Charlotte Interior Designer Creates Beautiful Gracious Southern Home On Historic Charleston, SC Battery
Posted on | April 16, 2015 | 1 Comment
For a designer, every project is an exciting challenge and a labor of love. However, along come the projects every now and then that are the stuff that a designer’s dreams are made of. Charlotte interior designer Amy Vermillion of Amy Vermillion Interiors was delighted to be tasked with such a dream project – a loving and thoughtful whole-home renovation on a gem of a house, in one of the nation’s most gracious and historic neighborhoods.
Images Courtesy of Amy Vermillion Interiors ©
The “Grand Old Lady,” as Amy affectionately calls the home, was built in 1857, on Charleston, South Carolina’s famous Battery. It had seen an earthquake, a flood, and even a Civil War, which began just a few hundred feet from its doorstep. It had suffered some abuses, and was showing its age, but with Amy’s talent, creativity, determination and exacting attention to detail, this grand dame now has the new life she deserves.
Amy was happy to tell North Carolina Design all about the project, and we were happy to listen. “It was a designer’s dream house,” she says. “It had such an incredible history, which you could sense, and see and touch. It had a good energy and a really cool vibe. It had those iconic Charleston verandas, and a beautiful courtyard with the most charming garden. Then of course there was the location. It was amazing to hang out in Charleston, and to walk along The Battery.”
Of course, even a dream project comes with its fair set of challenges. “There were all sorts of problems,” Amy concedes. “Nothing in the house lined up. The walls were crooked, the floor was crooked — there was a whole funhouse effect going on. The kitchen was small, non-functional, and terrible, and it had ugly black mold crawling up the walls. The house also had a super-creepy elevator, which was originally a super-creepy stairway that led to the servant’s quarters on the third floor.”
Amy notes that the master bathroom was her biggest challenge. “It was a nightmare,” she affirms. “We’re talking budget hotel terrible. It had been remodeled – badly –several times, and it had no consistent aesthetic. It also had antique lighting that was half gas and half electric. When electric lighting was new, people didn’t trust it to work all the time, so they used half-gas fixtures to ensure that they would have lighting one way or another.”
With the help of an accommodating and expertly skilled contractor, Amy was able to take on each new challenge and create a truly spectacular space that honored the home and its history, yet gave it fresh appeal. “We made all the walls and the floors level,” she recounts. “We updated the master bath, and gave it a custom floating vanity and a garden tub, which sat under a new window. The antique lighting still has gas knobs for fun, and the new sconces for the mirrors mimic half-gas fixtures.”
Amy also transformed the servant’s quarters into a cozy guest suite, created a functional and beautiful kitchen, and developed a custom color palette to highlight her client’s incredible art collection. And the super-creepy elevator? “We made it into a super-fabulous wine refrigerator.”
The home’s history, beauty and charm weren’t the only aspects that made this a dream project for Amy. “I have always loved working with this client,” she says. “I have done homes for him both before and since, and I appreciate his loyalty and faith in me so much. He completely trusts my ability to execute his vision, and gives me free rein. That allows me to create, and really do my very best and most exciting work.”
“Designing is all about achieving the client’s goals and creating a space that they love,” she continues. “But when a client really trusts their designer – when they can be free to experiment with colors and fabrics and textures and new ideas – great things happen. Ordinary projects become amazing collaborations, with incredible results. I think this project is a great example of that.”