The Holy City – aka Charleston, South Carolina – is also wholly charismatic and unique. The architecture in this historic Southern city is storied and unlike anything else in the country. Here are some key features about the iconic homes and how to play up the unique features.
Charleston Architectural Styles
Charleston single homes (or “half houses”) are easy to spot, as they’re built sideways. Think of them as being about a room wide and several rooms high. They’re built on long, slim lots and sit close to one another in neighborhoods. Best of all, the porches are covered and private.
Unlike the asymmetrical single home designs, Georgian architecture is all about symmetry. Think two-story homes with porches and a center-entry with a two-room deep center-passage floor plan. You’ll find elegant crown molding, limestone trim, stone arches, granite pedestals, and cornice embellishments.
Federal-style homes are often brick and feature a central floor plan with classic, Roman-inspired elements. Elegance, proportion, and simplicity mixed with classic ornamentation and geometric shapes make up this architectural style prevalent in Charleston.
Charleston Home Features
In these homes, you’ll find architecture ranging from Federal to Georgian and Victorian styles. The front door is on the side of the house with a similar floorplan in each home, consisting of one room on each side of the hall, a short hall, and a staircase. Each floor features about two rooms and the floorplan is repeated on each floor. Work with the classic layout and design with traditional and modern elements.
Remember, the porch is off to the side of the house so it can take advantage of cool breezes in the summer heat. Also called piazzas, the porches are sometimes two- and three-stories. Piazzas typically run the length of the house, so it’s ideal for gatherings and outdoor dining. Adding a ceiling fan is another great way to keep cool.
Bold Color Palette
You’ll notice some of the neighborhoods in Charleston have a rainbow color palette going on. The coastal hues stand out and aren’t just limited to the exterior. Many piazza ceilings feature a shade called “Haint blue,” which originates from the local Gullah culture. This blue hue was thought to repel restless spirits.
No one does window boxes and planters quite like Charleston. You’ll find lush displays of tropical plants that know how to beat the heat (self-watering window boxes are the secret).
Interior Designs in Charleston Homes
There are no requirements or limits to the interiors of Charleston homes. You might be dealing with a narrow or smaller space, but this means you have more of an opportunity to really make an impact. Let your personal style (be it boho, modern, or a bit of everything) contrast with the classic look of your home. Many homes feature white walls and exposed brick, so be sure to play off these features. Bonus: You can hang wall art on exposed brick without drilling holes and lean art on shelves.