Celebrating 20 Years of Success - Thank You

A Letter to You.
We opened a 2004 Napa cabernet a couple of weeks ago.  We started reflecting on the last 20 years, and immediately began composing this letter to You. 

In 2004, Angela was pregnant with our first child, we were building a house, I had just quit my job, and James and I had decided to start our own design firm.  We had no clue what to expect next. 

That year, we designed the very first Court Atkins home on Hilton Head Island, for Engin and Taryn Olcer.  We signed their contract at the same Starbucks that we would eventually demolish and redesign on the North end of the Island.  I had a shaken espresso there just last week.  Every time I visit, I still think of Engin and Taryn. 

We also designed our first of more than 250 homes in Palmetto Bluff that year, which was for Sue Burden.  Sue, thank you for believing in us when you did not need to!   

In 2005, we met Shirley and Bud Mingledorff, who would entrust us with a slice of Heaven on Myrtle Island and a blank canvas.  Their home would become a signature expression of our timeless, refined design style. 

James and I have plenty of Bob Dumler stories from the early days too, and they get better with bourbon.  Bob was a local legend (in more ways than one), one of our first repeat clients, and he built our initial office when Sarah kicked us out of their guest bedroom. 

We are forever indebted to mentors like Tom Crews, Joe Hall, and Rob Hull.  I still miss Joe.  We were also fortunate to have some sound financial advice before the crash of 2008 (thanks Fred).

Over the years, the Group began to grow.  As we did, we were given the opportunity to help shape our local community and we feel fortunate to have had a hand in some of our favorite restaurants, shops, churches, and clubhouses. 

We are especially proud of our relationship with the Fire Department, which started in 2011 when Chief Thompson trusted a still-young firm with a new vision for Station 30 in downtown Bluffton.

10 years ago, James and I had another Starbucks meeting.  This time with Deb Van Plew, one of the most talented Interior Designers we know.  From that meeting, we partnered with Deb to expand our studio team and our Interior Design capabilities.  We also committed ourselves to think about design as a more holistic experience.

Denise Loft and Brian Culbert were the first clients to embrace this new Architecture and Interior Design synergy.  We are grateful they took the leap, and they set the bar for future studio work to come…   

Fast forward to 2024.  We just hired our 160th employee.  We have completed more than 2,500 projects.  Many of these are in places where we never expected to be able to work.  But who really considers working in Cabo, work?

We have beautiful Studios in Bluffton and Savannah.  We have developed an amazing team of nearly 40 Architects, Interior Designers, and Support Staff.  And, many of the team members who are no longer with us are running successful companies of their own.

There are also ten of us “Principals” now.  We share ownership in this wonderful experiment.  Deb, Adrienne, Jen, Jason, Derek, Preston, Andy, and Nickie… Thank you.  You make us all look way more talented than we deserve.   

However, it is to YOU that we owe a special debt of gratitude. 

If you are reading this, you are a friend, a client, a builder, a partner, a vendor, a consultant, or a supporter.  In short, you have helped us shape the first 20 years. 

If you are around tomorrow, we hope you will stop by our Bluffton Studio to share a drink and say hello.  We have a lot of ideas for the years ahead, and we would love to share them with you.