Pelican's Flight Drive, Dewees Island, South Carolina
A 1,400 square foot island residence surrounded by 1,600 square feet of screened porches and decks.
Every human artifact stands in marked contrast to the wildness of the place. In such a setting, the McDevitt house is conceived as a minimal outpost or camp. A broadmetal hipped roof and wide, encircling screened porches provide a basic refuge from the elements. Suspended within this shelter are two stacked levels - sleeping and bathing areas down in the shelter of the trees, kitchen and living room up above the treetops. The exterior walls are a curtain like series of glass doors, to allow the whole house to be opened up to cooling sea breezes. Wood piles that soar to the roof level echo the trunks of surrounding palmettos and live oaks.
Dewees Island is a vulnerable spit of land, much of it wetlands, seemingly on loan from the sea. Accessible only by boat, the island has been preserved in its wild, natural state. The maritime forest is rugged, with large wind-shorn trees bent into bonsai shapes and thick jungles of native vegetation. The marshes teem with fish and birds. To preserve the wilderness character of the place, highly restrictive covenants allow only a very small percentage of each lot to be disturbed or altered in any way.