Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mario Buatta and Patricia Altschul Exude Southern Charm in Charleston

Did you see the October issue of Architectural Digest featuring Patricia Altchul's stunning antebellum mansion in Charleston, South Carolina? It is absolute perfection! I confess my guilty pleasure is watching Southern Charm... I love getting to peek inside the cast members' historic Charleston homes, particularly Altschul's.

Known as the Isaac Jenkins Mikell House, the imposing Greek Revival was built in 1853-1854 by cotton planter Isaac Jenkins Mikell for his third wife, Mary Martha Pope. The house was bought in 1935 by the Charleston Free Library and served as a public library until the early 1960s when it was sold and restored as a private residence. Patricia Altschul bought the house in 2008 and commissioned legendary designer Mario Buatta to revamp the interiors.

I have featured this home before, including images from the in-depth and brilliant feature by Joni at Cote de Texas. Let's revisit and take a look at Architectural Digest's October 2014 feature!

The landmarked Isaac Jenkins Mikell House boasts 9,500 square feet and 10 bedrooms. Altschul called upon Richard Marks to restore the home to its historic glory. Every surface was revived, as were glorious details like the elaborate plaster ceiling medallions. The house was honored at the Preservation Society of Charleston's 2012 Carolopolis Awards for outstanding historic preservation. 

The elegant and glamorous Patricia Altschul, dressed in one of her trademark caftans. 

To soften the wood floor of the apple-green double drawing room, Mario Buatta took a Stark carpet from Altschul's former Long Island, New York, estate and cut in in half, dividing it between the spaces. A Lee Jofa floral upholsters several armchairs and the love seat, and a Colefax and Fowler check covers the French bergere. Both the Regency sofa table in the doorway and the cocktail table on the right are from Philip Colleck.

via Cote de Texas from Altschul's Bravo home tour.

Antique silhouettes hang in the stair case, which is furnished with a borne settee covered in a Brunschwig & Fils chenille. The lantern is 19th-century Gothic Revival, and the stair runner is by Stark. Artisan Haleh Atabeigi painted the floor in an octagonal pattern based on Victorian tilework. 

As seen from the entrance hall, a Regency mirror from Mallett is mounted in the stair hall, above an 18th-century table from Florian Papp.

An antique Zuber wallpaper depicting Revolutionary War scenes lines the dining room; the 19th-century Waterford chandelier is from Nesle, and the dining table is English. 

The Zuber wallcoverings are sentimental, as an ancestor of Altschul's advised George Washington when he defeated Cornwallis at Yorktown. She has removed and reinstalled them every time she has moved since childhood. Image via Cote de Texas

A Colefax and Fowler striped wallpaper sheathes the morning room; the Mario Buatta-designed ottoman is clad in a Brunschwig & Fils cotton. 

Another view of the morning room, via Cote de Texas.

Richard Marks created the airy kitchen and a new butler's pantry. 

A blue and white tiled fireplace at the opposite end of the kitchen, via Cote de Texas.

In the cherry-red library, a Chinoiserie fabric was used for the curtains and upholstery; the gilded 18th-century mirror, from Gracie, once hung in Scotland's Keir House. The tiger-stripe velvet is by Brunschwig & Fils, and the ocelot-spot carpet is by Stark. 

A 19th-century canopy bed dressed with a Colefax and Fowler floral dominates a guest room. The bed linens are by D. Porthault, and the carpet is by Stark. 

In the master bath, the toilet is concealed in a tall Chinoiserie cabinet; a Manuel Canovas print covers the slipper chair at left, a Brunschwig & Fils fabric was used on the chair at right, and the garden stool is from John Rosselli Antiques. 

I think this is one of the most beautiful bathrooms I have ever seen. I love the mirrored walls and vanity, the ribbon painted floor, the Sherle Wagner swans, and all of the blue and white Chinoiserie. Image via Cote de Texas

Altschul's chef delivers her new and "extremely rare" matte pink alligator Hermes Birkin bag... color coordinated to match her bubble gum pink .38 special, of course.  Click here to watch the scene from season one.

A Manuel Canovas fabric swathes the master bedroom, where a Donald Roller Wilson painting is displayed above a 19th-century Chinoiserie étagère from Philip Colleck.

One of my favorite lines from the first season of Southern Charm is when, upon the death of her beloved cat (RIP), Altschul's son Whitney states gravely that his mother has "taken to bed with a martini, a Xanax and Turner Classics." I just adore this lady! 
Image via Cote de Texas

Patricia Altschul... with her "medicine" via Cote de Texas.

If the contents of this magnificent mansion look familiar, it is because many of the furnishings came from Altschul's previous "Buattafied" addresses, including Southerly, a 30-room Long Island, New York, estate she shared with her late husband. Visit Cote de Texas for more pictures of Southerly, the Altschul's former Fifth Avenue apartment, and for pictures of the Isaac Jenkins Mikell home before and after Altschul's renovations. And don't forget to head over to Bravo for a home tour led by the delightful Mrs. Altschul and her son... I would like to be her when I grow up, please! 

Want to see more of Mario Buatta's recent work? Click here to view the Southampton and Palm Beach homes he decorated for a chic Manhattan couple. You may also wish to add his recently released book, Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration to your holiday shopping list! Known as "The Prince of Chintz," Buatta is pure genius.  


  1. Mario is such fun, and so brilliant!
    He is having some health issues- but still is such fun!

  2. what a stunning home + have M's book + he is a favorite.

  3. you've done it again!! You find the most amazing homes. love that blue and white chair may steal the idea!! xoxo

  4. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing all the details!

  5. OMG thanks for sharing this! I'm going to get the latest AD and watch all about it on Bravo. I'm dying over this home!

  6. This house is to die for. Love every detail!!


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

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