Decorating & Design
Two-For-One Charleston Retreat
I love a house with a good story, and this one delivers at least twice over. Built in 1790, this Charleston, South Carolina property has retained its charm for over 200 years. From 1919 to 1924, it was home to Dubose Heyward, who wrote not only the novel upon which Porgy & Bess was based, but the lyrics to some of the opera’s best-loved songs, including “Summertime.” Later, artist Alfred Hutty moved in; apparently he is also beloved in Charleston for having written “Come quickly; have found heaven” to his wife after arriving in the city for the first time. Today, this piece of Southern history is a National Historic Landmark — and yours for only $6.2 million.
What’s being sold as one property is actually two separate houses, marketed as a main house and guest house with a total of five bedrooms and six baths. (Though you’d have to have a lot of guests to justify the asking price.) Unified by sky-blue shutters, the two buildings nestle up to a shared courtyard and saltwater pool.
Most rooms, including the revamped eat-in kitchen, have a courtyard view. I’m a big fan of the off-white (or perhaps even light yellow?) cabinets, which feel fresh but not too spanking-new for an older home, the way an all-white kitchen could. Overhead, a recently-raised peaked roof stretches between the open-concept kitchen and family room.
The dining room puts the property’s (hopefully) original hardwood floor on display, balancing the white expanse of the painted millwork. I’m a sucker for built-in shelves like these, not to mention that grandfather clock.
It’s not clear from the photos which room belongs to which building, but they all show ample period details, including six working fireplaces and french doors to spare. Touches of purple and blue in the living room feel appropriately genteel without being old-fashioned.
The living is indeed easy on these charming wrought-iron-laced balconies that edge the courtyard. According to the listing, “history claims” that George Washington made a speech from this very balcony during a visit to Charleston, but I wonder if they might be mistaking this house for the Heyward-Washington House just down the street.
What do you think? Is this your idea of paradise?
1-5. Williams Means Real Estate