Homes have personality.
Some of them have such personality that when you enter, you immediately feel a sense of wonder. What makes a home have that intangible “something?”
The spirit of a home is derived from what’s within. The home at 304 E. Erie Avenue is a home that embraces a number of designs and elements – Asian, antiques, modern and more – and they adorn each room. Eclectic is too average a word to describe it.
Perhaps “amazing and awe-inspiring” are better adjectives. Well-known on Folly Beach and Charleston as “The Lizard House,” because of the large, green lizard sculpture crawling up the back of its purple exterior, it is far more than a house or a home. It is living art and every turn one takes inside and out, brings a smile.
Artist Jane Word and her husband Doyle have lived in the home since 2004. Deciding to relocate out of state, the two have put “The Lizard House” on the market.
“You are close to the beach, three blocks,” said Grace Lacey of Carolina One Real Estate. “Yet, you have all this quiet space.”
Driving into the circular driveway, the plum-colored home trimmed in crisp white stands high above the 10-foot fence and is a presence among other homes along the tree-lined street. Walking up to it, one is greeted by lush greenery. A blackberry bush here. A strawberry patch there. Jasmine strings across the front of the fence. The gardens outside and inside the gate were professionally designed by David Tomblin, with low maintenance and coastal environments in mind. A vibrant purple wood-carved gate invites one in to explore more.
Once inside the garden, a paved walkway winds around the home. River rocks and babbling brook-like fountains add to its playful personality. Exotic and brightly colored sculptures dot the fence walls or light on a patch of garden here and there. On one side is an outdoor shower and storage area decorated with bamboo. There’s a screened-in porch overlooking a Zen garden, a greenhouse around the back.
The rear garage is spacious and was used as a downstairs studio and workshop. The owners installed flood vents and this area is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The garage and spaces near it provide ample off-street parking.
A double set of stairs with a small octopus inset in the center of the stairwell landing leads up to the front door. A big happy Buddha with arms raised gives a big “welcome home.”
“The energy and vibrancy in the home matches the owners and Jane redid the entire home,” said Lacey. “Everything you see in the home, she’s touched and her energy is over the top. People who view the home want to come back two or three times because each time they are amazed and they see something different.”
One senses that energy upon entering. The floors are sub-floors painted in such a way they appear as tile. “They are much easier to care for than traditional ones,” Lacey revealed.
The entry doors are wood-carved, from China and others make their appearance throughout the home in various rooms. Walking into the light-filled dining room, the eye goes to the walls of relief plaster with raised vines, dragonfly and birds – sculpted into them. Dramatic lighting hangs from the ceiling and skylights are overhead.
The kitchen and living spaces are like stepping into a painting– from the octopus painting over the fireplace that hides a television to the raised, glass fish pond with live goldfish in the center of the kitchen island to the stunning art pieces and baby grand piano that all sit, seemingly, as if the spot they’re in were designed specifically for them.
There is an elegant, yet whimsical flow to all of it. A beautifully painted “rug” surrounds the kitchen island. The powder room is an experience – a lily pond toilet and colorful walls painted with raised swan and reed designs run up and down the walls.
A guest suite is on the main floor with its own bath and the master suite is large with hidden panels that house part of the stereo system that runs throughout the home. A bank of windows and skylights bring the outdoors in.
“There are all these hidden spaces that disappear into the walls yet provide thoughtful storage,” said Lacey.
The master bath has a massive copper, free-standing tub and separate shower. Stone floors run underneath and copper pipes are used for cabinet handles.
On this main level, there’s also a four-stop elevator and a wine closet on the way out to a roomy outdoor area. The area has painted circular designs on the floors. Salmon and deep plum-colored cabinets lend plenty of storage. An outdoor kitchen on one end and a dining space on the other end, complete with overhead pergola make this space ideal for entertaining. Vines intertwine overhead and run up railings. Frogs and lizards sit atop finials.
The third floor has two bedrooms that share a unique bath – blue tiles, “palm trees,” glass bowl sinks and skylights. The artist’s workshop is on this floor. This level has a spiral staircase that leads up to the fourth one. Here, a spacious and light-filled room can be used as a bedroom or an office. The bath has feature walls that look like leather. Step out onto a porch and up another set of stairs to the rooftop.
This rooftop space is stunning. Three-hundred and sixty-degree views of the island, peeks of the ocean and a large entertaining spot complete with flower beds filled with decorative plants and various herbs top off the one-of-a-kind home.
“The house is so special exactly the way it is,” Lacey said. “But, one client who is viewing the home talked about pushing the fence forward and putting in a pool within this fenced space. There are so many things you can do here and the location is perfect.”
The possibilities, much like the home’s “personality,” are endless.
As of October 9, the 3,000 square feet, four-bedroom, five-bath home was listed at $1.5 million.
There will be an open house at 305 E. Erie Avenue on November 3, from 1 to 5 p.m.
Grace Lacey, Carolina One Real Estate