Realigning piazza porches, beautifying pine floors and crafting a half bath below the first floor were jobs that helped renew a 19th century East Bay Street home.

But the project that most exemplifies the intricate, painstaking effort to resurrect the residence involved returning the mahogany staircase banister to its natural look.

The handrail - a continuous piece of wood zigzagging from the first to third stories - had been subjected to many coverings and sealants by various owners throughout the years. Renovation professionals carefully scraped off layer after layer, not knowing when they would hit pay-dirt. All told, the historic-minded contractors would peel off 14 surfaces of varnish, luster and paint before uncovering the virgin wood.

The arduous endeavor followed many hours studying what the 2,200-plus square foot main house at 283 E. Bay St. and neighboring 900-square-foot kitchen house looked like around the time James K. Polk was president.

"They've done a lot of research," says Denise Holtz, Realtor with Luxury Simplified Group. She is listing agent for 283 E. Bay and 27 Hasell streets, which are on the market as a tandem for $1,850,000.

The East Bay Street house dates to 1840, while the Hasell Street property is somewhat newer although there's no definitive age, Holtz says. Still, the buildings were part of the same estate early on. That's why "we prefer to sell them together," she says.

Interested buyers have toured the houses, the first two consisting of families. "I think this house would work for a second home," she says.

The residences serve as a benchmark for Charleston-based Luxury Simplified Group. They're the first properties restored by the multi-tasking real estate company and then put up for sale.

Chris Leigh-Jones, who with his wife Sebrina started Luxury Simplified Group, made another find in the main house: the original water-collecting cistern below the kitchen floor. The remodelers preserved a floor cutout to show the spot.

Designers installed the half bath - a newly constructed room in the house - as an extra perk for the first floor. Sporting an exposed-brick wall, the powder room is down a short flight of stairs off the foyer.

Here's how Luxury Simplified sizes up the houses in a real estate brochure it prepared:

-The four-bedroom main house at 283 E. Bay St. touts "all the modern amenities you desire" such as stainless steel kitchen appliances, central heat and air conditioning as well as energy-efficient units on the top level. The 21st century fixtures complement elegant original features including the hardwood floors, "classic piazzas, multiple fireplaces and restored plaster medallions."

-A well-appointed, stylish custom-kitchen touts a nearby wet-bar, making it "perfect for entertaining." The kitchen opens to a spacious dining room "with glamorous chandelier and ample room for a table that seats eight."

-Cozy main living room offers "generous windows and loads of natural light."

-Meanwhile, the "charming" kitchen house sits off a lush, private courtyard and has been carefully updated to include modern conveniences found in today's classic pied-ŗ-terre.

-The two level house features a cooks kitchen providing high end finishes and all the accessories to prepare gourmet meals, "inviting" first floor living room and a second tier "loft-style bedroom flooded with natural light" and adjacent to a spa-like bathroom.

"This home is designed for the indoor-outdoor lowcountry lifestyle," the flier points out.

Holtz says that's most evident on the upper piazza, which is accessible from bedrooms. "You're able to have your coffee and watch the traffic go by."

The main home and kitchen house are toward the center of East Bay Street. To get there traveling south, take East Bay Street to Calhoun Street. Continue three blocks to Hasell Street. On the southwest corner is 283 E. Bay. Go through the courtyard or house itself to 27 Hasell.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.

AGENT SPOTLIGHT

Agent: Denise Holtz

Office: Luxury Simplified Group

Phone: 843-853-6055

Philosophy: "The Luxury Simplified Group is a partnership of like-minded services in real estate, marketing, design, architecture, construction, custom home building and hospitality. The expression of luxury is different for each of us, from simple convenience to indulgent success; its core is the same. I'm here to ensure that the experience is simple, uncomplicated and positive - every step of the way."

www.luxurysimplifiedgroup.com