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Fishing Cottage Relocation and Renovation

Project Location:


Whitemarsh Island

Savannah, GA



Type of Services:


Architecture, Engineering, Rezoning


Date Completed:





2017 AIA Savannah Merit Award

2018 AIA Georgia People's Choice Award





This fishing cottage on Whitemarsh Island adapted an existing waterfront residence that had significantly deteriorated into a new residence on the same footprint. Only several feet from the marsh, the previous house was set on low piers, had been covered in vinyl, and was suffering from moisture damage. A frame house with familial ties and significant interior woodwork, framing members and wood paneling was salvaged from the existing house for reuse in the creation of a new structure.

Maintaining a small footprint on the same site, the new house was able to remain in close proximity to the marsh. Raised to a higher elevation, the new cottage is set on taller piers and incorporates two generous porches. One porch wraps around the house’s northwest corner, providing ample seating room and gathering space as well as a covered entry to those approaching from the adjacent driveway. The other capitalizes on the house’s front gable with a full height screen enclosure, capturing 180 degree views of the marsh and the property’s adjacent pier and dock. The house’s roof framing carries out into these areas, incorporating wide eaves and exposed rafter tails into the porch ceiling. The baluster features a cable rail system, providing minimal visual obtrusion and the integration of a modern design detail.

Through the addition of the porches, the house’s open interior floor plan, paired with a compact design program, allowed it to retain its minimal footprint, an important ecological and aesthetic consideration along Savannah’s coastal waterways. Framing the house’s open kitchen-living area concept are timbers and wall paneling salvaged from the previous dwelling, stained and refurbished for reuse. Throughout the house, these reused architectural elements provide a warmth to the interior, which features coastal details to include finishes in sea greens and blues. Along exterior walls, paired windows and doors with transoms give generous light to interior spaces, while interior sliding doors allow for maximized interior floor space and the incorporation of salvaged wood paneling. Similarly, the bedroom floor reuses wood flooring from the previous dwelling. 

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