Category Archives for Hilton Head Architects

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In our vast portfolio of stunning architectural and interior design projects, you will not see the same design, style or details repeated. Our finished product will not look like anything else you’ve ever seen, anywhere. We do custom work from bottom to top for every client. They hire us to tell their individual story and present their personalities and lifestyle with dramatic architecture, creative interior design, high-quality materials and absolute attention to detail.





We do not have a “signature” look, and we are very proud of that. Working hard to give clients what they want; our goal is not to be known for a style but for a level of quality. However, if you have a style in mind, we can make that happen too! Ever since we founded Group 3 in 1986 after merging our companies, we have sweated the details. But most importantly, we have satisfied clients. As a full service architectural design, interior design, renovation and planning services company, we can ensure that your expectations will be exceeded and your dreams realized and delivered on time. Scale and proportion, creative thinking, passion and collaboration are our calling cards. Formal or informal, grand or subtle, it doesn’t matter because we will be as good as you let us be.


The 5 Mistakes People Make When Choosing An Architect

Your a-ha moment needs to be a “D’uh. Of course. Why didn’t I think of that?

By Rick Clanton, Principal ( 

PLEASE!... don’t let this happen to you.

Too many builders and architects start pulling out plans and say “you know, we can do this for you… this is how we do it”.

But you know, too many architects show two or three houses, which are all pretty much the same and not what the client wants.

What I try to do is get the client to understand, and I do this totally differently.

How can I convince you that my desire is to give you just what you want and add into that my experience and my talent and the talents of my organization?

I do that not in a forceful way but in a way that offers you options that maybe you hadn't thought off before… so that you can choose, a choice that will pass the test of time.

If you were looking to build that once-in-a-lifetime dream house, you know… the ONE…
…and you asked me…

What, then, are the 5 mistakes that people make when they're looking at comparing architects?

What mistakes would you advise me against making?

Well, we are in a unique place here where there are lots of good choices.

I've got friends that are architects here in the Hilton Head Island area that if you just stumble in to their office you're going to be treated pretty well I think, and but then again you might think that what they're going to offer you is very limited.

Here’s how to avoid that, and some answers to your questions.

Mistake #1: Not Making Sure That Your Architect Understands What You're Looking For

So I think the first thing, before they really know what YOU want, is that they show you plans or they show you what they did and they're saying “this is what we can give you”.

So, the first mistake to avoid making is make sure that your architect understands what YOU are looking for. Make sure your architect is listening.

Don’t you make these Mistakes. Allow me to have a no-stress no-obligation conversation with you before you make your final architect or builder selection.

Give me a call personally at 843-689-9060. When you call, ask for a complimentary copy of my eBook: “The 5 Mistakes People Make When Choosing An Architect”

Mistake #2: Looking At Ideas Too Soon

And then probably another mistake is that you start looking at ideas too soon. You start looking at solutions to the problem before you've identified the problem.

But the first thing we do that almost no other architect does, we spend a tremendous amount of time using words rather than drawings.

In school I learned about mental programming and visualization. Now, we carefully lay out what identifies the problem using words rather than drawings, because as soon as you start looking at a drawing, you get excited about the contour the visual concept.

But then the emotion kicks in. And there goes your choices.

When looking at a house another architect has done, we're looking at the interiors, for example. There's a king-size bed that is just dwarfed in these huge rooms. There's no good way to furnish it. If a design has an 80 inch television in the bedroom to watch television from bed, maybe you don't watch television from bed! But then why is the room so big? There's no way to properly furnish the room.

And that says to me that you didn't make sure the architect understood what it was you were looking for. But the architect was just doing a drawing that was going to result in an elevation and a happy client once they started looking at drawings and getting excited.

Mistake #3: Putting Too Much Trust In The Wrong People

And that's another thing. You need to realize that no builder has the skills necessary or the experience necessary, no matter how many houses they've built, to service a client without a team.

You know, wealthy people generally have very few people that they trust. Very frequently they trust the wrong people. And you can see it and how their lives are managed. We see it.

You know frequently it's an interior designer who just loads it up with the things that computer designers make lots of money on, and you can see instantly that the owner is trusting the wrong person.

So that is Mistake number three: trusting the wrong person.

I say, always listen to the most pessimistic person in the room. If somebody says it's not going to work, that's probably the person you should listen to. Don’t get sucked in by boundless optimism and enthusiasm.

And if you'd been sitting in the room, you might have been saying “well, I don't know if we quite accomplished all that”. Which is why the team is so important. That’s really important to have the right team members.

We did a house we called The Todd house that we just finished. We kept that team together… the Builder, the interior designer, the architect. I counseled the
owner to form that team really early before the design was even set and we kept that team together. We met all the time. The owner was there when we met.

We would very seldom meet with just one team member because hearing everything the team had to say, that really was key. When you're starting you know exactly what it is you're going to give them. At the end it's going to be a face-to-face interview or something like that.

Don’t you make these Mistakes. Allow me to have a no-stress no-obligation conversation with you before you make your final architect or builder selection.

Give me a call personally at 843-689-9060. When you call, ask for a complimentary copy of my eBook: “The 5 Mistakes People Make When Choosing An Architect”

Mistake #4: Losing Sight of The Initial Concept

Then another mistake is losing sight of the initial concept. That’s part of my job, as the architect, to keep you, the owner, reminded of what YOUR initial concept is.

To stay on target sometimes you have to bring out the pictures that you brought to the first meeting and said this is what you are trying to do. Any snap decision that you're trying to make takes you away from that concept.

You know, do you want to take that conscious step away from your initial concept?

And you know, in that initial concept, a lot of houses you can't see a clear vision. But the houses that you walk into, the buildings you walk into where that clear vision is obvious, they're pretty powerful. You know, with the Todd house, I think I've said this several times, a lot of the things they're just so obvious. Like – duh! And that's a good thing.

In the Todd house… they had this million-dollar view. Well, the bed faces the view as they lay in bed. But how many people do that? I mean you know you just think every house would be that way. So, you know you don't want to miss those moments in a house by trying to be different.

Most houses that are sold are sold as original or copies of something else. And I can usually go and show you what they were copied from. I mean, you know they're not mini-designed secrets out there, especially not with Pinterest.

Mistake #5: Not Understanding The Process

Another issue is you totally misunderstanding the process after the contract is signed.

I recently heard a builder say that many people would come to him and say that it seemed like it was taking an awfully long time to get this house up. I know why they said that. They said that because they're thinking that because they don't see a roof under shingles, you're not making any progress.

I think that much of what we do, before we ever deliver set of plans or concepts to a client, is done behind the scenes that they don't have any clue how much work we're actually putting into it.

It's like a skyscraper. Someone will spend a year just developing the plans, getting the approvals, coming up with various concepts, testing soils, checking perks, all of that before they ever break ground and begin to put in the foundation.

But if someone looked at that they might think “wow, it's been a year since they got that contractor. They haven't even broken ground yet!”

Don’t you make these Mistakes. Allow me to have a no-stress no-obligation conversation with you before you make your final architect or builder selection.

Give me a call personally at 843-689-9060. Take a quick look at our website before you do. When you call, ask for a complimentary copy of my eBook: “The 5 Mistakes People Make When Choosing An Architect”
I’ll help you avoid those deadly 5 Mistakes!

Rick Clanton
Group3 Designs
An Architectural Firm In Hilton Head Island, SC

© Copyright 2018 Group3 Designs All Rights Reserved

Converging Styles

SC Homes & Gardens Magazine (December 2006)
Text: Penny Starr.
Photography: Richard Leo Johnson Architect: Group 3 Design
Builder: T.D. Reese Construction
Landscape design: Pat Carthauser

A wealth of words can be used to describe Lynne and Bert Einloth's Colleton River home, with its stunning lagoon views from almost every room, an interior accented with beautiful antiques, original art, architectural features and decorative details that create a stately yet cozy atmosphere. Add to that Lynne's talent as a professional interior designer and a long list of artists and artisans who contributed their skills to the mix, and the result is definitely one-of-a-kind.

"It's certainly not your typical home," says architect Rick Clanton of Group 3 Design on Hilton Head Island. "It's definitely what Lynne and Bert wanted.
"We just clicked," Lynn says of collaborating with Clanton. "He's delightful to work with."

Clanton describes the exterior of the 3,900-square-foot home as "English country," with an "arts and crafts" feel inside. Lynne calls the home's style "eclectic Cotswold."

No matter how you characterize it, though, the home undoubtedly reflects the lifestyle and tastes of its owners, from the lush courtyard at the entry showcasing Lynne's green thumb, to Bert's large, comfortable and tastefully appointed home office--accessible through a "secret" doorway in the master bedroom's walk-in closet.

It was Clanton's work, in fact, that helped persuade Lynne to agree to move here from the couple's home in Stamford, Conn. While touring Colleton River, she saw another Group 3 Design home. "I said, "If I can have a home like that, I will move here,' " Lynne recalls.

The Einloths moved into their home, built by T.D. Reese Construction and landscaped by Pat Carthauser, two years ago.

In planning their home, Lynne put into practice what she advises her own clients to do. "I literally just tore pages from magazines."

She also brought some of her most treasured art pieces and furniture to incorporate into the home's decor, including an Oriental jardiniere dating to the 1800s, a French refectory table also from the 1800s, French ladder back chairs, and a hand-painted coffee table from Brazil.

In the dining room, an English stone base with high relief serves as the base of the beveled glass table, and Italianate hand-painted sconces decorate the walls. The master bedroom features an heirloom Empire style table from the early Victorian era that belonged to Lynne's grandmother and a late 1800s linen press that now is used to house a television.

In almost every room, two of Lynne's favorite things are prominent: original paintings and tassels. Ranging from simple to luxurious, the tassels can be found on lamps, cabinet doors and other more whimsical locations. "I love tassels," Lynne says. "They're like the icing on the cake. They take an ordinary piece and dress it up."

In the great room, one painting is installed above the dining nook in place of draperies, and in the guest room parlor, another painting is hung strategically on a cabinet that is disguised as another wall-like space. Paintings aren't the only art in the Einloth home. Beverly Elmore of Decorative Faux Finishes is responsible for the varying styles of faux finishes on the walls in many rooms, including the powder room, the bookshelf wall in the dining room and the ceiling in Bert's office. Artist Nancy Mitchell painted floral designs on the ceilings of both guest rooms. Even the floors of the dining room feature artistic talent. Concrete Design of Savannah provided the acid-washed and scored cement floors in a checkerboard design.

Clanton says one of the most unique aspects of the house design reflects the Einloths' love of entertaining family and friends. "They didn't want a living room," he says. Lynne adds it's a room that rarely gets used.

So the large and airy entry into the Einloth home, with a lagoon view, leads through a wine room to the heart of the home--a warm and spacious kitchen and great room. The kitchen features a huge island that also serves as a dining table, and acid-washed granite counter tops. Both the wine room and the kitchen boast copper sinks, and the island also is covered with copper.

Family portraits dot the top of an antique baby grand piano, located in one corner of the cathedral-ceiling great room, with richly stained beams arching across it.

The color scheme throughout the home includes ochre, "driftwood" grays and browns, onyx and pearl white, with bright accent colors. The guest room parlor is what Lynne calls her "whimsical" room, painted in three shades of green with brightly colored furniture and decor.

While much of the home could fit into the English cottage theme, there are many Asian touches throughout, from Chinese wedding boxes to the parasols that Lynne configured as a light fixture in the guest sitting room."Someone once said I would be drawn to (Asian styles) and I said no," Lynne recalls. "But it happened."

Clanton says the process from drawing board to dream home includes asking his clients to make of "wish list" and he begins sketches from there. Then the sketches are refined to reflect the final design. "It's very much an evolutionary process," he says.

Looking out of the master bedroom window with its sweeping view of the lagoon and a northeast exposure that lights up the space with bright sunshine, Lynn says it's a process that created exactly the home they hoped for.

"We love this vista," she says. "It's marvelous."

Custom Comfort

With its tranquil setting the property has its own gurgling backyard stream, and foxes, deer, and many birds are frequent visitors — the property begged a house that embraced the outdoors as much as the architecture. For that part of the design, Hankin had the perfect model in mind.

"Frank Lloyd Wright has always been an inspiration to me," he says. "I am a civil engineer, as was my father, and even as a small boy, I remember being transfixed by images of Fallingwater in my father's books. I later read that Wright's background was civil engineering as well, and I thought that I could someday build as he had."

During the design phase, Hankin made a pilgrimage of sorts to the western Pennsylvania landmark cantilevered over a waterfall on Bear Run. The trip's influence on the final version was both general — the seamless flow of indoor and outdoor spaces and extensive use of wood, slate and stone — and specific — the horizontal mullions on the windows and precast concrete exterior elements modeled after Fallingwater.

From the design phase through completion, the project took three years, including 15 months of construction. Hankin collaborated with a team that included Ruegamer; Ruegamer's father, Gene, a semi-retired interior designer and architect; Hankin's superintendent Roger Rhoads Sr., who managed the construction; and Lisa Farina, landscape architect for The Brickman Group, a full-service design, construction and maintenance company based in Langhorne. The team worked from the ground up — even the original house's foundation needed attention. Hankin had to increase the height by almost two feet, so the front of the house, which was formerly sunken, would be at ground level. "It was a work in progress," Hankin says. "As we were building it, the drawings were continually changing."

Hankin was unwilling to leave any stone unturned — quite literally. He visited a number of quarries before finding the right type of rock for the house's facade at the D'Amico Quarry in Avondale, and waited three months to find a solid piece of stone to create a bridge across a pond in the front yard. He also used huge boulders from another of his construction sites, a corporate center being built in Spring Valley, to add drama to the landscape design.
"When we placed the boulders in the back, Bob came home in a panic," Farina recalls. "'It looks like meteors fell,' he said. We told him, 'Just wait until it's done.' And once we built up the soil, they turned out fine."

Now the property beckons with a Japanese-inspired garden and a pond stocked with koi and goldfish, complemented by mature pine and sweet bay trees and anchored by those huge boulders. A cornerstone — a remnant from a building his father built in Paoli in 1953 — sits half-buried in a small copse of trees near the front of the house. A bench and a statue sit next to it, creating what Hankin calls "a small and unexpected sanctuary."


The areas around the house are orderly and almost Japanese in style, with such plantings as an Oriental spruce and Lacebark pine, to contrast with the woods behind the property. Views of the sylvan backyard are framed in every window, and the connection to nature is complete and serene.

The landscaping's sense of Zen is but a small extension of the interior design, which plays up Hankin's appreciation for all things Asian. The house has a minimalist aesthetic, and the first floor doubles as a guest room and Hankin's meditation space.

His extensive travels include an inspirational trip to Mongolia and India with noted Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman. Asian-inspired design touches range from the high-tech (two bathrooms are equipped with a Japanese Toto Washlet heated toilet complete with heated seats and built-in bidets) to the traditional (a Buddha statue graces the living room).

Hankin likes to have casual dinners with friends around a low, 52-inch square table in the living room whose seats are silk-covered floor cushions. "My ideal would be a loft space, so in a sense I tried to bring that quality into it," he says.
The first floor's open plan radiates from a two-story living room furnished with contemporary pieces, including two bright red Ribbon chairs from Minima. A dramatic fireplace is faced in Volga Blue granite and stretches 16 feet high. The adjacent kitchen has custom cabinets made of anigre wood, sleek black granite counters and Miele appliances that were chosen as much for their modern good looks as for their features. A row of hidden storage nooks keeps clutter out of sight.

"I'm really fastidious about the finished product, both in regard to design and workmanship, and I'm willing to reconstruct things to get it right," says Hankin. In the end, that dedication proved worthwhile. "I think I achieved pretty much what I wanted," he says, ticking off the setting, the natural light and the contrast of material as favored elements.

"Being a builder, I knew I would have regrets if I wasn't careful, so I really took my time."

Black & White: Neutral doesn’t have to be “blah”

Lowcountry Living (January 2008)
by Stephanie Burt Williams
Photography by John McManus

Modern homeowners often resort to a too-easy solution for a relaxing home: a neutral color scheme so everything “goes.” Mike Ruegamer of Group 3 Design designed this room (in a Hilton Head home) so that it's airy, bright and neutral but definitely not boring. He started with the traditionally modern palette of black and white and softened it into the tones of a faded black-and-white-photograph; the result is a master bedroom that is serene and traditional with a modern touch.

Design Tips

1. The iron bed creates an open feeling (no solid headboard and footboard), and its deep black color provides some richness to the room.2. Plantation shutters filter the light and add an architectural element while at the same time blending into the background.

3. The toile fabric acts as an anchor for the design, but Ruegamer didn't overdo it with draperies on each window; he instead chose to feature the fabric in the focal points of the French doors and the bedding.

4. To create a designed look like this room has, avoid pieces that match, instead opting for different natural textures: wood, sweetgrass, iron.

5. Avoid stark whites and choose a variety of creamy hues, including the pale grey-green paint on the wall, Benjamin Moore #1570.