Architecture & Design // 1 min Read

Architectural Vernacular in the Lowcountry

Written by Palmetto Bluff

What does the word vernacular mean to you? That’s the question that Daves Rossell, an architectural history professor at Savannah College of Art and Design, asked as he opened his lecture. Among the answers given were: traditional, indigenous, of a specific time and a specific location, and local. Rossell confirmed that these were all correct, but the question that he set out to answer was: how do you apply the word vernacular to architecture in the Lowcountry? It begins with looking at vernacular qualities and analyzing why they have remained unchanged throughout history.

Vernacular qualities can be defined as common features that don’t catch our attention from a distance and are often overlooked due to their frequent usage. Think about that medallion around your chandelier mounting, or your neighbor’s raised house, or your parents’ cherished wraparound porch. All of these are common features of Lowcountry homes that are rare finds in the north. If you take a stroll around Charleston, you might notice that many of the homes have side porches that operate as both a place to “porch” as well as their entryway. Conversely, Savannah homes also have side porches, however they are used solely as a porch, with their front door located on the street-facing side of the home. These differences are derived from the cultures that have migrated over time. (Not exactly sure what you’re trying to say here…?) Savannah-style homes are also well-known for displaying Caribbean influences and are easy to spot if you know what to look for.

There is no debate about the tradition that lives within the Lowcountry, but it goes well beyond the biscuits and fried chicken. Next time you’re in Savannah, spend some time in the neighborhoods on the border of the city like Frogtown, Currytown, and Waynesville. These areas specialize in Lowcountry architectural vernaculars and will grow your appreciation of this wonderful place we get to call home.

Food & Wine
A Freshly Picked Summer Recipe

What’s more “summer” than tomatoes from the garden? Or, in Palmetto Bluff’s case–tomatoes from The Farm? We asked our newest addition to the Palmetto Bluff Club’s culinary team, Chef Beth, to share a classic summer staple from her library of recipes: Fattouche...

Jul 2024

Meet Palmetto Bluff Club Members Pat and Patti Henry

How did you two meet? Patti: We actually met in college but never dated. We went to Auburn University and both moved to Atlanta after graduation. He was in graduate school at Emory, and I worked as a nurse at Emory’s Children’s Hospital. Pat: Our friend grou...

Jul 2024

Your Complete Guide to Palmetto Bluff’s Waterways

Boat The Bluff: South Carolina Waterways Imagine gliding through serene, glassy waters surrounded by lush marshlands and maritime forests. Welcome to Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina—a paradise for nature enthusiasts, water sports aficionados, and anyone seekin...

Jul 2024

Oh My Stars And Stripes

Photography by Charlotte Zacharkiw The fourth of July is the highlight of the Palmetto Bluff calendar. Follow along with the Truslow family on this magical summer day.  Neal and Lauren Truslow come to Palmetto Bluff as often as they can. Their kids...

Jun 2024

Preserving Paradise: The Mission of the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy

Protecting Nature and History at Palmetto Bluff In the heart of South Carolina's Lowcountry lies Palmetto Bluff, a sanctuary of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant ecosystems. Since its establishment in 2003, the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy has been dedi...

Jun 2024

Slow Boat to Beaufort

Photography by Gately Williams Cruise Control Palmetto Bluff lies at the heart of the vast network of rivers and creeks that connect the South Carolina Lowcountry’s barrier islands. A stone’s throw from the notable cultural and historic hubs of Savannah, B...

Jun 2024

Real Estate
Behind the Bluff: A Journey with Palmetto Bluff Real Estate Sales Executive Tracy Schyberg

Tracy’s Journey to Palmetto Bluff Real Estate Situated in the heart of Bluffton, South Carolina, Palmetto Bluff is more than just a community—it's a place of magic and wonder. For Tracy Schyberg, a dedicated sales executive with the Palmetto Bluff Real Estate...

Jun 2024

Architecture & Design
Your Complete Guide to Lowcountry Landscaping

Enhancing Coastal Living With Lowcountry Landscaping Trends The Lowcountry lies along the southeastern coast of the United States, a region known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and unique culture. From the charming streets of Charleston to the...

Jun 2024

Real Estate
Neighborhood Spotlight: Moreland Forest

Palmetto Bluff Real Estate Available in Moreland Forest Nestled in the heart of the Lowcountry, Moreland Forest is a charming neighborhood known for its beautiful natural surroundings, Lowcountry architecture, and luxurious amenities. Within the lush forests ...

Jun 2024

Real Estate
Real Estate Sales Report: Palmetto Bluff’s First Quarter Update

Real Estate in Bluffton SC: Trends, Updates, and Insights Positioned amidst the serene Lowcountry landscape of South Carolina, Palmetto Bluff stands as a beacon of luxury and natural beauty, attracting discerning homebuyers seeking an unparalleled lifestyle. ...

May 2024


Sign up for our newsletter

Community Villages
Palmetto Bluff Club
On The Water
The Arts Initiative
About Us