Charming century-old home sports quirks of yesteryear aside gourmet kitchen, swimming pool

The 5,400-square-foot house at 80 Rutledge Avenue was built around 1908.

Leroy Burnell

Historic Charleston is blanketed with houses that out-vintage 80 Rutledge Avenue and has more than a few that are larger.

But from Georgia Bell’s viewpoint, you would be hard-pressed to find a house so majestic.

“This is truly a grand home,” says Bell, agent with Williams Means Real Estate, in her listing. “The owner is a perfectionist, and it shows.”

Built around 1908, the 5,400-square-foot house is priced for sale at $1,749,000.

The three-story home, not far from Colonial Lake, preserves its Georgian style and Victorian-era flavor. But it matches the 103-year-old frame with today’s creature comforts such as a backyard swimming pool, gardens, detached garage and upscale kitchen with Sub-Zero refrigerator, Bosch dishwasher, and Viking range.

“We’ve had a lot of showings,” Bell says. “Everything’s been totally renovated, stem to stern.”

An iron gate is at the center of the front yard facing Rutledge Avenue. The walkway passes through a shaded lawn to stairs that rise to an extra-wide front porch. The porch wraps around the south side, and another set of steps comes up from a long driveway that can hold four cars or more. The driveway, which connects to a detached garage in back, borders a tall fence on the south side.

Just inside the front door is an enclosed foyer. That opens to a pair of large rooms on either wing, a media room with a low ledge on one end where a big screen TV could fit, and a living room on the opposite side.

Period hardwood floors, found on all three levels, distinguish the sprawling home as do high ceilings, crown molding and large windows, some of which start at the floor level.

At the base of a long center hallway is a fireplace, set back in an alcove. Off the hallway is the formal dining room, complete with a built-in china cabinet and a separate door to lock up valuables.

Contrasting the 100-year-old trappings of the front of the house is the upscale kitchen. A step above an adjacent family room, the kitchen is dominated by a custom island with mahogany countertop. Stainless appliances complement oak cabinets.

Out back is a balcony overlooking the pool and gardens, with steps leading down to the landscaped back yard. The garage is just off the pool deck.

Also accessible from the main level is a basement with brick flooring. Bell says the space could be turned into a wine cellar.

An up-and-back flight of stairs, highlighted by stainless Tiffany glass panes at the turn, leads to the wide open second floor. There are three to four rooms that can be used as bedrooms and two baths, one with a whirpool tub and a massive shower with double shower heads. A few rooms sport small corner sinks: Bell says she’s been told that the house once had a second floor doctor’s office.

The third floor, in what was once the attic, consists of another large bedroom and full bath. A connecting ladder leads to an angled window that opens onto the roof-top deck. The deck offers stellar high-rise scenes of the Charleston peninsula.

A quirky feature in the house are “telephone boxes,” small wall cabinets with doors that in the early 1900s would have held telephones, Bell says.

According the Bell, the property would be a good fit for a larger household. There’s multiple parking and plenty of yard space for children.

“Actually, a family would be perfect,” Bell says.

The house is located between Calhoun and Broad streets. To get there from downtown, travel west on Broad and turn right on Rutledge Avenue. Just past Beaufain Street is 80 Rutledge on the right. From the Crosstown, take Rutledge heading south. Go about four blocks past Calhoun. On the left is 80 Rutledge.