Charleston Single House Makeover
Author and singer/songwriter Carolyn Evans and her husband, Ray, live happily ever after in the easy, elegant remake of their Single House.
Charleston Single House
The Evans family loved their classic Charleston Single House, built one room wide and several rooms deep. The house had character and streams of natural light. But what it didn’t have, according to Carolyn, was a heart. “I remember saying to our architect, Gordon Nicholson, that this house has great soul but doesn’t have a heart,” she says. “That’s what our new kitchen gave us.”
When adding 100 square feet to the back of the house and opening up the former galley kitchen, Gordon not only carved out a space for them to gather but also installed floor-to-ceiling windows for more light and stabilized the house with additional beams. “Before the addition, we felt this house’s age every day,” says Carolyn. “It took me a year to get used to all of its creaks.”
And there was one more bonus that Carolyn didn’t anticipate: meeting noted Charleston interior designer Angie Hranowsky. “I’d never used a decorator because I’m pretty confident in my own style,” says Carolyn, an author and singer/songwriter. “But Gordon suggested calling Angie when I threatened to use common white subway tile for the backsplash. So we met at the backsplash and went from there.”
On the porch, or piazza, style is not an afterthought but a hint at what’s to come. Classic white wicker is re-dressed with zesty pillows to match the interior’s freshened outlook. Together, the classic white wicker and the modern India-inspired motif sum up the mix found beyond the tall windows—rooms marked by striking color, natural textures and materials, and classic Southern design with a modern, upbeat edge.
Steal this Idea: Choose porch accessories that incorporate the same colors as your garden border.
Shutter paint: Historic Charleston Green (DCR099) by Duron.
Chair cushion fabric: Confetti in Mocha from Groundworks Kelly Wearstler Collection from Lee Jofa, available through DCOTA; 954/921-7575.
Chair pillow fabric: Super Paradise Print in Punch by Trina Turk through Schumacher, also available through DCOTA.
The Evanses had acquired family furniture and purchased good upholstered pieces along the way, but what the living room needed was warmth and personality to better reflect this young, creative family. “In this room, I started with a rug that had been in the Evans family,” says Angie. “I loved how the colors in the rug picked up the hues in the bottle cap portrait above the mantel.” From these elements, she chose a luminescent peach shade for the walls. For more dimension, she layered in texture and interest with vintage pottery and artful lamps. The rich brown velvet curtains, which came with the house, frame the windows’ architecture and ground the room.
Steal this Idea: Anchor a room with a traditional rug and accessories, and then juxtapose them with modern art for a fresh feel.
Rooms in a Single House line up in a row, opening into each other. The Evanses’ dining room opens into the living room and kitchen and can be seen from both spaces. “We color-matched the wall paint to pick up the blues in a swatch of the living room curtain fabric,” says Angie. The paint color is strong enough to showcase the art and pull together varied furnishings, including Chinese Chippendale rattan and traditional mahogany pieces from Carolyn’s grandmother.
Steal this Idea: Dress down a formal table with casual painted chairs. We love the faux bamboo offerings from Ballard Designs; search “Macau chair” at ballarddesigns.com.
To transform the narrow galley kitchen into an open, airy family zone, Gordon first added a steel beam to anchor the house. Playing off that loftlike feature, they picked horizontal plank siding for the walls. Creamy lacquered cabinetry and stainless steel appliances balance the look with some city slickness. Enter Angie to pull the two sides together with naturally beautiful glass tile and modern pendant lighting.
Steal this Idea: Instead of beaded board, cover walls with horizontal planking that mimics old clapboards. Here, they’re installed flush for a more modern feel.
Cabinetry: custom by GCW Inc..
Wall paint: Silver Lining (32-32), by Pratt & Lambert.
Pendant lights: Drop 1 Pendant from Design Within Reach.
Stools: Tibetan Barstool in black by Pottery Barn.
Sink faucet: EasyInstall Pre-Rinse Unit (B-0113) by T & S Brass, available through Berlin’s Restaurant Supply, Inc..
“Old houses don’t give you much choice in where to place things,” says Angie. “There are lots of windows and fireplaces but not much wallspace. In the master bedroom, that means the bed had to stay where it was.” If you can’t rearrange a room for more impact, dress it for drama instead. An embroidered suzani found on eBay adds art, texture, and a pop of color to the bed.
Steal this Idea: Ordinary, inexpensive burlap with lining and interlining makes extraordinary curtains. Pretty them up even more with classic pinch pleats.
Wall paint: Light Blue by Farrow & Ball.
Window treatment fabric: off-white burlap with fringe, available from most fabric stores. Lining sold separately, also at fabric stores.