Architect's Gem of a Modern Home is Featured in Charleston Magazine

Whitney Powers transforms an ordinary 1970s house into a framework for life.

June 21, 2012 (Charleston, SC) – Whitney Powers, AIA, is an award-winning Charleston architect known for her ability to juxtapose modern-day amenities in and around old and historic contexts without sacrificing a sense of the structure's original integrity. She used all those skills on her own home, which is featured in the July edition of Charleston Magazine.

Powers, principal and founder of Studio A Architecture, Inc., describes the 1200-square-foot, 1970s brick house on Gadsden Street that she and her husband, the late Edwin Gardner, bought 12 years ago as originally “rather grim... The lack of delicacy was rampant.”

But one quality allowed her to see beyond the house’s present into its future as their home, she says: sunlight streaming in from all directions. Like many Charleston houses, the first floor of Powers’ “ugly duckling” was a half-story above ground, “so the light coming in was remarkable.”

For Charleston Magazine’s home editor Ellen McGauley, Powers described the process she and her family went through to transform this dreary house into a modern home that proves “small spaces can be comfortable and not claustrophobic." Their only addition was a small terrace off the kitchen. And they turned the small backyard into a cozy get-away for their daughter, Olive, who is now 13.

“That was always Edwin’s concern,” she told McGauley, “that when [Olive] became a teenager, she’d retreat elsewhere in search of her own space. So we carved out a place of her own.”

She also tells the story of how a mouse who stole a gift out from under her Christmas tree a year ago finally inspired her to renovate the petite kitchen.

The feature includes a collection of photographs of Powers’ home by Peter Frank Edwards. To read the entire article, go to Click on “Current Issue” then on “Featured Homes: Retro Fit.”

About Whitney Powers, AIA:

Whitney Powers, AIA, LEED AP, founded Studio A, Inc. in downtown Charleston, SC, in 1989, as a full-service architectural firm that proposes that the responsibility of architecture is to cultivate a language of form that promotes a sustainable culture and landscape, and that touches the emotions of delight, surprise and wonder. From cutting-edge contemporary architecture to the preservation and restoration of historic homes, structures and sites, Studio A is committed to an interactive relationship between the natural and built environments, conservation of energy and natural resources, and an appreciation for a “sense of place” where living, working and playing are connected with the specific idiosyncrasies of culture, climate and natural landscape where they take place. For more information visit


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