As the Charleston temperature and humidity have dipped ever so slightly these last few days, our thoughts turn to the cooler months ahead. It is this time of year that I encourage my clients to embark on their design projects in order to have them complete as the holiday season ramps up.
Just in time, the Charleston Fall Home Show makes it annual appearance at the newly refurbished Gaillard Center in downtown Charleston.
Presented by my friends at Charleston Home + Design Magazine, it is chock full of not to miss events and exhibits.
Highlights from the show to include:
Antique appraisals by South Carolina native Miller Gaffney and star of TV’s Art Breakers
A chance to win a $15,000 Dream Backyard Makeover
An architects symposium featuring presentations of homes along with insights into each project
And best of all FREE Interior Design Consultations.
Come see me between 2 and 4 on Friday at the Gaillard!
Mr. H says: Never neglect and opportunity for improvement-Enjoy!
The Spoleto Festival USA opens its 40th season today, and the schedule of events promises to be a celebration of the spirit of Charleston, South Carolina. This year’s itinerary includes Spoleto’s first production of the opera “Porgy and Bess“. Created by George Gershwin, Dubose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwinwhich in 1934, is set in Charleston. A number of performances also pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the shootings at Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015.
The Spoleto Festival USA was conceived by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, who sought to establish a counterpart to the Festival dei Due Mondi (The Festival of Two Worlds) in Spoleto, Italy. Championed by then Mayor Joe Riley, the Spoleto Festival USA held its inaugural year in 1977.
Each year a celebration poster is created by a living artist. This years poster, by Jonathan Green, Harvest Gathering is a vibrant image celebrating Gullah culture.
Check out all the past poster images from the last 40 years at the Spoleto Festival website
While former mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. is not presiding over this years opening events, his Spoleto dedicated legacy to the festival for the last four decades will be celebrated at the 40th Season Celebration Concert. The concert will be held in the newly renovated Gaillard Center and will be conducted by former Festival Music Director Steven Sloane, with Riley narrating.
Mr. H says: Life is festival only to the wise-Enjoy!
I was fortunate to play tourist in my own town this week at the beautiful 18th century Middleton Place plantation. Listed as a National Historic Landmark, it is home to America’s oldest landscaped gardens.
We took advantage of the weekly Spring wine stroll along with dinner at the restaurant and an overnight stay at the Inn.
While the gardens are the main attraction, The Inn at Middleton Place, is an extraordinary destination in its own right. Secluded among tall pines and live oaks along the banks of the Ashley River, the 55 rooms are just a short walk away from the plantation grounds.
Built in 1987, the Inn was designed by W.G. Clark and Charles Menefee of Charleston, SC. Lead architect W.G. Clark eschewed the typical Southern vernacular of white columns and wide porches with rocking chairs. Instead, the team channeled the architectural ruins that are found throughout the Low Country, emerging out of abandoned fields and ancient forests. Once completed, The Inn at Middleton Place was recognized for its outstanding concept and design by the American Institute for Architecture (AIA) with its Honor Award, the profession’s highest accolade for individual buildings by American architects.
The rooms interiors, while spare, boast floor to ceiling windows, cypress paneling and wood burning fireplaces
The large bathrooms feature marble floors, innovative cypress storage and a two person tiled roman soaking tub.
Mr. H says: History never looks like history when you are living through it-Enjoy!
Reclaimed DesignWorks, recently held a holiday drop in their Charleston, SC showroom on East Bay Street. This national company purveys “reclaimed” building materials found in old buildings across the United States and Canada.
Old-growth, antique wood is more dense and structurally stable than newly-harvested wood. Reclaimed DesignWorks recovers their wood from dismantled barns, farm houses and factories that have outgrown their usefulness. These buildings are usually beyond repair and may have been abandoned. Flooring, granary boards, roof rafters, floor joists and structural beams are some of the parts of a structure that their flooring is produced from.
In the Reclaimed DesignWorks Charleston showroom, reclaimed flooring and other antique building products are displayed in a finished state.
With additional showrooms in Denver, CO, Austin, TX, Dallas, TX, and Nashville, TN, Reclaimed DesignWorks boasts an impressive client list including Starbucks, Whole Foods, Polo Ralph Lauren and Embassy Suites. Locally their beautiful products can be in enjoyed at Prohibition, Crust Wood Fired Pizza and The Collective Coffee Company.
Mr. H says: Something old can be timeless-Enjoy!
Through the years, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church has endured slavery, laws to prevent members from worshiping, and the destruction by white mobs. It appears that nothing can keep this congregation from persevering as it opened it’s doors on Sunday after last weeks shooting deaths of nine members.
Founded in 1816, by abolitionist minister Morris Brown, it is the oldest AME church in the South. Known as “Mother Emanuel”, the wooden 1872 two-story church that was built on the present site on the north side of Calhoun Street. After the Civil War, blacks were not welcome on the south side of what was then known as Boundary Street when the church was built. That structure was destroyed in 1886 by the devastating Charleston earthquake.
The present day Gothic Revival-style church with its impressive steeple was completed in 1891. With seats for 2,500, it is the largest African-American church in Charleston. The brick church retains its original alter, communion rail, pews, and light fixtures and is one of only a few unaltered Victorian religious interiors in Charleston.
Between 1949 to 1951, the magnificent brick structure with encircling marble panels was restored, redecorated and stuccoed.
Many prominent figures have spoken at the church throughout the years, including Booker T. Washington in 1909, Martin Luther King Jr. in 1962 and Coretta Scott King in 1969.
Mother Emanuel was placed onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 and in 1989 lost its steeple when Hurricane Hugo battered the Charleston peninsula.
Today, while a solemn testament to its recent horrors, be certain that Emanuel AME Church will persevere once more.
Mr. H says: We are twice armed if we fight with faith.
I had the auspicious task last night to present my interior design firm to local residential architects affiliated with CRAN Charleston. The Custom Residential Architects Network is the AIA residential knowledge community’s most active and fastest growing sub-community and the Charleston contingent boasts over twenty member firms.
It was an honor to be received into the diverse group of accomplished Charleston interior designers that made their presentation in the Japanese Pecha Kucha format. Included in the evening in no particular order were the following visionary designers:
Sandra Ericksen of Sandra Ericksen Design
Margaret Donaldson, ASID, president of Margaret Donaldson Interiors
Regina Garcia with Regina Garcia Design
Michael Mitchell and Tyler Hill owners of Mitchell Hill
Peggy Norris, Allied ASID, interior designer at Peggy Norris Designs and furniture designer for Selva Furniture
Melissa Ervin president of Melissa Ervin Interior Design
Beverly Bohan, Allied ASID, IIDA, designer and owner at Haute Design
Mr. H says: Design is thinking made visual-Enjoy!
The development tale of the deep, nearly black Charleston Green color, spins like this: During Reconstruction following the Civil War, Union troops sent buckets of black paint to the Holy City. Legend has it that residents of Charleston would not concede to using the color on their homes and in a defiant act added some yellow and green paint creating the city’s signature color.
This historic color can be seen around Charleston, mostly as an accent on shutters, doors, iron work and sometimes exterior trim.
Garden accents are great way to utilize the color since the color looks black unless the sun hits it just right then you can appreciate the very deep green hue.
Many of the porch rockers and joggling boards in town sport the Charleston Green color
Paint manufacture, Sherwin Williams, features “historic Charleston green” DCR099 in their Colors of Historic Charleston collection.
If you’d like to mix up your own batch of Charleston Green just as our Southern ancestors did, local tour guide Mrs. Jane Thornhill, has this recipe:
10 ounces black paint | 4 ounces green paint | 1/2 ounce yellow paint
Mr. H says: The most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most-Enjoy!
Unique to Charleston in the late 18th century, the carved rice bed was distinct symbol of a plantation owner’s wealth. The original design is often attributed to Charleston cabinetmaker, Thomas Elfe, who on commission crafted a bed whose four posts were carved with a depiction of a ripe grain of the rice plant. Carolina Gold rice, along with tobacco and cotton, created immense wealth for Lowcountry plantation owners during the 18th Century.
Beds of the era were typically made by a team of artisans such as carpenters, lathe turners, and carvers. Mahogany was the wood of choice for the wealthy planter, however cherry wood was used as well. Rice beds were designed for a cooler sleeping environment during Charleston’s humid summers. With the frame high off the ground and removable headboard, beds were moved to the center of the room to allow for better air circulation. The tester, or top frame, was hung with mosquito netting in warmer months and heavier drapery in the winter, keeping the occupant warm.
In the Heyward-Washington house on Church Street, the Heyward family’s rice bed may have been the place that George Washington slept during the President’s week-long Charleston stay in 1791.
While locating an antique Charleston rice bed may be both difficult and costly, (one just sold at auction for $45,000) there are several mass production furniture makers such as American Drew and Kincaid that feature rice bed styles.
Estate worthy handmade rice beds can be found however at Mack S. Headley & Sons, a fourth generation, Virginia furniture maker.
Theodore Alexander also produces an exquisite hand crafted rice bed in finely carved and figured mahogany
Mr. H says: The most valuable antique is an old friend-Enjoy!
Tucked behind Claire’s Exxon on James Island you’ll find Charleston’s newest nano brewery: Tradesman Brewing Company
After signing the lease for their new venture, owners and child hood friends asked for assistance with the development of their tasting room feel. With the “Tradesman” name in tact, images of mom and pop taprooms that catered to the local trades in the 1930s and 40s were conjured up.
The challenge was on: create a cozy, pub like feel in a former office space on a diminutive budget.
Beginning with paint, the most economical of trans-formative tools, we developed a dramatic color scheme. Using the Sherwin Williams Arts and Crafts historic palette a rich, gold was chosen for the overall color with red and blue accent walls.
The two room space was planned to accommodate the bar area along with some comfortable seating for patrons to enjoy a libation.
One of the quirky focal points of the lounge area is the nail bin that came from a grandmother’s mercantile store in Mt. Pleasant. It now holds merchandise that sport the Tradesman Brewing Co. logo.
The metal lights, that were repurposed from the brewery warehouse, replaced commercial style fluorescent fixtures.
Old tools are displayed throughout in keeping with the working man’s theme.
Mr. H says: Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder-Enjoy!
Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina enjoying a perfect sunset, cold libations and delicious food at one of Crosby’s Dock Friday night parties. On a recent evening we enjoyed the festive atmosphere at this quintessential Charleston locale.
Perched on the banks of Folly Creek, the iconic Crosby’s Fish and Shrimp, epitomizes the best of the Charleston Lowcountry’s seafood industry.
Generous plates of freshly caught seafood come straight from the dock into the rolling kitchen
Charming nautical decor enhances the rustic atmosphere on the dock
Bring your dancing shoes as the Friday night dock parties feature live music. Tutus optional.
The evening ended with this stunning sunset over Folly Creek. Check their Facebook page for future dock party dates.
Mr. H says: Time is marked by each sunrise and sunset whether or not you actually see it-Enjoy!