The home is decidedly different from its neighbors on the block. Unfussy and sleek in white stucco with strong geometric lines, its honest simplicity provides a refreshing pause.
Style. Ever-evolving, nuanced, brash, beautiful. It’s the veneer, the polish that makes us shine. It is ubiquitous and demands our attention, but is often, for many of us, elusive.
“These days, I see people wanting special, signature pieces in their home, something with a modern feel,” says Bobbi Joe Engelby, owner of Domain Interiors & Design, a full-service interior design firm specializing in American and Southern-made furniture.
Merv Epstein admits that the birth of his first grandchild motivated him to walk away from a five-year real estate career in New York and return to his native South Carolina. Ten years later, his seven grandchildren aren’t all that Epstein has to be proud of.
Owning a historic home is a source of pride and brings with it many rewards as well as a few challenges, but being surrounded by antique construction doesn’t mean you have to give up on having a modern, high-tech home.
Charleston Antiques is a charming wonderland for designers, decorators, dealers and day-trippers. In 3,600 square feet, the shop manages to carry classics such as Chippendale furniture, 1800s French chairs (with Scalamandre fabric) and Italianate desks. More unusual finds include a pair of arms from an 18th-century religious icon, a Han dynasty tomb figure and a 19th-century Victorian Christmas fence.
Six years ago, interior designer Michael Mitchell followed his instinct and opened what he thought would be a temporary pop-up on Upper King Street in Charleston. Soon after he met his future husband, lighting and furniture designer Tyler Hill, that project grew into what has become a permanent, bustling enterprise, representing 70 vendors and housing a full-service design firm.
Zinn Rug Gallery sits quietly on Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant. Inside, piles of colorful wool and silk rugs are waiting, stacked and arranged by size. Every one is handwoven or hand-knotted; each is one-of-a-kind and was created in an exotic place such as Turkey, Iran, The Caucasus, India, Pakistan, Nepal or Central Asia.
Oftentimes, it is the smallest details that elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary. With fine cuisine, it might come from a pinch of saffron; on the facade of a historic home, it might be the custom-chiseled detail on the cedar shutters or, smaller still, the shutters’ historically authentic hand-forged tiebacks.
Melissa Koger Watson believes she doesn’t have all the answers when it comes to home interiors. And that’s exactly what makes her such a sought-after kitchen and bath designer.
As I’m speaking with Phil Bennett, the cheerful owner of Real Estate Repairs, he explains to me what has made his business so successful: He has spent the greater part of 30 years getting to know his staff and customers and has established the kind of rapport with them that lasts a lifetime.
Home always follows fashion. When Whitney Moore left the fashion world in 2001, that truth, along with encouragement from a friend, inspired her to open a lighting store in the Charleston area. The concept for her store was simple: To bring a different variety of lighting products to the local marketplace.
It’s cold the day I stop by the 750-square-foot showroom and retail space at Encore Architectural Salvage Co. “We don’t have any climate control,” says 30-year-old owner Bryant Dyess, smiling gamely. I keep my coat on, as does assistant Stephen Veres, and Dyess’ dog Nico.
When you enter Faye and Tim Powell’s new home on Daniel Island, you are swept into an open, airy space that invites you to sit down, relax and the watch the dolphins play. The home, located on a corner lot, has a unique floor plan that embraces the water views and integrates them seamlessly with the home’s casual but elegant décor.
Located in Daniel Island Park, the home of Richard and Ellen Kypta has an intriguing, rambling quality. The two hallways and a foyer that branch off its open, central living area create the sense of multiple destinations under one roof.
A soon as I walk into Sharon Bruner’s furniture consignment shop on upper Meeting Street, I notice several pieces that remind me of the decorating style called modern baroque. When I talk to Bruner, I realize this is no coincidence. One of her inspirations is Dorothy Draper, one of the world’s first professional interior designers and a pioneer of modern baroque, which came to prominence during the middle of the last century.
The first time I visited Vintage Porch Swings, I climbed into their display bed swing and was immediately disarmed. I was there to do an interview, but all I really wanted was a book and a blanket.
For 20 years, through times of boom and bust, Muhler has polished its sterling reputation for selling and installing high-quality products and following up with unmatched customer service. But despite two decades of dominance in the local window and door market, Muhler is not a name recognized by most Charleston residents.
On Short Street in the Old Village of Mount Pleasant, a custom home is being built by a national homebuilder that—until recently—limited its Charleston-area work to master-planned communities.
PURSUING A CAREER IN VIRGINIA MEANT THAT one area couple would have to leave behind their beloved Lowcountry. To make the move more palatable, Graham promised his wife, Nancy, that one day he would bring her back home to the Charleston area to live. Little did Nancy know at the time, it would take her husband 30 years to fulfill his promise.