Preservation and imagination join forces in Cameron Schwabenton's update of a 1770s guesthouse in Charleston, perfectly reflecting the Southern city's penchant for renovation.
The entrance to this Charleston, South Carolina, kitchen house — now a guesthouse — opens onto a bluestone courtyard with seating by Janus et Cie.
Constructed around 1772, the building originally served as this urban plantation's "kitchen house." Today, after a complete renovation, it functions as a guesthouse. Schwabenton aimed to highlight and preserve the historic elements of the house, and the result is an eclectic and welcoming space that fits in with the distinct aesthetic of modern-day Charleston.
To bring old-world flavor into the living room — part of a 1980s addition to the house — Schwabenton installed shiplap walls painted in Sherwin-Williams's Ligonier Tan. A custom sectional is covered in Pierre Frey's Lafayette. The unlacquered brass coffee table was custom-made by a metalsmith in New England, and the 19th-century marble silhouettes are by C.N. Pike, who worked for the U.S. Mint.
In the living room, Schwabenton of Cameron Stewart places a vintage Lee Woodard rocking chair on an antique Oushak rug. An antique brass oil lamp rewired as a sconce hangs above an Empire card table.
The designer chose warm, muted colors in the living room to offset the wood and plaster walls. She used a range of Pierre Frey fabrics, from tweed and damask to plaid, to represent different eras and the long history of the house. The sofa has become a favorite hangout for the homeowner's dog, Georgia.
An antique card table is adorned with vintage books and a childhood silhouette of the homeowner. The reclaimed-wood mantel complements the warmth of the paint on the walls. Just out of sight are French doors that bathe the room in natural light.
Walls were stripped down to the original brick and plaster. In the dining nook, the table is reclaimed pine, and the antique Anglo-Indian chairs are covered in Moore & Giles's Kipling leather. The custom banquette is in Prince of Wales fabric by de Le Cuona.
The stairs' deep hue, Benjamin Moore's Polo Blue, ties back to indigo, once a major local crop.
The sun-drenched kitchen features cabinets paneled in old-growth cypress wood salvaged during the home's renovation. Schwabenton chose unlacquered brass hardware, which ages over time and adds to the rustic feel of the space. Sub-Zero undercounter refrigerators and freezers hide in plain sight to maintain the streamlined design.
The restoration revealed traces of blue pigment on the original lime-washed walls, which inspired the palette of a guest room.
The farmhouse sink in this guest bathroom is a subtle nod to the home's earlier days as a kitchen house. The white earthquake rod running through the doorway was uncovered during the renovation; it was put in for structural stability after an earthquake rocked Charleston in 1886. Benjamin Moore's Polo Blue on the walls adds a modern pop of color to this historic home.
A guest bedroom's custom canopy, in Vaughan's Mino embroidered linen and Intex's Basketcase raw silk, adds softness.
"This room was inspired by Charleston's eclectic history as a melting pot of various cultures and religions," Schwabenton said. A vintage Bottega Veneta suitcase sits against the rough plaster wall, and the linen and raw-silk canopy creates the illusion of a four-poster bed. The Douglas Balentine drawing over the bed is meant to serve as the room's centerpiece.
The master bathroom's sinks are by Kohler, the unlacquered brass fittings are by Watermark Designs and the shower is lined in Alabama white marble. The sconces are 1930s Italian. The walls are lined in cypress shiplap with a tung-oil finish.
In the master bedroom, the custom cypress platform bed has a roll-out trundle for guests with children. The hand-blown-glass chandelier is by David Taylor. The fur pillows were made from a vintage Pierre Cardin coat.
Read more about the Cameron Schwabenton's inspiration for the home here. For more details, see resources.
This story originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Miescisko.