Charleston is known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, world-class restaurants, genteel residents, Southern hospitality, and charm. Once named "the most polite and hospital city in America" by Southern Living magazine, Charleston is a worldly, sophisticated city that vibrantly mixes past and present. Time stands still as you stroll along the avenues lined with antebellum mansions, "Charleston Singles," lush private gardens, and historic churches, while horse drawn carriages pass by with tourists.
Charleston's famed "Rainbow Row," one of the most photographed parts of the city. I had the pleasure of attending a book signing for the newly released Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits: A Handbook of Etiquette with Recipes at one of these exquisite homes built in the 1780s!
Art available for sale here.
While I was busy falling in love with Charleston, I was also having a delightful time at the Southern C Summit - a collaborative event for bloggers, media, entrepreneurs, and designers, which I highly recommend. We had some amazing guest speakers, including Erin Shaw Street, senior editor of Southern Living, Katie Armour, co-founder and editorial director for Matchbook magazine, Caitlin Moran, editorial director of Glitter Guide, Jamie Meares of Furbish Studio, Holly Phillips, interior designer and owner of The English Room, and Hanna Seabrook, Gadabout and creative director at Southern Proper. I will be blogging more about some of the lovely and talented ladies I met at the Summit. Stay tuned!
But now I must admit my guilty pleasure... I am secretly obsessed with the new Bravo "reality" show Southern Charm. Actually, let me clarify... I am obsessed with Patricia Altschul, the breakthrough star of the show, and her circa 1850s Roman-Revival mansion, which is the shiniest star of all. Last week, Joni from Cote de Texas provided a comprehensive tour of this home. She did an exceptional job with this post, and I spent an inordinate amount of time pouring over every single detail. BTW, Joni also profiled Thomas Ravenel's 17th century town home, located South of Broad, and his plantation located in Edisto Island, which dates back to the 1700s.... wow!!
Patricia Altschul's antebellum mansion - the I. Jenkins Mikell house - via Cote de Texas.
It was decorated by the legendary Mario Buatta! Image via Cote de Texas
via Cote de Texas
via Cote de Texas
The hand painted Zuber wallpaper is divine! via Cote de Texas
The library, via Cote de Texas... I adore the Scalamandre Le Tigre, and there is a fabulous Chinoiserie print on the sofa that I would love to identify.
This is my dream bathroom... Note the blue and white, the Sherle Wagner faucet, the mirrored vanity and walls, and the blue ribbons on the floor! via Bravo
I adore the faux bamboo moulding on the walls... and Patricia's caftan! via Cote de Texas
To see more of this magnificent mansion, click over to Cote de Texas, and take a tour over at Bravo. Also, stay tuned, as Joni tells us it will soon be featured in Architectural Digest!
Plaque outside Patricia Altschul's home, via my iPhone. Yes, on my itinerary was a walk-by... I wanted to ask the house for its autograph.
The Chisholm-Alston mansion, via Carolyne Roehm's blog
Still a work in progress, Carolyne's Charleston home is described by Departures as "already a madcap fantasy of jade-green pagodas, Blue Canton porcelain, and gilded consoles supported by mustachioed Chinese sentinels." I cannot wait to see more!!
Carolyne commissioned British furniture maker Jonathan Sainsbury to carve this white Hobo-bird mirror, a reproduction of an 18th century piece, in the Bird Room. On her blog, she describes how she is creating a "Chinoiserie lite" room, inspired by Claydon House.
A 17th-century painting by Flemish artist Paul de Vos is the centerpiece of the Bird Room. The chair on the right is upholstered in Quadrille fabric.
Inspired by the Green Salon at the Chinese Pavilion at Drottningholm Palace, Carolyne used Farrow & Ball's Calke Green paint for the walls in the Chinoiserie Room.
Charleston absolutely mesmerized me with it's exquisitely preserved historic gems, and apparently I'm not alone... It is quickly becoming a popular destination for many "from off'" (i.e. not from Charleston) who are considering a second or third home, according to the New York Social Diary.
So let's take a look at the Charleston MLS, a candy store for this architectural preservation enthusiast... You too can make your Gone With the Wind fantasies come true! Below is a sampling of Charleston's finest homes available for sale, all complete with rich histories that add to their character and enhance their charm... I am in awe of the elegant architectural elements that have stood the test of time. I'll start with the pink ones first, because Charleston loves its pink homes and buildings almost as much as Palm Beach, which I wrote about here.
The Palmer House, built in 1847, located at 5 East Battery Street. One of the most famous homes in Charleston, it is currently operating as a Bed & Breakfast.
Built in 1843, this home was featured in the 1985 ABC miniseries North and South, starring Patrick Swayze and James Rea.
73 East Bay Street, built in 1918. What a terrific opportunity to own a slice of famed Rainbow Row, complete with direct harbor views!
A Charleston Single, built in 1760, located at 25 Meeting Street
The Nathaniel Ingraham House, built in 1810, located at 2 Water Street This home was witness to the first shots of the American Civil War. You can read more about it here!
The Theodore Gaillard (Gaillard-Bennett) House, built in 1800 at 60 Montagu Street. A virtual tour of this amazing home, one of the finest examples of the Federal period in the country, can be seen here.
I'm in love with the hand-painted pink Chinoiserie walls!
The moldings and fireplaces in this house are stunningly gorgeous.
The George Robertson House, built in 1846, located at 1 Meeting Street. You can read more about the fascinating history of this home here.
49 Tradd Street, built in 1731
This home was built in 1860 by well-known Civil War photographer George C. Cook
I adore Charleston's prevalent brick kitchens, many of which are old "kitchen houses." Back in their day, kitchen houses were built apart from the main house due to fire hazards, and to prevent heat and odors from permeating the rest of the house during summer months. Many have been connected to accommodate modern times.
The Joseph Aiken House, built in 1848, located at 20 Charlotte Street
And finally, Southern Charm cast member Jenna King's (haunted!) 1838 Charleston single, located at 89 Ashley Avenue is for sale. Click here to view a tour with Jenna herself!
In closing, would like to thank my dear friend Emilie over at Shell & Chinoiserie for inviting me to the Southern C Summit, and furthermore, for allowing me to stay at her beautiful home, which you may recall from the One Room Challenge linking event! I had such an incredible time in Charleston, and my husband and I are already planning a trip back this fall!
So what are your thoughts on Charleston? Have you visited? Would you like to live there, and which of these gorgeous homes would you choose? I would definitely want to live in one of the pink homes!