A re-purchased ex-home is even better the second time around
George and Darlene Shaw bought their Charleston historic-district alley house-for the first time-in 1988. Divided into two apartments, its already poor condition was worsened when Hurricane Hugo peeled off the roof and wrecked the interior. While they enjoyed their off-the-beaten-path "single house" (so-called because of its one-room width with a side piazza) and the challenge of its renovation, they had always longed for a grand antebellum home with a sweeping staircase. When one they had admired for years became available in 1995, they snagged it. But George and Darlene's residential storybook has more than two chapters. The pair loved their dream home, but found it too large. Memories of their house in Charleston's historic district began to stir when, coincidentally, that house went back on the market. So in a slightly modified what-goes-around-comes-around interpretation, George and Darlene repurchased their ex-home.
Architect: Randolph Martz, Randolph Martz Architect, 107 Coming St., Charleston, SC 29403; 843/722-1339.
Interior design: Jo Kelly Edwards, ASID, NCIDQ certified, Andrea Carmichael Inc., 2726-1/2 Cahaba Rd., Mountain Brook, AL 35223; 205/871-8400 and 205/298-0787; and Claudette Boniface, Charleston, SC 29401; 843/577-2171.
Landscape architect: Byers Design Group, LLC, 125 Spring St., Charleston, SC 29403; 843/577-5703, byersdesign.com .
Photography: Gordon Beall
Produced by Lynn McBride
Strategically planted trees help block the view of the neighbor's drive.
A mirror in the entry expands the narrow space.
During the home's post-Hurricane Hugo renovation, which the Shaws implemented while in residence the first time around, architect Randolph Martz had insisted on retaining the two living room fireplaces positioned at opposite ends of the room. A round table in front of one fireplace and a seating area in front of the second was the logical arrangement. But the second time around, Darlene put a spin on that concept and placed a skirted table directly in the middle of the room with seating areas on either side. The table's central location makes it easy to convert it into additional dining space when she and George host an extra-large dinner party.
One of the design aspects that drew the homeowners back to this house was the open layout of the kitchen, dining room, and den. The room arrangement made the house perfect for their modern lifestyle and casual entertaining, allowing guests to visit with Darlene in the kitchen and have comfortable seating options nearby. With an open floor plan, an old fluted column serves as a visual partition between the kitchen and dining areas.
Dining table and chairs; mirror; column; chandelier; chairs in foreground; painted chest; accessories: owner's collection.
Rug: Zinn Rug Gallery, 843/577-0300.
The blue-and-white figure over the stove is made up of ancient tiles that George and Darlene Shaw brought back from a village in Italy. The tiles added an important focal point that the Shaws though was lacking in their first renovation.
Light floods the family room through a wall of newly added windows and French doors. Sofa pillows are covered with antique tapestries from Paris.
In the master bedroom, a mahogany four-poster bed that has traveled with the Shaws to all of their homes was given a facelift. Darlene painted it black and placed it on the diagonal against a Chinese screen.
On the second floor, a major bathroom renovation was essential. This time, mirrored French doors were affixed to the closets, making it double as a dressing room.
Darlene Shaw: She and her husband, George, found the second time around in the Charleston house they had sold and then bought back was indeed a charm.