Charleston, South Carolina – the name evokes a vision, usually, of the famed Battery and the row of majestic mansions facing out to sea. These homes welcome the sea breezes with a style of architecture unique in time and place. The architecture and its unique style is one of the many appeals of the charming city.
One style uniquely Charleston is the “single house”. Along the southwest face of the house is a full-length columned porch, or piazza, which is entered by a door on the street, and from the piazza, another door leads into the house. This construction was intended to keep the house cool, as prevailing southwest winds would sweep the house end-to-end, while the piazza roof would shade windows from the sun.
This charming and unique style has been copied elsewhere, notably in this home found on Rilman Road near the Governor’s Mansion and Pace Academy in the toney Buckhead neighborhood of my city, Atlanta. In this home, the piazza is actually on the northern side of the house, but here it serves a different architectural purpose. The front of the home is a classic hardcoat stucco construction with symmetrical windows. Stucco is also a classicCharlestonconstruction – inCharleston, it was common to place ornamental stucco over brick to help shield the brick from absorbing the excess moisture and humidity.
On Rilman, the driveway gracefully sweeps around this home to the garage in the back, so as not to disturb the front classic elevation. As you step through the front door, you enter the piazza – which in this home has been glassed in and has become part of the main living area. This was by design – in other words, this piazza was never a “porch” as one sees inCharleston, although on the second level the same space comprises a screened in porch which runs not only off the master bedroom but is also accessible from the other bedrooms on that floor.
The Rilman house in Atlanta has cleverly and beautifully adapted this charming and classic form of architecture for use on this gracious southern street. There are other unique elements reminiscent ofCharleston– the side bricked courtyard, for instance, which opens from French doors off the dining room and which offers an additional outdoor area for entertaining.
It is so refreshing when architects break away from the cookie-cutter pattern of building and adapt a style unique to the site and to the place. In this location near the Governor’s Mansion and old genteel Atlanta, the Charleston-style design blends beautifully but also offers a unique and special home to this Atlantafamily. The home is currently on the market, offered for $1,195,000, and is available for viewing by qualified buyers by appointment.