It took Kathleen Edwards and her husband Scott nearly two years to find their dream home in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. But when they came across their 1840s single house, the couple knew it was the perfect fit.
Having undergone no recent renovations or remodeling projects, the house encompassed many of the qualities Kathleen was looking for – exposed brick, open porches, and a back yard. Not to mention the historical background of the home itself.
So while the demo crews got to work reinforcing the bones of the house, Kathleen started to contemplate the furnishings inside, striving for a clean modern look without overshadowing the home’s historic charm.
Here’s what we learned from Kathleen and a few tips of our own for decorating a historic home with a modern interior.
Focus on Clean Lines
Kathleen mentioned time and time again that she loves the original brickwork inside the house. In order to highlight its beautiful color and texture, she chose furniture, cabinets, and appliances with smooth surfaces, straight lines, and neutral colors. This creates an interesting contrast without overshadowing the aesthetics of the brick.
Keep Historic Fixtures
Perhaps the most curious element of the Charleston house is the dual fireplaces in the home’s original kitchen (one was for cooking; the other for laundry). Instead of tearing these structures out during the renovation, Kathleen chose to keep them in her dining room for added historical charm. The same goes for fireplaces and mantels in the living room and master bedroom.
While modern in style, Kathleen kept her furniture and décor fairly conservative, focusing on simple shapes and neutral colors. The one exception: lighting. Kathleen was drawn to the elegance of the chandelier she chose for her living room, as well as the contemporary style of the arc floor lamp. These lighting sources add an air of modern sophistication without distracting from the room’s historical elements.
When designing the master bedroom, Kathleen used a Persian rug to create a sense of harmony between her décor and the room’s brick walls and slatted ceiling. The intricate pattern and shades of red make for a smooth visual transition from the sleek white bedding up the walls to the fireplace and beyond.
Don’t Ignore Outdoor
The Charleston house features first- and second-floor piazzas – long, narrow porches that run the full length of the home. Kathleen saw this as an opportunity to create two unique outdoor spaces. Traditional rocking chairs sit on the first level, while modern conversation sets create a cozy setting above.
So if you’re looking to renovate your own dream house, don’t sacrifice present-day style or the historic charm of your home. Take it from Kathleen that it’s possible to have the best of both worlds.