FEB 11th

My Client’s Historic Home on Charleston’s Battery

I can finally post my finished photos of our Charleston project since they are published in this month’s Urban Home Magazine.  Thank you Urban Home, I truly appreciate the wonderful feature.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Project

Some of you have followed the Charleston project along the way and now I can share the final transformation of this grand old lady who made it through the Civil War, the Great Earthquake and Hurricane Hugo.  One of my readers recently took a picture standing outside the house and sent it to me…it was really nice to see!

If you missed the previous blog posts about the journey of this house you can catch up here, here and here.  Here is the exterior After—you gotta have a little dessert before dinner.  Right?

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Charleston Battery Historic Home

Here’s what it was like during:

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home IMG_0618 IMG_0731 IMG_0733

Besides correcting the structural issues, the bathroom was the trickiest in an aesthetic sense.  This is a totally typical daily phonecall between Harper Finucan (the wonderful contractor) and myself.

“Hello Happy?” (His nickname)

“Hello ma’am, it’s Harper Finucan…”  (At this point we are talking several times a day so the formality always tickled me).

“Yes, hello Happy, how’s it going down there on Water Street?”

“Well ma’am, we’ve run into a small problem.  We opened things up in the Master Bathroom and there’s a solid brick wall running straight through where you want to put your new vanity.”

“I see.  Can you tell me how much it’s going to cost to take down that brick wall from 1857 that’s running through the middle of where I want to put my vanity?”

Silence.  Long pause.  “Hmmmm.  I will have to do some figuring.  But we can do it.  We always find a way to do it.”

“Awesome Happy.  That’s what I love about y’all.  Just give me an idea so I can get up with my client.”

“Yes, ma’am”

There were lots of calls like that and most of them went just fine.  We had some real problems along the way…sloped ceilings, fun house door ways, floors that gave you the drunk feeling that you just had eight mint juleps on a humid day, you know…old house stuff.  The house sits on Water Street which is literally on the water.  When the tide comes in you can hear the water rushing down the street in an old sewer system.  The worst was the black mold.  And it was literally crawling up the walls when we removed the old kitchen backsplash.  We had to remediate that properly- which was an unexpected and very unpleasant surprise.

Here are the bathroom befores:







Here are the construction photos.  This is where we made room for a little bigger shower.  You can see the challenge of the sloped old ceilings.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

At one point we had trades going in and out of the second story window:

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

The blue tape is where the vanity will be.  I like to get a real sense of where things will be located and what the scale will be.  Drawings are great and necessary but my old friend blue tape always shows my client exactly what’s going down.  Literally.  Works for furniture layout too.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

Let’s move that tape again for Amy.  Bless anyone that’s ever worked with me.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

I put in a window where there was formerly an unfortunate mirror above the old tub. Not the easiest trick because of the old exterior but I felt strongly about it since the old bathroom was so dark and cramped feeling.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

New window, new tub!  The light fixture is an antique Half and Half.  It was originally half gas and half electric as people didn’t quite trust electricity when it first made it into the home.  And it truly wasn’t always reliable.  One never knew if the lights would come on when they threw the switch eighty years ago.  I chose a modern sconce from Visual Comfort to compliment the antique one.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

Putting in the vanity:

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

Putting in the brace for the mirror:

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

Here’s Mr. Harper Finucan.  I think I gave him every gray hair on his head.  And the man is a saint!

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

Locating the plumbing in the field.  And the marble tiles are in!

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

Here we start the Afters!

The tub with its new window:

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

The shower detail:

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

I designed the vanity to allow for two sinks in a space where we didn’t have a lot of length, but a lot of depth.  I floated the mirror so you can see through on either side with a continuous counter top for maximum surface area.  This is where Happy demo’ed a crumbling (but sturdy) brick wall and you can see the new light sconces on the mirror that work well with the antique Half and Half ceiling fixture.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

Because the mirror wall doesn’t go all the way to the wall, it opens up the bathroom nicely.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

Bedroom on the third floor overlooking Water Street.  One of the challenges on upper floors in older homes is the lack of heating and cooling.  We put in a mini split which provides great air conditioning in these former servant quarters.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

The hallway after we straightened the floors.  The beautiful old Antique Heart Pine is delicious.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

The original stairway is lovely and I decided on a modern David Hicks patterned carpeting.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

The Butlers Pantry.  We removed an old elevator that didn’t function and installed a wine cellar for my client. Before the elevator, it was a creepy dark stairway for the servants.  We made the decision to leave the old brick exposed and keep the kitchen smaller to preserve some of the character of the house.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

The kitchen is small but totally functional.  There are floor to ceiling pantry cabinets that we installed since there was no storage. Obviously when this house was built, there was no kitchen inside and many Charleston homes from that time period have smaller kitchens compared to newer homes of the same size.  Kitchens are put in spaces that weren’t originally intended for that purpose.

I chose a leathered Absolute Black countertop and Calcutta Marble mosaic backsplash.  We had used this Shaw’s farmhouse sink at my client’s previous residence and he liked it so much we did it again.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic home on Charleston's Battery

I love the light and airy family room off the kitchen that looks out to the courtyard:

Amy Vermillion- Historic Charleston Home

The courtyard has been featured in several Charleston magazines and I can tell you from many hours of sitting out there that it is as idyllic as it looks.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

The living room is one of my favorite spots.  My client has a wonderful art collection and we had fun placing his pieces in rooms with fourteen foot ceilings.  The ceiling medallions are just wonderful.  I wish you could see the intricate carved original plaster in detail.  I swooned when we looked at the house the first time.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

Details from the Living Room: I’m insane over this solid rock crystal lamp.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

You can see the ceiling medallion reflected in the eglomise top of the cocktail table:

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

There is another medallion in the Dining Room and I love the carved chandelier from Niermann Weeks to compliment it. I chose a Niermann Weeks piece for the Living Room as well.

Amy Vermillion Interiors- Historic Charleston Home

Thank you for making it through this post!  I don’t know about you but I sure would like to be sitting here now enjoying the warm breezes from the bay with a good book.

Amy Vermillion Interiors -Historic Charleston Home

If you would like to read the article in Urban Home Magazine, please read here.

pretty pictures by Tim Buchman

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38 Responses to My Client’s Historic Home on Charleston’s Battery

  1. I finally figured out where to leave a comment!!!! Wow Amy this is AMAZING. Bravo to you and your vision and perseverance. (and Happy’s too). Loved the exchange between you…….anywho you have done a fabulous job and the transformation is incredible, beautiful home!! Love that front porch too…….they must be beyond thrilled.

    • Amy says:

      Thank you Tina! I am so glad you stopped by and left a comment! Thank you for your kind words…we do indeed have a very happy client. Your “basement” remodel is looking gorgeous my friend. XO

  2. Debbie says:

    Amy, this is beautiful! What lucky clients you have! Based on the gorgeousness, they don’t seem too themselves bad either.

  3. You have done a magnificent job on this home. It’s beautiful and retains all of its history with an incredibly designed interior. Congratulations!

  4. Gorgeous! My kind of house. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Darcel says:

    This is truly a transformation! That bathroom… seriously. You are uber-talented. I like the neutral paint you chose for the family room and the bedroom. What color is it?

  6. Doreen says:

    WOW… so incredibly beautiful!!! I just love everything you did. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Maribeth says:

    Absolutely beautiful! Your attention to detail is magnificent.

  8. Delaine says:

    Beautiful!!! Did you use the same paint color on the walls and trim throughout the home? I have Ben Moore Linen White on my trim and am trying to figure out a wall color that would look nice with the Linen White. I can change the trim color if I need to so I can achieve the same look as the Charlotte home. Thank you for sharing!!!

    • Amy says:

      Thanks Delaine. I didn’t use the same colors- just the same palette. Everything looks good with linen white- we used to have a saying, “when in doubt, choose linen white!” That being said, it’s a warm based white so keep that in mind for your color selection.

      • Delaine says:

        Which color did you use on the trim and ceiling to go with the Edgecomb gray? Would you have a few minutes to list the colors of the palette that you used. I have no idea of how to go about choosing a palette? Again, the home is beautiful and I would like to achieve this same feel and look in my home. My trim and shutters are similar to what you used in the home. Thank you again!!!!!

        • Amy says:

          I would love to help but our clients pay for me to put together a color palette and design their homes. I am happy to give out some information but I hope you can understand that I have to respect my clients who hire me. If you are struggling with paint colors, perhaps hire a designer in your area to put together an entire color palette based on your home. Best to you. Amy

  9. Geoffrey says:

    This is literally unbelievable. Given all the problems– and yet you have created a masterpiece– it is as if some SUPREMELY gifted designer in 1854 was able to travel into the future and bring back today’s best into his/hers brand new 1854 mansion. What an amazing vision! A dream that you made come true…..

  10. Kate says:

    Amy – what a beautiful home! It’s always such a pleasure reading your posts.

    • Amy says:

      Thank you Kate! I’m so glad you enjoy. I don’t have much time to write anymore but I really enjoy it. It’s always nice to know so thank you!

  11. Mr. V says:

    What an amazing project – so beautiful! I’m so proud of your work – especially when it’s given the opportunity for others to see! And, hey, Happy Valentine’s Day!

  12. Amy says:

    Thank you Mr. Vermillion!!!

  13. Anne says:

    Amy, following you on Facebook & Instagram is such a delight I look forward to. When I was in Charleston last week I was inspired by your photos taken during this renovation – gardens, wrought iron gates & the project of course! So imagine me delight when I happened upon the actual house! I enjoyed all the details you shared and beautiful photographs. Inspiring, my drug of choice!! The very small project you helped me with is done and received many compliments. Thank you for sharing your artistic loves, Anne

    • Amy says:

      I was so thrilled with the picture you sent! I’m so glad your project came off to your liking.
      Thanks very much for reading, following and your kind words.

  14. Nancy Williams says:

    What a treat to see the “after” pictures that you teased us with on Facebook! There isn’t one detail that I’m not oogleing, if that’s even a word!


  15. carol@6Wilsonblog.com says:

    Amy! I died at every image. Truly, you are so insanely talented. I need to read your blog more, as instagram just doesnt do your projects enough justice ;-) I just love your work. Xx

  16. Sabryna KURTZ says:

    Every detail of this renovation is gorgeous. The finishes, design, the natural light, and I’m especially in LOVE with the artwork on the walls. I love all the layering of lamps, books, fabrics, and knick-knacks. I can’t wait until I can layer again without a 4yo and 20mo hands touching everything.

  17. Jenn says:

    Just found your blog today and this home is stunning! I can’t wait to see what you do next — honestly I don’t know why I bother watching anything on HGTV because you and other designers on the internet are doing it so much better!

  18. Lily says:

    So beautiful! I would love to move in today! (I’m sure your client would love that).

    Can you tell me who made the bedding? (maybe I can have a little all this beauty)

  19. Katherine Farless says:

    Amy, I love following you on Instagram and reading your blog. Your work is beautiful, creative, and inspiring. Is the coverlet and shams featured in the bedroom custom made or a ready order?

    Thank you,

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