Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lovely, Lovely Charleston

Since visiting this home last year during one of Charleston's home and garden tours, I have been dying to post about it but waited until it fit into my plan (even though it often seems there is no plan).  Posting about my favorite homes keeps their images available for me to easily revisit again just as I hope they do you.  Like the Wyeth homes, like Ina's home, like Meg Ryan's home, and like the Belgian homes yet to come, I fell in love with this one and am very excited to share it with you.

In one of my infamous "detours," I shared images with you from this year's tour of Savannah's homes and gardens, but the year before, while visiting my same dear friend, we visited Charleston's homes and gardens.  We always have such fun, but when we viewed this home, my visit was a complete success.  I went through the house twice, while my patient friend waited in the garden.  After I returned home, I called the Charleston garden club to inquire if they might share the owners' email with me because I had a question about her kitchen floor.  The member called the owner who does not email but instead gave me her telephone number.  I called, left a message, and expected to never hear from the owner again.  The next day, she called and we had a delightful conversation.  I explained how much I loved her home and mentioned the particular details that caught my eye and asked about her kitchen floor.

Enough of my blathering, let's look at the home which was written up in Charleston Magazine, a copy of which the owner so generously sent to me.  Talk about southern hospitality!

The owners standing in their front door.  As soon as I saw this entry, I knew I was in for something very special.

This is the foyer where the first docent greeted us and gave a history of the house.  I could have stood there forever; it was so blessedly cool and so very beautiful. (Note that some of my images are smaller and blurrier than others.  These are the ones I took directly from Charleston magazine's website.  The larger, clearer images came from the copy of the magazine that the owner sent to me.  I wanted you to see as much of this home as possible, even if slightly blurry.)

Then we turned to the right and entered the dining room.  The docent here explained that the owner is a Francophile and that the screen in front of the hearth was found in France, used there as a former balcony.  It was shipped home where it now rests in the owner's Charleston dining room.

More of the dining room and the wonderful armoire which I think is also French.  (Guess I should have posted sooner when it was still fresh in my mind.)

Buffet-scape.  Note the lampshades.

Leaving the dining room, through the foyer again and into the living room.  I never usually am a drapery fan, but these beige silk taffeta ones fit the rooms so perfectly.  The owner explained she never draped the upper windows because with these privacy was not an issue and she wanted the light.  Again, note the lampshades.

This room is a bit formal for me, but so, so beautiful.  The neutral colors are everything that I love.  The framed paintings across the room are visible in the mirror.

Coffee table details with a glimpse back into the foyer.

More coffee table detail.

View of the living room from the music room.

Detail of the small side table above.

Again, the antique paintings all in gold-leaf frames on living room wall opposite the sofa.

More complete view.  Love how symetrically the paintings and chairs are arranged.  I need more symmetry in my life.

Below is a blurry view (sorry) looking from the living room into the music room with its grand piano then a glimpse into the library.  The owner told me her husband bought the piano for her after she had survived a very serious illness.

Looking from the music room back toward living room.

Music room wall with more collected paintings before you step  into the kitchen.  This home has the prettiest pillows.

Better view of the piano and library.

The library with its chinoiserie screen over the sofa.  I absolutely loved this room.  Not one of today's  "great rooms" but instead a smallish room with a tiny flatscreen TV on a table to the right.  Very tasteful - as is the whole house.

Finally, a really clear image of this room with the music room's piano in the foreground.  The antique leather books and china on the shelves have been lovingly collected over the years.  Notice that the bookcases, designed by the owners, have the keystone at their top.  And the floors throughout the downstairs are marble, until we get to the kitchen.

This was the last room on the tour and it is a "kitchen I have loved" of course.  The brick floors, the huge Wolf range, the stainless refrigerator and freezer, the copper cookware, the wine cooler, the blue and white china, and the long windows (out of site behind the stools) - it all spoke to me.  I never wanted to leave the room and exit to the secret garden and courtyard.

Close-up of the china in the cupboard toward the rear of the room.

Close-up items atop the Wolf range.

The owner in her kitchen.  To my question.  I asked her how the brick floor was to clean.  What happened when you dropped an egg on it?  She was so informative and told me the floor had many coats of clear finish on it and also that she and her husband frequently dine out because Charleston has so many wonderful restaurants.  I've thought long and hard about a brick floor in my kitchen; the adjoining mudroom has one, but I feared brick in the kitchen might not be a good idea.  Now, I'm inspired.

This is the TV room upstairs.  It was not on the tour, but appeared in the magazine and its website.  The sofa and chairs all seem to be focused on the out-of-site TV.  The owner told me her upstairs rooms are of a more New England flavor with the Oriental rugs, shutters and antiques.

Remember my asking you to notice the lamp shades in the downstair rooms?  When I spoke with the homeowner, I asked was it on purpose that all her shades were black, and she said, "Yes.  It's my way of having a unifying stream of color though out the entire house."  Thought this was very interesting concept and noticed my own home has all black or cream-colored shades.  Been thinking of doing the same thing this creative woman did and changing to all black shades.

And lastly their courtyard and secret garden.  The windows on the left belong to the kitchen, the windows to the right are the library's.  And one of these very chairs is where I found my patient friend after my second go-through.  This house really was an inspiration and its owner could not have been more helpful.  As she said when she called me the second time, "We are new best friends now."  I love Charleston.

Thank you for hanging with me through this long and sometimes blurry journey.  I leave you with several delicious looking summer images for all you patience.



Next time, it's Kiawah Island.


  1. I love Charleston and its well-deserved reputation for wonderful hospitality. What a treat to have a look inside this beautiful house. The courtyard garden is perfect as well.
    Hope you are having a great summer!

  2. Hi, Billie -

    Thanks for sharing these photos. What a treat! And a fantastic collection of antique furniture, artwork and accessories!! The front door is very special indeed. I love that fanlight with the sidelights - such a gracious way to greet guests.

    You had asked me about visiting Thuya and Asticou while in Maine. We stayed very near, and passed by a few times. We were supposed to visit on the last day, but it rained :( Boohoo!! Next time!


  3. I enjoyed your tour of this pretty home. We are moving down to that area to build a home and also are considering brick floors for part of the house. I am worried about sore legs in the kitchen as I cook but we love the look. We want to use brick in the mudroom and entry as well as porches. Love the gorgeous tomatoes!

  4. Such a nice story to go along with those lovely photos, Billie. I can understand why you toured the home twice. It is beautiful, but personal to the homeowner and not all decked
    out like a decorator show house. Thanks for the tour. I'm going back for a second look!

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