The real estate term "live-work" carries cachet these days as a two- or more story house with the residential space over a storefront. Such properties have been around for generations but are rebounding in popularity -- one in downtown Charleston can claim the arrangement for more than a century.
Melissa Gray and her husband Michael Reinier bought 74 Reid St. in the late 2000s and refashioned the wood frame house into a lush living area on the second floor and an art studio on the ground level. The building sits near the corner of Meeting Street and a block from King Street.
"It was built in 1840," Gray says. "This was an old grist mill" -- in which rotating stone wheels would cut grain to make into bread -- at least since 1882, she notes, having uncovered information from historical records.
"When we bought it, it was a falling down duplex," she says. "We've been here 10 years; We've seen a lot of things."
Today, they are marketing the two-story building as an upgraded locale for a ground floor business and a ritzy residence on the second level overlooking a rear courtyard. The owners zoned 74 Reid St. for residential and commercial uses. To revitalize the property, the couple devoted "about three years of blood, sweat and tears," she says. The property is on the market for $1.25 million.
"It's more of a blend of old and new," says Heath Verner of The Cassina Group, who with fellow Cassina broker Chip Eiserhardt are listing the two-story house. The property went on the market less than two months ago, and a second showing was planned for last week, Verner says. "It takes a special buyer," he says.
Inside, the 2,800-square-foot house almost evenly split between floors includes a large granite counter and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. The house offers elements of energy efficiency, notably spray insulation in the attic.
Among the attractive features of 74 Reid Street is it doesn't require flood insurance and avoided problems even in major storms such as Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Irma this year. "We are at the highest point of the peninsula," Gray says. The house also boasts two-car driveway, a perk in downtown Charleston with its shortage of off-street parking.
Behind the house is a big courtyard. The open area is "all completely walled in," Gray says. French doors lead from the first-floor business to the courtyard.
In the listing write-up about 74 Reid St., Verner calls the property a "one-of-a-kind live/work property in downtown Charleston, a unique opportunity to be part of the Upper King and Meeting Street Redevelopment."
Owners "meticulously rebuilt" the former mill from the ground floor up, combining historic charm and modern conveniences, he says.
According to Gray's research, 74 Reid St. dates back 177 years and was mentioned in the city directory in 1882 as "a grain and grist mill." Carsten Sahlmann, who bought the property in 1863, is said to have lived and worked in the "hay, grain and grist mill" in 1889. By 1908, adjacent addresses 74 and 76 Reid streets were listed as residences.
The first floor of 74 Reid today is zoned limited business, It is handicap accessible and has a half-bath that the handicapped can use. There are 9-foot ceilings, maple floors, conference room, two additional half baths and stainless steel sink. The main studio space boasts bright natural light. Storage and built-in closets make it "an ideal setup for many types of business," agent Molly Glover wrote.
Stairs lead to the residential area on the second floor, which touts a covered porch for occupants "to enjoy Charleston's beautiful weather," Glover says. The upstairs boasts a spacious two-bedroom, two-bath apartment with vaulted ceiling and exposed beams in the main living area. The rafters "allude to the home’s history, while nice touches such as a built-in media cabinet, stainless appliances and tile back splash modernize the kitchen and living space," she says.
In addition, the house sports two entrances and verandas, tongue and groove heart pine floors, butler's pantry and built-in storage as well as two standing-room attics. It features updated cable wiring, two security systems and a front door intercom.
"Every inch of this property has been designed with great care and attention to detail, a must see for anyone wishing to live/work in downtown Charleston," Verner notes.
An area off the kitchen showcases cabinets, built-in storage, a large sink and laundry area. Also off the eating zone are two bedrooms -- a master suite with a wooden ceiling, built-in bookshelf, walk-in closet and bath with a tiled tub and shower combo; and a guest room with bath and good-sized closet.
The owners took particular time with the wall finishes. They're comprised of smooth organic plastic with charcoal grey colorwash in the first-floor studio and with pale burnt sienna in the second-floor foyer and butler's pantry; multi-layer Venetian plaster in whites and creams in the second-floor living room; hand-painted and textured grass cloth in the guest bedroom; smooth organic plaster in the master bedroom; and with pale jade colorwash in the master bath.
While ready to move, most likely to find another home to restore, the couple are pleased with their handiwork. "We've enjoyed it," Reinier says.
For more information and photos, go to www.postandcourier.com/business/real_estate/jim-parker.
Reach Jim Parker at 843-937-5542 or email@example.com.
Agents: Heath Verner, Chip Eiserhardt
Office: The Cassina Group
Phone: 843-628-0008 (office); 843-425-9047 (Verner - cell)