113 Ashley Ave. — Heritage-rich home preserves 19th century trappings, weaves in modern-age perks
By JIM PARKER
The Post and Courier
It’s a 213-year-old house that complements itself, over and over.
Certified historic, built by an early South Carolina governor and later home to a noted Southern poet, the residence is trendy, too, serving as backdrop for Johnston & Murphy’s latest line of shoes.
The owners fully restored the property four years ago in keeping with its circa 1800 roots. “They were very sensitive to preserving the original integrity of the home,” says Chasen McCall, Realtor with Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty.
Not ignoring convenience, however, they also installed high-line appliances and various creature comforts.
Since then, noted chefs such as Laurent Gras have prepared festive dinners in the gourmet kitchen. World-class cyclists have dropped by to converse with the owner — an equity trader whose resume includes an earlier stint as Secret Service “personal jogger” for former President Bill Clinton.
Few residences in peninsula Charleston are older. Yet the statuesque house is situated beyond South of Broad, even outside Slightly North of Broad.
The triple decker property is 113 Ashley Ave., also known as the Bennett-Hayne house. Encompassing 5,700 square feet with a carriage house, the fully restored property is for sale for $2,175,000.
With such features and intriguing history, the five bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home with 1,600 square feet of piazzas has attracted more than scattered interest so far.
“MUSC is right there (three blocks north),” says McCall, who is the listing agent. As a buyer? “Maybe a doctor with a family, that would be ideal,” he says. In a separate vein, “We’ve had a ton of interest from the U.K.,” he notes, guessing that Brits are intrigued with Charleston’s Old World appeal and the home’s historical bent.
“Bennett built quite a house,” says McCall, who has researched the history of 113 Ashley Ave.
• Thomas Bennett, mayor of Charleston and late South Carolina governor, built the house in 1799-1800. Sporting 12-foot ceilings in the entrance hall, the residence is considered one of the best examples of Adam-style architecture in the city. Bennett owned a lumber mill so he hand-selected the largest, best wood for his own home.
• Bennett sold the two-and-a-half story house with high brick basement to Susan McElhenny, whose daughter married Paul Hamilton Hayne. Their son, also Paul Hamilton Hayne, was born there in 1830. He grew up to be an editor and unofficial poet laureate of the South after the Civil War.
McCall also pored through a host of references to highlight specific architectural details. They include:
• The interior is notable for its original woodwork and elegant central staircase with a mahogany cantilevered stairwell and Palladian window, according to preservationists.
• There’s a two-tiered piazza with Tuscan columns and turned balusters that span the south facade and part of the west facade.
• Ornate, detailed crown moldings and mantels have been meticulously maintained through the centuries.
• Curved molding and sculptured plaster ceilings are found all the way to the third floor.
• The front bedroom on the second floor, which was the drawing room in the original house design, is said to have all of the elements of Adamesque design.
• The kitchen has the original pine floor planking.
• Adamesque fireplaces are in the formal dining room — containing Prince Leopold Marble inserts — and in the front sitting room with marble surround and carved figurines.
• A rear addition was added in the late 19th century.
• During a restoration after Hurricane Hugo, more than 200 years of paint was removed to expose intricate woodwork.
• The first roof was Royal Purple Slate from a quarry in Wales. It lasted from the days of construction to the storm, or 1799-1800 until 1989. The owners at the time of Hugo went back to the same quarry in Wales and after the storm, installed the same color slate as the original roof.
The kitchen isn’t the only room with a 21st century touch, McCall says. The redesigned basement includes a sauna, full mother-in-law suite and a utility area with washer/dryer room for housekeeping service. The master bedroom, meanwhile, sports its own washer and dryer.
Outside are landscaped grounds and gardens and a 428-square-foot brick carriage house that was once turned into a garage but since has been restored to its original 19th century styling.
McCall says the home’s location, on Ashley near Bull Street, offers pros and cons to potential buyers.
“The feedback we get is gorgeous house, but the location is a little bit of a challenge. Most people at that price point desire South of Broad,” he says.
But looked at another way, the spot is a perk. From 113 Ashley Ave., it takes minutes to reach major thoroughfares, shopping, restaurants.
“They have the (advantageous) fact,” McCall says, “that south of Broad is so deep on the peninsula.”
The residence is a couple of blocks below Calhoun Street. Heading south, take Rutledge Avenue, which is one way above Calhoun. Cross Calhoun Street and turn right on Bull Street. Make the first right on Ashley Avenue. On the left is 113 Ashley Ave.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or email@example.com
Agent: Chasen McCall
Office: Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty
Philosophy: “I aim to provide a real estate experience in a manner that distinguishes me as the benchmark for excellence and builds long term friendships with my clients. I’ve had new clients invite me to their weddings, to their son’s birthday parties. For me, the success of a real estate transaction is measured by the strength of our relationship after the closing table.”