Sunday, May 18, 2014

Charming Charleston

The other week, I attended the Southern C Summit in Charleston, South Carolina, and I am still experiencing Charleston withdrawal symptoms. I had never visited The Holy City before, although it had always been on my bucket list, and I must say, my expectations were exceeded.  I hesitate to say this, but I love it almost as much as I love Palm Beach, which is one of my favorite places on earth... I would LOVE to live in Charleston!

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

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 

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. 

Speaking of Charleston's antebellum mansions... I have also been following Carolyne Roehm's journey on her blog as she painstakingly restores her 1836 Greek Revival manse. A progress report was featured in the May/June issue of Departures magazine, and on the fabulous blog of Mark D. Sikes.

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

The Poyas-Mordecai House, built in 1788, located at 69 Meeting Street

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!


  1. Loved the house tour, Andrea, and that you started it with the pinks. I had a wonderful trip down to Charleston last spring and was hoping to making it to the Summit. Alas it didn’t happen, but the posse is looking for an excuse to take a road trip. Maybe once my baby is often to college in the fall . . . .

  2. What a darling post! You made me fall in love all over again with Charleston! Glad you came and glad we got to meet!

  3. Oh wow, I am in awe!
    I have always wanted to visit!
    I think it is going to have to be in the next year!
    Amazing post!
    Thank you!!!

  4. I'm hooked on everything Charelston! One of your most enjoyable posts yet. The charm of this city, along with its history, and people make it like no other. Beautifully written post, and once again I find you educating me.

  5. I am overwhelmed with all the beautiful images. What a wonderful post. I have always wanted to visit Charleston! I think I would have a hard time leaving as well!

  6. We will be going in Fall to the historical homes tour which takes place during a 2-week period. I am a true Southern Belle and appreciate so much the preservation of all things like Charleston in our country. Lovely post, btw. Just lovely. xx's

  7. I have always wanted to visit looks so the architecture!

  8. Okay, now I've got to add Charleston to my bucket list (haven't been since i was a kid)! Thanks for wasting my morning gazing at these gorgeous homes...I mean educating me on charleston architecture, ghosts and reality tv...a perfect monday morning in my book! :)
    Can't wait to hear more about the summit and awesome design ladies of charleston!

  9. terrific post! Charleston is the sister city of my hometown Savannah and my oh my how this post makes me long for the deep south. and what a lucky girl to see Charleston but also to meet and stay with Emilie! she's one of my favorite bloggers :)

  10. Andrea, this post is amazing!!! SUCH eye candy! I am seriously going to use it as a travel guide for future visitors! ;-) It was so nice to have you here, and although I hope we get to host you again soon, I would prefer it if you just moved yourself into one of these pink beauties instead!

  11. I love Charleston, and Savannah is another favorite. The architecture is so amazing. And the food! I just love the South. So charming.

  12. Adore Charleston. My husband and I were there during Hurrican Hugo, we stayed at No. Two Meeting street in. I married adventure!


Thank you for your lovely comments. They absolutely make my day!

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