The Post and Courier

Anyone who says owners don’t think personally of their homes should take a look at a bedroom in one West Ashley residence built in 1950.

The room, which is barely large enough to move around in, sports a miniature bed and possesses a narrow closet. Yet it was designed that way for a touching reason: as a gift of a father who labored at the former Charleston Naval Shipyard to his young son to show him what a ship’s berth was like in the old days.

The tiny bedroom, small but useable, is maybe the only one-of-a-kind feature of the house at 9 Peeks Pike west of the Ashley. But the 1,650-square-foot masonry residence, shaded by towering oak trees, has a number of unusual and stand-out aspects.

Brian Seitz, agent with Coldwell Banker United, Realtors, says 9 Peeks Pike is “a unique property because it’s a 1950s cottage that’s been upgraded to today’s modern standards.”

The house and an adjoining guest suite are on the market for $339,000, says Seitz, who is listing agent. All told, the dwellings boast four bedrooms and three baths.

Credit the present owners, Rafael and Jody Villarreal, for many of the newer features.

The couple upgraded the kitchen — installing stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, subway backsplash and various shapes of wooden cabinets. They also touched up the cinderblock frame. They put down hardwood floors and fit in a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. And, the owners converted a family room-sunroom into office space.

Seitz says the couple also made the house, which has a wood-burning fireplace in the living room, more energy-efficient.

The most extensive improvements, however, were to a 500-square-foot guest suite just behind the main house.

“It was very, very old,” Jody Villarreal says.

They designed a deluxe kitchen, an open family room and an extra-large bedroom and bath.

“We’ve actually ‘vacationed’ out here,” she says.

“Now it’s a great place for someone living with you,” whether occasional guests or a live-in mother-in-law, Seitz says. Or it could be a hangout for a teenager or a place for a son or daughter in college to stay when returning home for spring break, winter holidays or summer vacation.

A personal touch from the Villarreals was to keep a few of the period features. A semi-circular wooden wedge at waist level protrudes from a hall wall: that’s where the telephone and accessories such as the phone book sat. The couple turned it into a small counter.

Elsewhere, the original double chimes hang next to a wall, although they no longer are connected to the doorbell.

Meanwhile, Rafael Villarreal can appreciate the ship-like bedroom: He is a Marine stationed at Charleston Naval Weapons Station.

Outside, the couple landscaped the front yard and tidied the back lawn. They also fitted a gas grill between the guest house and the main residence next to a sprawling oak tree — one of three grand oaks on the property — that prior owners enwrapped with a circular park bench. The bench eventually was removed because the tree kept growing out to it.

“It’s got a lot of nice little features,” he says. “This part is great for entertaining.” The oak trees provide ample shade. “We get into the summer time, the house stays cool,” she says.

Seitz notes that the home’s location is ideal. “Downtown is only minutes away. You can go to James Island and Folly parks. It’s so close to Avondale shops. Everything you need, you can walk to.”

The residence is toward the upper tip of Avondale. Heading west, cross the Ashley River Bridge to St. Andrews Boulevard (S.C. Highway 61). Proceed past the traffic light at Wesley Drive and follow the boulevard for another mile. Pass Oakdale and take the next left, which is Peeks Pike. Ahead on the right is 9 Peeks Pike.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or


Agent: Brian Seitz

Office: Coldwell Banker United, Realtors

Phone: 843-708-2308

Philosophy: “It’s all about the clients first. I want to understand their real estate needs and use my passion and knowledge of the local market to educate and guide them through this major purchase or sale. This explains why I chose real estate as a career: To help people make better decisions!”