Love of Place is at the Heart of Lake + Land Studio’s Craft

by Anne Smith

A design studio in Hattiesburg, MS achieves success in a surprising variety of projects by focusing on harmony with surroundings and a respect for history.

We first got to know the team at Lake + Land Studio back in October when they won first place in the Chief Architect Residential Design Contest, and discovered their involvement in a number of impressive projects – including HGTV’s series, ‘Home Town’.  As ‘Home Town’ celebrates its 4th season, we checked in with them to learn more about the various projects they are involved in and the challenges of designing for a t.v. show.

What are some ways that developing a design for t.v. differs from other “normal” design projects?

The biggest difference is the sped-up timeline. We work on 3 – 5 houses at a time, and the typical renovation takes 8 weeks from opening demo to reveal.  In contrast, most of our other work revolves around higher-end custom projects at places like Crane Island, FL, which is a boutique Southern Living Community: projects with considerably longer time frames.

Also, on ‘Home Town’ we never work with the client directly, all communication goes through the casting producers.  It’s interesting designing for someone you’ve never had a conversation with while respecting the agreed-upon scope of work for the project.  

Wait. You never meet with the clients directly? The line of communication between you, the producers, and the client must be exceptional. How do you do it?

Our first step in a renovation project is to create an as-built model to see how the space can be changed and understand what push and pull is possible with the original envelope of the home.  We use 3D camera views to illustrate the final product, and our Chief Architect Cloud Account to export 3D 360 panoramic views of the proposed designs.  We create layouts to present floor plans and saved camera views in a clean pdf printable format.

Concept rendering for ‘An Island For All’: ‘Home Town’, Season 2 The projects that you do for ‘Home Town’ seem almost a world away from Crane Island and the rural retreats that you design for custom clients. Are there any commonalities?

Our custom client base tends to be the most drawn to Low Country, Cottage, and Farmhouse styles. We are inspired by the local southern historical vernacular and love drawing influence there. 

A majority of ‘Home Town’ projects are post-war Craftsman cottages, but many homes date back to the 1920’s or older.  The beautiful thing about the show and the revitalizing of these historic homes is the blending of traditional local forms and modern conveniences.  We are always respecting the time period and architectural style of the homes.  Any exterior alteration or additions should follow suite to the style of the home and making those changes feel as natural as possible, in hopes that it looks like it could have been original to the home.

Regardless, letting form follow function is key.  Allowing the site and surroundings to speak in the shaping of the home.  Taking advantage of the landscape.  We love incorporating as much circulation and ease of traffic flow in our homes.  This is pinnacle to the function of the home.

Are there any architectural forms or features that you restore specifically to add functionality? Lake + Land

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