While new homes come with many perks, there’s something undeniably special about historic homes.
The Park Circle neighborhood is packed with these gems. The community was even recognized by This Old House Magazine in 2012 as one of the South’s best old house neighborhoods. These charming homes continue to attract buyers and make the Park Circle area one of the most sought-after places to live in the Lowcountry.
But these beauties don’t come without their hidden beasts. Older homes can come with big repair needs, as Danielle Nichols knows well. Nichols, a Realtor with the Nichols Team at Carolina One Real Estate, started working with a contractor/investor to fix up homes during the doldrums of the recession. Today, she continues to keep her eye out for unique homes with a lot of potential. She spotted one promising prospect in a dilapidated house at 1004 Alamo Street. She teamed up with her father and contractor to take on the challenge of restoring the house to its original glory with plenty of modern conveniences. When North Charleston Magazine went to print in early October, the home was on the market for $499,900.
How and when did you find out about 1004 Alamo?
I love the Park Circle area of North Charleston and have worked with many buyers, sellers and renovators in that area so I pay close attention to all new listings. 1004 Alamo had actually been under contract with other buyers but the deal fell through right before closing. I had been checking the status periodically and as soon as I saw it come back on the market I went to preview it right away.
The house has a unique style and is very prominent sitting on the corner so I just always loved it. I love old houses and can see immediately past the years of neglect to the great bones and character of older homes. As soon as I opened the door and stepped two feet inside, I called my dad (Chris Nichols), who builds and renovates houses, and said he had to buy it. I must have made a pretty good case because he called a contractor friend of his that specializes in historic homes, Richard Huss, and we put in an offer. I think that was about a year ago.
What attracted you to the house?
The age and the high ceilings. Even the upstairs has 10-foot-plus ceilings which makes it feel very grand. It wasn’t like any other older home I’d been inside of in Charleston or North Charleston. It’s a very special home and when you are inside you can feel that.
What were your impressions when you first visited the home?
Honestly, my first impression was probably different than most. I just thought, “Wow, this house is so cool.” All the paint was peeling off the walls and there were a couple holes in the floors but there were original fixtures and woodwork everywhere you looked.
How did you come up with a plan to renovate this historic structure? What were your main goals going into the project?
Richard Huss, my dad and I did several walkthroughs to brainstorm ideas but this wasn’t anyone’s first project so we had a lot of experience to fall back on. And Richard was able to provide detailed knowledge about homes built around the 1910s which was very helpful.
One main goal for the exterior was to restore the original wood siding to make sure we didn’t change the overall look of the home. We were also really excited about being able to restore the original garage.
On the interior, we wanted to blend the original with the modern to create a space that had history but was functional for the way people live today. We also had to do a lot of repairs on the interior and we had to bring in new electrical, plumbing and insulation. Oh and HVAC. Adding that was important!
What proved to be the biggest challenges during this project?
The house had been abandoned for years. For the first few months it seemed like the more we tried to repair the more damage we found. It seemed like it would never end.
How long did the remodel take?
The remodel took about 10 months. The house had been abandoned for so long that there was more to demo and rebuild on the structure than originally anticipated. Once the house was “back together” though it moved quicker. And that’s really when it gets fun, figuring out the layout changes, finishes and fixtures.
What do you love most about the finished home?
That it is a showpiece on the corner instead of an eyesore. And the sun porch with all the original hand blown glass in the windows. It’s beautiful.
Where are you at in the process of selling the home?
We have the house listed for sale and just had it staged. It’s a beautiful home but it’s unique for the area so it will take the right buyer to appreciate the home and the amount of work that went into bringing it back to life.
Who do you envision as the perfect owner for the home?
I think the perfect buyer will be someone that appreciates the character of older homes but wants to enjoy the features new construction can offer. They’ll enjoys the proximity to the parks and restaurants and spending time in the back courtyard.