Reverence for the Future and the Past

Historical Charleston Backyard

Located on one of the most historic and iconic streets in downtown Charleston rests a centuries-old Italianate. As you step through the iron gate, you are greeted by a formal entryway, and, as you proceed toward the back of the house, you’re immersed in a comfortable family home that has been expertly restored and thoughtfully modernized.

The entryway to the home features the original door and windows that were custom reproductions by a skilled local fabricator accustomed to working in historic homes. French elements, such as this imported marble flooring, are reflective of the homeowner’s years spent living in France.

If you had visited this home in the mid-twentieth century, you would’ve found six separate apartments, serving as a boarding house. In more recent decades, you would’ve discovered a derelict property requiring years worth of restoration and remodeling. Some may have viewed the restoration of this home as an unnecessarily laborious endeavor. PWD Studio’s team, however, saw an opportunity. One that would require an enormous architectural undertaking, a feat of engineering, and a skilled team of preservationists accustomed to navigating the Charleston BAR– but, an opportunity nonetheless.

Stucco columns were placed as part of an 1880’s Italianate makeover to the original structure.
What was once a formal ballroom still boasts original wood floors and expansive bay windows, allowing light to filter throughout the space.

PWD Studio’s task was to bring the home into the twenty-first century by creating a cohesive floor plan with plenty of modern functionality all while preserving as many of the home’s original architectural details as possible—floors, windows, period railings and other millwork, ironwork, and stonework. We enlisted our interior design and architecture teams, as well as skilled local artisans to ensure expertise and craftsmanship throughout the renovation process. In addition to preserving historic architectural elements, we integrated period-specific refinements such as coal-burning fireplaces with custom brass and iron baskets.

The coal burning fireplaces, reminiscent of the ones that would have existed in the original home, feature custom brass and iron baskets crafted by skilled artisans.
Original dining room doors open up to a casual dining space and courtyard. 

While the project was a celebration of architectural achievements and preservation efforts, it was not without its challenges. And when the inevitable adversity presented itself in the form of the home’s central fireplace failing midway through the project, we collaborated with our engineering and construction teams to devise a resourceful solution that was both architecturally and aesthetically sound. Ultimately, we preserved the historic chimney but carved out the fireplace and hearth, which left a large hole. This created the perfect space for a custom, larder-like closet, where the homeowner’s china collection is displayed like functional art. And rather than toss out the old fireplace bricks, we used them to pave the floors and incorporated them into the kitchen backsplash, adding elegance and character to the revamped space.

The china closet is positioned directly across from the wine refrigerator and extra storage space. Conveniently located between the kitchen and dining room, creating flow for the homeowner’s frequent entertaining.
The homeowners love to cook and entertain, so this kitchen is truly the heart of the home. Imported limestone floors are reminiscent of the couple's time spent living in France.
The original fireplace brick adds a soulful element to the kitchen backsplash.

As we designed the interiors we let the house lead, allowing the design to reflect the home’s natural progression, which transitioned from historic formality near the street to more casual living spaces in the recent additions at the back. New, modern steel-framed French doors were installed to create a sensory pause between the two halves.

Steel framed doors are ideal for the Lowcountry weather patterns while aesthetically adding modern appeal. 
This pass-through between the kitchen and the casual living space features a practical garden sink and a back entry to the second floor.

The homeowner brought much of their own furniture, so PWD Studio thoughtfully integrated the design efforts with corresponding window treatments, paint colors, wallpaper, lighting, tile, flooring, and other finishes in order to both shape and more fully realize their individual vision.

The casual living space features steel framed doors and windows that enhance the modern, casual aesthetic in the back of the home while encouraging ample natural light to filter through the room.
Two expertly crafted jib doors seamlessly integrate with the paneled wall when closed, opening to reveal a powder bath and murphy bed.

The culmination of our architectural and interior work, paired with the property’s undeniably remarkable bones and storied past, creates a timeless yet modern home built to endure another hundred years.

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Historical Charleston Transitional Kitchen

If Walls Could Talk

To bring this home into the twenty-first century, the PWD Studio architectural and interior design teams created a cohesive floor plan with plenty of modern functionality.

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