Allen Patterson of Allen Patterson Builders in Beaufort, South Carolina, shares helpful advice.

Thinking about moving to the South? Not sure what to expect as a new homeowner? Wondering why everyone falls head over heels for porches, large kitchens, and open floor plans? Searching for the right materials to build your dream home in the Lowcountry? We spoke with Allen Patterson of Allen Patterson Builders in Beaufort, South Carolina, member of the Southern Living Custom Builder Program, who has been building in the area for 17 years. Here's some of his best tips for living in the Lowcountry.

Welcome to Habersham

Allen Patterson Builders have been building in Habersham, a Southern Living inspired community, for years and are now experiencing an influx of new homeowners settling into the area. In Habersham you'll find a quaint neighborly town with shops and restaurants all within walking distance of the residences. It's a town with roads that were planned around its 100-year-old live oak trees. "When you drive through the community you feel as if you're on a movie set," says Allen, which is a bonus for the many individuals moving to the area for its laidback community and economical living. Allen noted how residents love "the large front porches and sidewalks that facilitate bringing the neighborhood together. They will walk their dogs and end up chatting in yards along the way which really gives the neighborhood that Southern family feeling." 

Perfectly fitting to the neighborhood, Allen Patterson Builders have been busy building the Southern Living house plan SL-2054, The Loudon, throughout Habersham. Thanks to these experts, it features all the integral aspects of a home you want when building in the Lowcountry!

What to know before building

Allen stated that "Beaufort is a destination market that sees a lot of people coming from outside of the South to build, so we take our time in the process to show them what works and why when building in the South, unlike other places because many have never lived in the region." Allen explained the importance of environmental and purposeful design when building in the South to combat humidity, hurricanes, and those pesty little mosquitos. 

Choose the right materials

Allen noted that what people want when coming to build can often differ from what should be built to last. This is rooted in finding building materials that work for the environmental elements, which might mean not using those beloved cedar shingles in the Lowcountry or you'll end up with cracked and blown away shingles within a year. Allen said, "We rely heavily on James Hardie for all our siding because it is well made and cost effective to weather the storms the Lowcountry sees during hurricane season." Allen Patterson Builders aim to design homes that are maintenance free, which might mean a higher cost upfront but an easier upkeep!

Prioritize the porch

If we are talking about exteriors, we have to talk PORCHES! Many who have relocated from other parts of the country are not familiar with the way Southerners use their 'outdoor living room' as long as the weather will allow them. From early spring to late fall, the porch is where to be. Better yet, a screened porch helps keep bugs and pollen away. The finer the mesh, the better the pollen management. Another Southern trick to keep mosquitos away is a pale blue porch ceiling which doubles as a stylish touch for your outdoor space.

screen in porch for yearlong living of The Loudon house in Habersham southern living inspired community
Credit: Laurey Glenn

Allen noted they place a strong emphasis on "usability for every porch of a home," which is why on many you'll often find a fireplace for those chilly nights and a fan to provide a nice breeze on hot summer days, giving your porch yearlong usage. Or you might create your own breeze on a porch swing or in a rocking chair— must-haves for the complete Southern-style. When building your porch, you'll want the right proportions— the sweet spot is 8 feet minimum, deep enough for good shade, but not too deep to completely block the sun. 

front porch with rocking chairs on porch of house in Habersham southern living inspired community
Credit: Kathryn Lott

Consider the kitchen

The kitchen is the true hub of the home. It is now encouraged to invite your guest into your kitchen as an all-in-one gathering space. As we have adjusted to new routines brought on by 2020, we have also adapted new ways of using our homes— specifically the kitchen. And modern design trends call for maximizing function and style. 

open floor plan kitchen and dining of the Loudon house plan in southern living inspired living community Habersham
Credit: Laurey Glenn

There are so many wonderful reasons to love to this area. Tell us why you love the Lowcountry lifestyle.