We are opening March 1, 2018

When we started this project almost 4 years ago, we had no idea it would take us this long to get here, but we did know that we wanted to put our heart and souls into this project.  Bill has looked at plans and created custom doors for twenty years, we have renovated two homes, but this is our first building built from the ground up.  

Our initial thanks goes to the Nelson and Washington familes, Pastor Hicks and Mount Nebo Church of the Living Christ, and the City of North Charleston.  Without their belief in this project, nothing would have happened.  

Thank you to Bruce Berlinsky and his legal secretary Betsy Scott with the Berklinsky Law Firm for helping us close the purchase of the land and our loan with SC Community Loan Fund (huge shoutout to SC Community Loan Fund, their faith in our project, and willingness to work with newbie developers). 

For the building, we started by working with Christopher Liberatos and Jenny Bevan of Bevan & Liberatos, who helped us envision how we could build an open floor plan with human proportions.  Architect John Crouch of Oceana Design LLC used his experience with metal buildings and turned our ideas into a flexible space which can accomodate the workspace needs for Bill's Custom Woodworking and Carolina Cabinetry & Millwork along with a second floor space for craftspeople, artisans, and tinkerers.  Matt Cline with Cline Engineering made certain our site plan was compliant with local regulations and designed to accomdate two buildings, parking, and storm water.  Larry Kennerty with Kennerty Surveying helped us through all of the surveying necessary for rezoning, replatting, and siting the building.   

Defining Craftsmanship

The Workshops at Howard Heights joins several other craftspeople in the area, such as Cooper Ironworks and Mastercraft Upholstery, as the southern entry point of North Charleston's "craftsmanship zone."

We embrace the concept of craftsmanship and the craftsman, but want to be clear about what this often overused, marketing term means to us in day to day life.   

Craftsmanship as less about what is made and more about how it is made. Reaching across sectors, craftsmanship can be practiced by the individual maker of doors, upholstery, ironwork, bread, beer or spirits, cutting boards, clothing, high end lighting, mattresses, all of it up to the latest airplanes. Craftspeople are creators at heart, defined by their action rather than taglines or claims.   With a willingness to get into the details, working, learning, and refining, craftsmanship is about being creative for creation's sake. 

Craftsmanship stands on the hands and ideas of its craftspeople.  While some say they can feel the energy of the humanity behind craftsmanship, everyone should able to see its evidence with its warranty and customization.  Craftsmanship is always evolving.  It is about the journey more than the destination: a process rather than a production. Craftspeople stand behind their work because their work is a representation of their effort and also because feedback improves the next iteration.  

Craftsmanship loves the "one off."  The customization of craftsmanship sets it apart from mass production. This does not mean that craftspeople cannot offer a line of products, but it does mean that craftsmen are more than happy to customize and tweak their work to meet a client's needs.  Whether it is personalizing an item by tweaking it or working from a unique set of plans, customization is possible because craftsmanship is about serving and responding to its market versus requiring the marketplace to acquiesce.  

Craftsmanship is not always more expensive.  A true craftsman is happy to explain and justify their costs.  Advertising campaigns love to drop the word "craftsmanship"into their product descriptions and then demand higher prices. There is no doubt that hand crafted items loose the economies of scale found in mass production, but do not assume that craftsmanship is always more expensive.  Make the call, email, or visit and ask.  A true craftsperson and company with pride of craftsmanship can explain how their prices are derived and demonstrate the costs of materials, labor, and overhead that factors into their prices. They may also be able to offer ways to lower costs by choosing different materials, increasing production, or scaling back details. When comparing prices, make certain you are comparing apples to apples and use the accessibility of your local craftsperson to ask them questions. 

At its core, craftsmanship is about relationship: the maker and their craft, the craftsman and their client, and the craft and the world in which it functions. If you have a need that you cannot fill on your own, broaden your search to find a craftsperson who meets that need, take the time to get to know them, allow them to get to know you and your needs, and let the options begin.