Original heart pine floors, five fireplaces and stained glass grace a 178-year-old home set equidistant from Pitt Street Pharmacy and Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church.
That’s quite an achievement for a house considered in “terrible disrepair” when the owner went to work reclaiming the property in 2004.
On closer inspection, there’s much more. The restoration exhibits a harmonious undertone of 21st century features that fit flawlessly within the antebellum backdrop, akin to installing a high-tech GPS system invisible to the naked eye within a painstakingly rebuilt antique wooden sailboat.
For all the standout exposed beam and classic brick wall supports at 439 Church St., the 5,054-square-foot Charleston home also features hand-held Lutron infrared light switches that control the intensity with digital-like movements; low carbon, stainless steel nautical-like lamps over the master bathroom’s jetted tub; and a gourmet kitchen furnished with Viking and Sub-Zero appliances, center island and granite counter tops.
“(The owner has) taken a very historic property” and carefully restored it, says Kevin Driggers, Realtor with Ravenel Associates Real Estate. “He salvaged every window he could.” Roger Elliott, the owner, brought the house into modern times with such perks as a water filtration system and a host of eco-friendly adjustments that hold the three tier home’s power bill to $340 a month.
Driggers and real estate partner Sarah Reber, also of Ravenel Associates, promote the site in three ways: They cite its removed, yet convenient location a couple of blocks from Coleman Boulevard, the “historical aspects, and the quality of the renovation,” Driggers says. The house lists for $2,198,500.
In the listing information, Reber and Driggers describe 439 Church St. as a ”beautifully restored 1800s Charleston home in the historic Old Village.”
Playing off the agency’s name, they note that prospective buyers have “an absolutely RARE opportunity to experience coastal living at its finest in one of the most dynamic locations in the country.”
The Realtors cite “pristine renovations over the last 11 years” that will interest discerning buyers. From the front, “striking double grand piazzas welcome you to the spacious entry, wide hallway and formal study to the right.” The Charleston single house also gleams with “handsome, antique heart-of-pine flooring throughout.” Ceilings are 10-plus feet high on the main and upper floors except in the great room, which has a vaulted cypress ceiling that’s more like 20 feet high. Off the great room is a bar that includes a mahogany counter top and “the original stained glass from 1837,” Reber says.
According to the agent pair, “No details were spared in renovation: period windows, hardware, trim and exquisite carpentry.”
Elsewhere the property shows off “spacious rooms and storage.” The four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home boasts a master’s suite upstairs. The bath includes both tub and shower. A walk-in closet contains a mini-refrigerator and coffee maker.
Across the hall, there’s a guest suite with its own bath. The house includes a semi-basement on the ground floor that also has a bedroom, full bath, storage and a laundry. The upper piazza provides broad views of Church Street.
The property touts a sizable backyard with full lawn and a landscaping system that traps rainwater runoff and recycles it.
Reber and Driggers noted the residence’s mix of antique and present day.
“While period sensitive, modern conveniences were embraced to make this classic home efficient.” They cite the water purification system, back-up generator, extra insulation and hurricane strapping. The property also contains an 1,100-gallon propane tank. The owner says the house could lose power from a catastrophe such as from a storm for as long as three months without running out of gas or electricity, according to Driggers.
A brochure that Ravenel Associates Real Estate put together provides three pages of “partial home improvements — renovations.”
A glimpse at the upgrades includes the following:
• The oldest part of the residence includes many double-hung windows that required “total rebuilding by an artisan to include many panes of antique glass to replace cracked or improperly installed” pieces.
• Wainscoting alongside the set of stairs was added after architectural research by an architect and artisan carpenter. “The time period selected was the middle years of the 19th century, commencing around 1855.”
• Custom interior plantation shutters were built by Wither Industries’ local manufacturing operation from hard mahogany, tailored to every window in the residence.
• Two custom “carriage style” garage doors were crafted.
• A French drain surrounds the exterior.
• Belgian granite block stone lines the driveway and front of the house to smooth out the landscaping.
• Crown molding was affixed to the ground floor living space.
• “Every cabinet and drawer pull, door hinge and drawer slide was upgraded. Hinges are solid brass by Von Morris and finished in matte nickel, costing $47 a pair excluding acorn finials.” There are dozens of hinges.
The house stands a block from the village’s quaint business block. Heading east, take U.S. Highway 17 North across the Ravenel Bridge, staying in the right two lanes to Coleman Boulevard. Follow Coleman for a couple of miles and steer right onto Whilden Avenue (later Royall Avenue). Go two blocks and turn right. Make the first left on Church Street. Ahead on the right is 439 Church St.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.