The Ins and Outs of Downtown Charleston Condos

With so many different buildings in the Charleston Peninsula, sometimes it’s hard to know what is what. Downtown has such a wide variety of property when it comes to houses and condominiums. Condos can come in the form of a part of a large historic home or a high-rise building, or as a luxurious penthouse overlooking the water. You’d probably be surprised how many mysterious buildings are actually condominiums, and that there are quite a few of them downtown. Condos downtown can range anywhere from a mixed-use loft on the Eastside starting at $224,900 to a $3 million 3,000+ square foot luxury condo overlooking waterfront park in the French Quarter.

Here are most of the different condominiums downtown and which neighborhood they belong to. If you want to see details and exactly what is for sale in each one, just click on the name!

South of Broad  

French Quarter  

Harleston Village  

Downtown   (King St. Historic District)

Ansonborough 

Westside  /Medical Complex Area

Radcliffeborough 

Eastside  

Wagener Terrace 

North Central 

 

NBC’s “TODAY” Filming in Charleston!

Hosts of the TODAY show, Kathie Lee and Hoda, filmed two episodes this morning on the College of Charleston’s campus at the Cistern. One was live that aired this morning, and the other was filmed for tomorrow’s show. During their stay they have pretty much covered all of the activities that anyone visiting the city must do. They also had some great how-to’s with window boxes and guest appearances from owners of local stores on King St. that discussed Charleston‘s southern attire.

The Cistern, where the filming took place, was crammed full of excited college students and locals. The Cistern is the focal point of the College of Charleston’s campus. Numerous events are held here, small and large, ranging from an Alumni event called A Charleston Affair to performances put on for students before finals to help them cool down. It consists of a large grassy oval adjacent to Randolph Hall and was constructed in 1857 to control flooding and provide water for fighting fires. Later, it was covered and planted with grass and is now part of the campus. Spring Commencement is held here, which I was lucky enough to be a part of and think is the most unique graduation around.

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Kathie Lee and Hoda were brought into The Cistern by a horse-drawn carriage through Porter’s Lodge, which is very rare. Porters Lodge was the home to the College’s porter, or custodian. On its George St. façade, it bears the Greek inscription for “Know Thyself.” Today, the structure houses several faculty offices.

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I thought that NBC filmed a great portrayal of Charleston. For the live show, the girls began by having some gentlemen from The Cocktail Club make them a Firefly Sweet Tea concoction, a vodka that was created in SC. Then, Graham Dailey, the chef at Peninsula Grill, brought out the restaurant’s famous coconut cake. This cake is raved about all over the country and is something that every visitor should try when they are here. The Battery and East Bay Street were featured while Kathie Lee and Hoda went on a carriage tour, where they asked the guide what Charleston is best known for, which she promptly told them was Hospitality. I can’t argue with that.

They also ventured outside of downtown and gave audiences a view of Drayton Hall, one of the plantation houses. The editor of Southern Living Magazine gave a great tutorial on window boxes. Many historic homes that are lucky enough to have a yard have limited space, so the window boxes are a colorful and easy way to have your own petite garden right in front of your home.

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The owner of Hampden Clothing on King St. was also featured and discussed all different types of common southern trends. In particular, very colorful Vineyard Vines bow ties, needlepoint belts, and jewelry from local store Copper Penny. She also mentioned a few popular local items such as Callie’s Biscuits and sweetgrass baskets as things you shouldn’t leave Charleston without.

It was fun seeing our beloved city and all of the amazing things it has to offer, and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s episode will feature. Tune it at 10 AM Friday morning to see for yourself!

Charleston Single, Charleston Double.. What’s the Deal?

Whether you’re a Charleston native or a visitor, you’ve more than likely heard terms like “Charleston Single,” “Charleston Double,” “Carriage House,” or “Piazza,” to name a few. Or, you’ve seen the structures around and wondered why the homes downtown look the way they do, such as a door opening up to a piazza that leads you to the main entry into the house. Here’s some fun facts.

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Charleston Single House: This style is the most common, found exclusively in Peninsular Charleston, and a distinct feature is that it is only one room wide with the narrow end of the house facing the street. Another feature are piazzas (“porches”) that stretch alongside the house on the first and second floors. When these were built in the 17-1800s, the piazza was built as a shaded place to get away in the hot summer months. The reason for this type of architecture is for ventilation purposes. In the days before air-conditioning, a one-room-wide house offered cross-ventilation and kept the house cooler. Another key feature is the front door. The front door is located on the porch from the street and does not take you straight into the house. The main entryway is usually centered on the side of the house, so the first door on the street gives you more privacy. Another feature that is often overlooked is the carriage house,. Here is another great, full description.

 

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According to Jonathan Poston, author of the seminal The Buildings of Charleston, “the key to interpreting the single house is to look at the house, its outbuildings, and lot organization as an integrated domestic unit…. Simply put, the Charleston single house is defined as much by its dependencies and lot organization as it is by its structure.”

 

 

 

 

Charleston Double House:  A double house faces the street at full-length. The main characteristic of this type of architecture is that there is a central entrance hallway running through the house. Living rooms, drawing rooms, and other living areas are usually on either side downstairs, and the bedrooms are upstairs. They also have piazzas like Single Houses.

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Carriage House/Kitchen House: One thing that most of Charleston Homes, Single or Double, have in common are Carriage Houses. Architectural historians might refer to these as 18th and 19th century dependencies that were detached from the main house and used for all different functions other than an actual carriage house, such as kitchens, washhouses, stables, or 1014500_0984854servants’ quarters. Kitchens were the most common use. As I was recently told on a great walking tour around South of Broad (which I highly recommend), the primary reason for having a kitchen house that was separate from the rest of the house was to prevent fires. There was a time when fires were very common, and would easily jump from house to house. As a measure to try and help the problem, kitchens were detached from the main house. Once household activities started taking place under one roof, “hyphens,” or a connecting link between buildings, were built to join a freestanding kitchen to the main house.

Today many of these historic houses have been completely renovated and converted into town homes, apartments (or a pied-à-terre), or single family residences.

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Here are some great units that are currently for sale to give you an idea of what they look like:

10 Rutledge Ave. Unit C (mentioned in one of my previous posts)

50-D South Battery

107 King St.

48 1/2 South Battery

Charleston Magazine did an interesting article on the Kitchen House here.