The trick to preserving antebellum homes involves striking a balance between old - hardwoods, window panes, fireplaces - and new, from kitchens to electronics.
Too beholden to the original in every way, and the property can wind up without creature comforts. Too eager to modernize and the residence can lose any character or historic appeal.
Built in 1829, the Edward B. Fishburne House at 201 Webb St. in Walterboro artfully straddles the 19th and 21st centuries. The richly restored home boasts pine floors, wainscoting and nine on nine windows alongside stainless steel appliances and a brand new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
"It's already been renovated," says Elisabeth McClellan, real estate associate with Daniel Ravenel Sotheby's International Realty and listing agent. The Colleton County house, which went on the market in late fall, can be purchased for $649,900. "It is just ready to move in," she says.
The two-story 3,800-square-foot home spotlights three bedrooms, two full baths, a couple of powder rooms, a den in back and a suite below the main floor that for instance could be turned into a teenager's room. "Good for a family, a lot of room," McClellan says. "It's bigger than it appears."
Situated within Walterboro's historic district, the site encompasses two full acres including a landscaped garden in the backyard. "What's interesting," McClellan says, is the house sits "right downtown" but remains very private.
"I think definitely an 'old house person' would relish 201 Webb St., she says. "It's amazing: It's got the (13-foot) high ceilings."
At the same time, the dwelling benefits from a few long term cost-saving features.
There's a new metal roof, plumbing and electrical systems. The owner "put in tons of insulation," she says. "Energy costs are low." Also, property taxes tend to be lower than in a city, and the home price at $171 a square foot works out to be a bargain compared with 186-year-old residences in downtown Charleston, for instance.
In its listing, Daniel Ravenel SIR highlights the property's versatility.
"The current owners recently completed a fabulous renovation," the agency notes. Highlights include original mantels, "beautiful" heart pine floors, nine over nine windows - two sashes of nine panes apiece - and sun lit rooms.
"The yard has well established camellias, magnolias and oak trees." McClellan says the camellias came from cuttings at Middleton Place in Charleston. "The two acre lot makes this a private sanctuary," the listing points out.
Former South Carolina governor Wade Hampton made a speech from the front porch in the late 1800s, according to the listing.
A possible bonus perk would be a 1,800-square-foot guest house with landscaped yard next door that the owners are "willing to sell," McClellan says. The guest house isn't included in the listed purchase price, and there's no set dollar figure at this point, she says.
The Edward B. Fishburne House sits within the Hickory Valley Historic District of Walterboro and was listed as a key property in a National Register of Historic Places nomination in 1980.
Architecturally speaking, "This gable-roof frame residence is sheathed in weatherboard, with a metal roof and a shed roofed veranda supported by four square pillars," the nomination says. "The five bay façade has a central doorway, with an elliptical fanlight and sidelights. The interior has Federal period mantels, wainscoting and woodwork."
Another reference says the porch was altered by lowering the floor.
Elsewhere, the nomination notes, "In addition to their architectural merit, many of the buildings in the district are associated with some of Walterboro's oldest and most prominent citizens. Among these are . the Edward B. Fishburne House, built by Edward B. Fishburne, who also owned land in the outlying county."
Later, the write-up adds that the residence "is an example of the smaller Federal style house."
McClellan supplied another account, "Historic Resources of the Lowcountry prepared by the Lowcountry of Governments, June 1970." The document refers to the 201 Webb St. house as crafted in the First Revival period. "This one-and-a-half-story frame house . rests on a high brick foundation."
McClellan says one of the big advantages about 201 Webb St. is the small-town ambiance. "Walterboro doesn't have the traffic," she says. "Everybody knows each other. You're only an hour from Charleston."
The house sits toward the northern side of downtown Walterboro. Going south, take U.S. Highway 17 for about 40 miles, crossing the Edisto River at Jacksonboro. Soon after, veer right on S.C. Highway 64. Continue for another 20 miles to Walterboro. In town, cross Robertson Boulevard and make a right on North Lemacks Street. Cross Wichmann Street and turn left on Valley Street. Take the first right on Verdier Street, then a left on Webb Street. Ahead on the right is 201 Webb St.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agent: Elisabeth McClellan
Office: Daniel Ravenel Sotheby's International Realty
Philosophy: "To use my knowledge of the local market to give my clients the best possible personal service."