225 W. Poplar St. — Art deco-inspired Wagener Terrace home coolly adds functionality for disabled child

This house at 225 W. Poplar St. has a garden bridge across the yard to the entrance. It is for sale for $569,000 (Leroy Burnell/postandcourier.com 5/15/2012).

By JIM PARKER The Post and Courier

Sometime 74 years ago, a young couple staked claim to the model house at Wagener Terrace — a new neighborhood on Charleston’s upper side.

The husband secured the home at 225 W. Poplar St. as a wedding present for his wife. They lived there together for decades. After he died, his wife stayed for many more years, passing away in 1993. The McDonald family next would purchase the house, modernize it and install a second floor.

Then in 2006, Bill and Christina Stewart acquired the upgraded home and moved in with daughter Camille.

They set about remaking the residence, splashing every room with color, remodeling spaces, adding rooms and overhauling the backyard with a salt water swimming pool and garage-turned-outdoor-kitchen featuring stucco-sided pizza oven and Argentine parilla to grill roast-sized steaks.

The Stewarts went wild on the house because they like art deco styles and enjoy entertaining. Yet they were also designing the home to be adaptive for Camille, now 12, who has cerebral palsy.

Their efforts have brought forth a remarkable property. From the front, it’s a cozy red-door bungalow served by a Japanese garden bridge. Inside and back, it’s a whimsical 2,700-square-foot residence with standout features in every room and the work of craftsmen such as David Boatwright, known for his mural on Hominy Grill; and Eutawville artist Jeri Burdick.

The 225 W. Poplar St. property is on the market for $569,000.

Sis Marshall, Realtor with Poston and Co. in Charleston and the home’s listing agent, sees the house as a family abode. Citing the two downstairs bedrooms, she believes it would be a good deal for parents and their two small children, a couple with a live-in relative or a family with a teenager. Alternatively, the house would be fitting for roommates, she says.

In restyling the home, the owners put in $200,000 worth of enhancements. They drew on their own tastes but also built in flexible features. For instance, the comfortable living room at the entrance to the home sports a gas fireplace with wooden mantel and brick surround painted white and embedded with a bright mosaic. The mosaic can be removed as can other artsy pieces throughout the home, Christina Stewart says.

The couple also shaped the house to be eco-friendly and quite open. The living room flows into a semi-formal dining area marked by wainscoting all around, Marshall says.

At the back of the first floor is a newly built sunroom-family room. Among the quirky features is a modern, flat screen TV fitted into an old wooden fireplace mantel and surround from a 19th century house in Atlanta.

Across from the family room is the remodeled kitchen. Walls were removed and an archway built in to connect the cooking area and the dining room. Highlighting the kitchen are handmade poplar cabinets, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. French doors open to the backyard.

Also downstairs is a master suite, complementing one upstairs, with a sizable bedroom. And there’s a second bedroom near the front. The bathroom boasts a jetted claw foot Chromotherapy tub with light show, fitted specially for Camille.

Hardwood floors including original oak wood mark much of the house: the kitchen and family room tout cork floors, and bathrooms are ceramic tile.

A new hardwood stairway between the kitchen and living room showcases custom mosaic tile artwork on the risers, Marshall says.

Dominating the second floor is a 900-square-foot master bedroom with hardwood floors and 10-foot plus ceiling. Off the bedroom is an office-massage room, custom-designed bathroom painted bright red and a screened-in ceramic tiled porch overlooking the pool.

The Stewarts built the nearly maintenance free fiberglass-shell saline pool for their daughter. Confined to a wheelchair much of the time, Camille has “complete movement” in the water. “She was in the pool in the summer sometimes six hours,” Bill Stewart said.

Rimmed by river rock mosaic tile, the heated pool includes a spa jet and fountain bubbles.

In the corner of the yard is the redone garage, painted a festive yellow. It’s now a Tuscan style kitchen complete with the stucco “Forno Bravo” wood-burning pizza oven that reaches temperatures of 1,200 degrees, Argentine grill, countertop with sink and a metal island table.

“I call this my cooking show (table),” Christina Stewart quipped.

The house, which has a small lawn in front, is not far from Hampton Park. Traveling north, take Rutledge Avenue to Maple Street and make a left. Follow Maple to the dead end and turn left on Hester Street. Take the first right on West Poplar Street. The third home on the left is 225 W. Poplar St.

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

AGENT SPOTLIGHT Agent: Sis Marshall

Office: John Poston and Co. Phone: 843-813-0067

Philosophy: “I have extensive knowledge of the Charleston region; honesty; dedication; and integrity. My goal is to exceed your expectations.”