The Charleston Single
When I think of Charleston homes, the first type of home that pops into my mind is a Charleston single. I remember coming to Charleston when I was younger and walking the streets, doing historical tours and just being amazed by all the beautiful homes. These days it’s fun to test born and bred Charleston friends about their knowledge of the history of their city.
I wanted to share a little about the Charleston single because that was the first and biggest project that my husband and I completed thus far, and it was the project that jump started us into flipping homes.
These homes date back to the mid 1800’s, if not earlier. The two “porches” on the side of the homes are actually called piazzas. The piazzas typically face South or West to allow the ocean breeze to flow through the home to cool during the hot, humid summer days.
On the first floor of the piazza there is a door. That door is not actually the door to the home, it’s the door to the piazza which leads you to the main door. If the piazza door was closed, that meant that the owners did not want company.
Your neighbors were always very close. So, you will notice on the piazza side that faced the close neighbor, there were typically no windows to maintain privacy. You would stare at the wood planks of your neighbors home while out on the piazzas.
The homes are usually one room wide and several rooms long. As you walked into our home, you would walk into the foyer and look at the stairs that led you to the second floor. To the left was the formal living room, to the right of the foyer was the dining room, walk through that space to the den and kitchen.
When we bought our first Charleston single – 10 years ago – it was very dilapidated and I was terrified to call my family to let them know about our little investment.
We placed jacks underneath the home, hooked up chains to it and lifted it to build a brand new foundation because the home was crooked from Hurricane Hugo and had been abandoned for 20+ years. Once we were done, it looked like this:
We had to tear down the piazzas and rebuild them because of their poor condition.
This was our piazza with a door wide open, welcoming guests. It would make me so happy to come home.
This is the back of the home; this is just a little peek into the condition of this home.
We were lucky to be able to tear this down and build a much larger space. We took advantage of our piazzas being torn down and put a pool in the backyard.
I have to confess. I get nostalgic and sad when I look back at these images. The memories – the fun of being picked up by a rickshaw for date night, walking home through the old historical streets – it was magical. But, the home wasn’t practical for us and a new baby. I know we will be downtown again one day. In the mean time we will continue renovating one home at a time, and we will love them each dearly and make great memories.
Happy weekend friends!
PS- To see more of the inside of our home click here!