each mature oak tree trunk to prevent damage to shallow root systems from construction vehicles, dumpsters and staged building materials. He also installed silt fencing in front of the marsh to prevent project debris from impacting wetlands. And in areas where soil would be excavated for concrete footings, small palm trees and ornamental grasses were removed. Held in a temporary nursery area, greenery will be transplanted around the home, along with a mix of other naturally occurring landscape elements. Final “view-corridor pruning” will ensure clear sightlines to the marsh.

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