Q&A with Nichiha Territory Manager Brandon Tart


Check out what Nichiha’s Brandon Tart is seeing with modern design trends in North and South Carolina.

Q&A with Brandon 

Q: How would you describe the current modern home landscape in the Carolinas?

A: Modern design is a growing segment in the design community. There are several markets within the Carolinas where I am seeing increased growth in modern homes being built including Charleston, Raleigh, Wilmington, Asheville, and Charlotte. I am enjoying seeing these types of home spring up against the more traditional craftsman style found in the South.

Q: What are the top modern design trends you are seeing architects and custom homebuilders incorporating into their homes?

A: Most recently, I have noticed architects and builders incorporating large store front windows, large sliding glass doors, metal trim with fiber cement panels, and ship lapped siding. All of these items seem to be trending in the modern design landscape and show signs of remaining in modern homes over the next several years.  

Q: What draws homeowners to modern design?

A: Homeowners are drawn to modern design for many of the things that define modern design. They love the simplicity, the clean lines, and the open floor plans. Most importantly what I am hearing is that they want to be different than the typical new construction builds that are on the market. That drive to have something different translates well into modern design. The exterior of your house really says something about your personality just as a piece of art would. Modern design offers a distinct contemporary look with sharp lines, expanded use of glass windows and often white on white exteriors. Compared to the amount of traditional homes found in North and South Carolina, the percentage of modern designs is relatively small, so not only does it stand out as a unique design, it also stands out as one of the very few homes that is different.

Q: What types of cladding materials do you typically see used in modern designs?

A: Well of course I see fiber cement the most since I work for Nichiha! On occasion though, I also see stucco and metal being used as modern cladding materials. I think fiber cement stands out above other types of materials because it offers a wide range of styles and is built to stand up against every day wear and tear. Fiber cement is resistant to rotting, warping and pests making it an excellent choice for homebuilders and homeowners alike.

Q: Why are architects and custom homebuilders designing modern with Nichiha Architectural Wall Panels?

A: A lot of architects I work with are choosing to design with Nichiha Architectural Wall Panels because of the versatility offered with the panel styles. They are able to use the look of concrete, wood or metal, while also having the benefits of fiber cement. Nichiha Architectural Wall Panels provide a built-in rainscreen for moisture management and this is a feature that stands out within the building community. The highly-engineered rainscreen wicks moisture away from the house using an air channel to dry the envelope. This is important to help protect the house and maintain the exterior.  

Q: What words of advice do you share with your architects who are choosing to design modern with Nichiha?

A: I often educate architects on the benefits of designing with a rainscreen system. I share with them how Nichiha allows modern design to take shape while being backed by a highly-engineered system. Nichiha is easily installed with a hidden clip installation system, allowing it to come to life quickly while maintaining the clean lines that are so important to modern design. I also help residential architects minimize waste of the panels by working with them throughout the design process.

Q: Describe a couple of your favorite modern homes projects and what made them stand out above the rest

A: One home that I really enjoyed seeing come to life was on Cleary Lane in Charleston. This house used Nichiha EmpireBlock to obtain the look of precast concrete block. It was a cool design that stood out against the landscape in a traditional neighborhood.

Another modern home that is one of my favorite designs is in Charleston and was designed by architect and owner of Holz Design Group Laura Schonholz. This was actually her house that she was designing and it incorporated both Nichiha EmpireBlock and ArchitecturalBlock. I loved that she created a Charleston Single-Style house with a modern exterior. Charleston Home + Design Magazine recently featured the home in their publication and on their blog.   

A third house I really like is in Charleston on Morrison Street. The house features Nichiha VintageWood as an accent against a stucco exterior. The wood really adds warmth to the coolness of the stucco and helps bring out the clean lines of the home.

Q: What do you see happening in the future market of modern home design?

A: The future of modern design show signs of continued growth. I see more designers using several different cladding styles on the exteriors of their modern houses while still mainlining a clean feel. I think modern design will continue to increase in popularity with more traditional designers seeking to design modern. In fact, one day the Carolina home design landscape could look more like California. In California the more standard design has turned to modern and contemporary with traditional taking the backseat. I am not sure if the percentage of modern homes in the Carolinas will be to the extent as it is in California, but it will begin to climb to a larger amount and eventually be considered more of the norm.