Saturday, October 22, 2011

Opportunity of a lifetime

This historic George Robertson House in Charleston is for sale. Located at 1 Meeting Street, you can't get more South of Broad than this. This home was built in 1846 on the site of a previous home designed by James Hoban, architect of the White House. The piazza on the south side is masked by a brick wall with windows that allows the east elevation of the house to remain symmetrical. The front bay was recently removed due to structural issues and rebuilt.

This aerial view from the side exposes the piazza that looks out on to South Battery and White Point Gardens...

The George Robertson House as illustrated on a bird's eye view map of Charleston from 1872...

The Robertson family sold the house to the Ross family following the Civil War. Mary Jane Ross filled the home with art and decorative arts during the Victorian period and attempted to leave the house in a trust to be operated as a museum at her death in 1922. This never came to fruition and the contents of the house were sold in 1944.

The house today... 
A spectacular staircase... I would edit out the 50 rugs in the entrance all, eliminate that pathetic excuse for a chandelier, and remove the wallpaper...

I wish I could begin to understand the pattern of this wallpaper... you can hear this room screaming in agony from the rug, matching camel back sofas, and general color palate. At least it maintains the original mantle and woodwork... 

Through the pocket doors is the dining room... what is there to say? I'm not sure I could rationalize maintaining any piece of furniture in this room with the exception of the sideboard... think how amazing these two rooms could be... perhaps a charcoal gray wall color with soft white trim, and furniture and decorative objects in flame mahogany, vermilion, and gilt? I'd also have to get rid of those chandeliers... they somehow manage to make absolutely no decorative statement. I also wouldn't mind a taxidermy creature of some sort in one of the bay windows. 

I hate to say it... but I almost like this wallpaper. Without the bad furniture (I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume this is a real Charleston Rice bed and let that piece remain) and horrendous rug, I think I could work with it. I'd tear out the make shift closet and create something a little bit more intentional, a built in armoire of sorts, that followed the lines and proportions of the original door frame behind it.

I would assume this archway originally opened into the next room, but I like that it's closed off now. From what I can tell I love the side tables, but on further examination I'd ditch the bed and upholster the arched opening and create a bed that didn't distract from the period woodwork. We'd obviously have to say good bye to the chandelier.

What can I say? I'm horrified by everything in this room. I really can't believe that anyone living in this neighborhood is living in such an ungracious and common way. Two chests shoved up next to one another? No bed skirt? 
I'm not even going to acknowledge the trim color or wallpaper and matching drapes.
I think I love the light fixture though...

Not as awful as the previous room, but still almost unbelievable that a room like this even exists in a house such as this. The light fixtures are interesting... I think I really like them and could definitely rework them into my redecoration.

Photos of the kitchen and bathrooms are conspicuously absent... your guess is as good as mine but I would assume there are toilets in every range of pink and mauve you can imagine and faux brick linoleum in the kitchen.

and it can all be yours, horrible wallpaper and all, for a mere $7,495,000.


  1. What a stunning home but it would need my touch if I moved in! And for a mere $7,495,000. Oh dear I think I may need to find a sugar daddy! And good lick with your upcoming move. I live in Philadelphia and am in New York often. It NEVER gets tired, and even after all the time, there is always something to see!

  2. Wow. What a place. And what unfortunate decorating choices. Someone will buy it and give it it the much needed love it deserves!