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Design Chat: Donald A. Gardner Architects

Design Chat: Donald A. Gardner Architects
This top selling plan by Donald A. Gardner Architects suits a do
[Note: Here, our intrepid reporter Joyanna Laughlin interviews Jonathan B. Hyman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, who is the Architectural Department Manager for Donald A. Gardner Architects, based in Greenville, SC, the latest addition to our Signature Studio.]

What architects and architectural styles influence the designs that DAGA creates?
“No one style fits every location,” Hyman says. “DAGA designs luxury European homes, simple farmhouses and just about everything in between. And we give our clients the opportunity to customize their home to meet their specific desires through our modifications team. Because Greenville is between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, it gives us close access to coastal and beach housing styles, as well as rustic and mountain styles. These styles add diversity to the Low Country and Traditional Southern architecture that dominates the area, resulting in the rich mixture of influences in our portfolio.”

What was the inspiration for starting DAGA in South Carolina?
“Don Gardner moved from New York to South Carolina to study architecture at Clemson University. After graduating and serving in the Army Corps of Engineers, he decided to settle in the Greenville area to pursue a career and raise his family.” Gardner was also attracted to Greenville by the variety of local architectural influences. 

How has DAGA grown?
“Don started DAGA in 1978 as a part-time business out of his home. By 1984, he was able to commit to it full time. Over the next 15 years, our designs gained increasing popularity."

What does DAGA specialize in? “Keeping abreast of housing trends and preferences, and designing new homes to fit those trends. We try not to ‘specialize’ in anything, preferring to address a wide range of styles, sizes, and demographic profiles in building a well-rounded and diverse portfolio.”

Who are DAGA’s typical clients?
“Our designs are for everyone. We design one-story, two-story and walkout basement homes. We design small, medium and large homes using a variety of styles and materials. We offer crawl spaces, basements, walkout basements and slab foundations. And if none of our thousands of stock options are perfect for you, then we design specifically for you with custom modifications.”

What key features make a good house plan?
"What makes a house plan not just good, but great, is when it fits those living in it. Some of the latest trends that many homebuyers are looking for include having a single dining space that opens to the common areas for a spacious atmosphere; flexible rooms ready to be used as a home schooling room, play area, guest suite, or office; and utilizing extra space by incorporating a pocket office, butler’s pantry, or mud room. We incorporate a variety of trending features to create homes that fit a variety of people."

What are DAGA’s most popular designs, and what are the most popular features of those designs?
According to Hyman, the Satchwell (Plan 929-9) still ranks in DAGA’s top 10 best sellers

after more than a decade. This plan has remained popular because it’s less than 2100 sq. ft. and

includes four spacious bedrooms and an open-concept design, and the openness helps the home live larger and provides plenty of space for entertaining. Note how the study can function as a guest suite with its own bath, and how this bath can double as the powder room for the great room and foyer, thanks to access from both the bedroom and the hall. 

Hyman says that DAGA’s Birchwood (Plan 929-1), a sprawling ranch design with a distinctive

exterior that draws attention, is also very popular. “This plan offers more than 3000 sq. ft. with luxury in every room,” he says. Special features include a master sitting room, a buffet nook for the formal dining room,
a walk-in pantry, an oversized utility room, and a screened porch with a fireplace. Plus, every bedroom gets a walk-in closet and full bathroom.

“The Butler Ridge (Plan 929-2, shown at the top of this post) is our most popular walkout-basement design,” 
Hyman says. Note the wide porch off the great room with its cathedral ceiling and multiple skylights. The plan is ideal for building on a sloping lot; the angled screen porch takes advantage of rear 

views. The basement offers secondary bedrooms with full baths and a versatile recreation room.

To browse more Donald A. Gardner Architects plans click here.

Design Chat: Donald A. Gardner Architects Inspiration

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