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Charleston SC historic houses influence new homes’ design and construction

November 17, 2016

Tagged as: Housing Trends

Categories: The Guide  Lowcountry Neighborhood News  

From its founding, Charleston has influenced the rest of the country. The list of Charleston “firsts” is long and varied. These days, Charleston’s amazing, and beautiful built environment influences new home construction all across the Lowcountry.

charleston single house bruce tuten
Photo by Bruce Tuten


The Charleston single house

The primary style frequently emulated by new home builders, is the Charleston single house. Read our post on the distinctiveness of Charleston’s homes. The single house is a single room wide with the gable end (the narrow end of the house) turned towards the street. Homes were constructed of wood and or locally made brick.

Single houses were frequently placed on narrow, deep lots with the homes abutting the street. Utility buildings, gardens and carriage houses were behind the home. A variant of the single home was the two room wide “double house.” Charleston’s streetscape followed the European style of placing homes close to the street. This created a lively streetscape where people interacted and strolled, conducted commerce and passed the time of day.

Front doors to Charleston homes were placed on the long side of the house, protected by the piazza. A door onto the piazza was usually street front, allowing you to walk along the piazza to the actual front door. Sometimes you hear people call these false doors, but they are real doors.

Photographer Bruce Tuten documented a Charleston single home on his visit to here with two photos. In the first image (above), you can see the piazza door from the street front, as well as the single width facade. In the second photo, you can easily see the piazza area, which was and is used as an outdoor living space.

charleston piazza home bruce tuten
Photo by Bruce Tuten

Piazzas, called porches by many people, are frequently found either on the south or west facing facade of the house to shield the home and its occupants from the heat of the intense summer sun.


Piazzas on new homes in Charleston

New home builders in the Charleston area are constructing homes in communities to emulate all that is loved about classic Charleston architecture.

In the 19th century, many homes in Charleston were constructed with tall jib windows allowing immediate access onto the piazza, creating a very open feeling during summer and permitting lots of breezes.

Charleston historic Edmonston Alston House, today a museum open to tourists has, jib windows onto the piazza which you can see depicted in this image.

charleston historic home porch
Photo by Mr.TinDC

At Freeman's Point, FrontDoor Communities has a home with similar windows.

freemans point model home by frontdoor communities on james island sc
FrontDoor Communities model at Freeman's Point

Also at Freeman’s Point, FrontDoor Communities and Ashton Woods are constructing this home which is influenced by the Charleston single house. This board and batten sided house, is situated on a narrow, deep lot with all utility buildings such as garages and sheds tucked away from view.

freemans point ashton woods model home exterior james island sc
Ashton Woods model at Freeman's Point


Grand entrances

The classic facade of a Charleston home with broad, welcoming steps and a columned front porch and working shutters is the inspiration for this home at The Landing at Poplar Grove. The front door, surrounded by sidelights and topped with a transom also is in sync with traditional Charleston styles.

new home exterior poplar grove southeastern family homes charleston sc
Southeastern Family Homes at Poplar Grove

Compare it to this historic Charleston Home and you can see a common ancestry.

charleston historic home with columns and double porch
Photo by Jack Duval


Affordable homes in the Charleston style

At Summer Wood, Sabal Homes takes the concept of a single house and places the garage in front for quick access. You can also see how the narrow, deep lot configuration continues in this community, just as it does in historic Charleston.

new home exterior sabal homes summer wood summerville sc
Sabal Homes at Summer Wood


New homes, Charleston style

With new home builders in Charleston building in the style of classic designs, you don’t have to live in the historic district to enjoy the feeling of Charleston. You can live in a contemporary home designed and built for the way we live now, with all the modern conveniences and technology. And you can still feel that connection to Charleston’s past.


Thank you for reading and sharing our articles from The Greater Charleston New Homes Guide. Our business is to know Charleston, SC's new home construction, home builders, neighborhoods and homes so we may assist you as you take your new construction home journey. Please take the time to explore our library of helpful tips, guides and insights. The Greater Charleston New Homes Guide is considered the most comprehensive and reliable resource to new home construction, builders, neighborhoods and homes throughout the Lowcountry.

Tagged as: Housing Trends

Categories: The Guide  Lowcountry Neighborhood News  

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