cumulus : “a cloud with noticeable vertical development and clearly defined edges”

  • photos by Jason Layne

Abby Freeman Lesslie, RA, LEED BD+C

role: architect, designer, project architect
experience: 2005 - present
education: nc state university, bachelor of architecture
nc state university, bachelor of environmental design

Robbie Lesslie, RA

role: architect, designer, project manager
experience: 2005 - present
education: nc state university, masters of architecture
appalachian state university, bachelor construction management

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how they met

They met on the breezeway of NC State University’s College of Design. Abby was working on her bachelors of architecture and Robbie, his masters. The work ethic and design sensibilities engrained in both of them during their years at school would later inspire them to found their own architecture firm.

how they met (again)

Upon graduation, Abby accepted a position in Barcelona Spain while Robbie finalized his masters at the Prague institute of Architecture in the Czech Republic. Unbeknownst to each other, Abby and Robbie each found their way to Charleston SC, allured by the charms of low country living within a city heavily influenced by European architecture. Abby began her work in the commercial architecture firm of ls3p, Robbie in the custom residential firm of Christopher Rose architects.

After several years designing architecture in and around the Charleston area, the two found each other again. Contrary to rational thought and planning, they were inspired leave their jobs, get married in Costa Rica and spend the next several months traveling throughout Europe. It seemed like this allowed them endless time to slow down and ask some defining questions such as; what are they most passionate about? And why have they been led to architecture in the first place?

why "cumulus"?

It was during a hike, high in the clouds along the cliffs of the Italian coastline, that the answers to these questions revealed themselves and cumulus was founded. They both are most passionate about creative design and listening to others. They both happen to be architects. The concept is simple; listen to the dream of another and help them visualize it.

creating for others

Since the founding of cumulus in 2011, Robbie and Abby have been honing their craft helping others realize their dreams of building and renovating their homes throughout the Charleston, Kiawah Island, Mt. Pleasant and New York City areas. While their work has taken them to places they once did not think possible, the one defining element that remains constant is their passion of listening to and creating for others.

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A little more about Abby and Robbie

what do you see out your window right now?

( r ) the top of a palmetto tree
( a ) church spires, tourists, hawaiian ice vendor, rooftops

what is your most prized possession?

( r )  asher, my german shorthaired pointer – is it right to call her a possession?
( a ) the thousands of photos I take on trips

compulsive behaviors:

( r ) pacing when on the phone,  I believe it helps me think faster
( a ) saving everything to my desktop, giving relentless directions from the back seat

self medicates with:

( r ) standup paddle surfing and playing the mandolin
( a ) yoga, running, Sullivans island, coffee shops, roaming the streets of Charleston

phobias:

( r ) being chased up stairs
( a ) any and all bugs, computer hard drive crashes

obsessions:

( r ) craft beer at the local watering hole, bagged popcorn
( a ) taking millions of photos of asher (my dog)

most exciting moment:

( r ) being dropped off on a 12,000 ft. peak by a helicopter with skis as the only way back down
( a ) a “tarzan swing” in costa rica, way up in the trees

were you the favorite child?:

( r ) Without question. I’m the first-born son, delivered by my dad on my mom’s birthday. My siblings can’t touch that.
( a ) No. I’m the middle child - neither the first-born nor the baby. Sad, I know.

describe your job:

( r ) problem solver, excitement builder and phone talker
( a ) designer one minute, firefighter the next, janitor the next, with accountant squeezed in there somewhere