Inside a Historic Charleston Home Filled with Modern Charm
Tour the light-filled apartment we can't stop talking about!
Published Oct 31, 2016 9:00 AM
Photography by Ben Jack of Fuzzco
Elizabeth Damrich began her creative career in NYC, working for a number of fashion and beauty brands. Having grown up in the south, she eventually traded in the city’s harsh winters for sunny Charleston. After a stint at a creative branding agency, Damrich made the decision to start her own career in interior design. Today, she lives with her husband Michael and their (ultra adorable!) cat Jean-Luc in downtown Charleston’s Harleston Village.
At around 1,110 sq-ft, Damrich’s historic home features a portion built in the 1830s as well as an Italianate piazza, built in the 1850s. We got a glimpse inside the architecturally-stunning home that comes complete with 14-ft ceilings, French doors, and original mouldings and fireplaces. Here, Damrich takes us on a virtual tour of her light-filled space, which is simply an absolute dream. See for yourself!
Saarinen Table, Business Interiors
Gold Sconce, Celadon
What was your process when sourcing the furnishings and decor for the living room?
When I’m surrounded by historic architecture, I typically start feeling very contemporary. I wanted to balance both worlds and create a livable space with modern sensibilities. It made sense to position the layout around the black stone fireplace as it’s so unique with its layered textures and blue tile. I kept furniture low-slung to emphasize the tall ceilings and also bring in a more casual energy. Throughout the process, using a strong dose of discretion and restraint was important to me as to not take away from the historical character of the house.
Barcelona Chair, Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
Swedish Demi Lune Chair, Restoration Hardware
Lucite and Glass 1950’s Coffee Table, Vintage
Oil Painting, “Sibyl” by Diego Castaño
Donut Vase, Natalie Weinberger Ceramics
What makes a home beautiful?
When you walk in and get a sense of the person who lives there, what they love and what is important to them. I believe what we really seek is authenticity in interiors. We ultimately want to inwardly resemble, instead of possess, the objects and spaces that we find really beautiful. Our homes have the opportunity to remind us of those values daily. As a designer, my goal is to create a space that helps someone remember what they love about themselves and life in general.
What is your most prized possession?
If we’re talking about furniture, I would have to say my most prized possession is my dad’s beautiful burled wood chest in our bedroom. He found it at an antique store when he was in middle school and paid for it weekly on layaway. I get a lot of my love of design from him.
On what items do you scrimp?
I tend to save on trendy accessories with bold patterns or color. I’m also a huge believer in restoring antiques and secondhand items. There’s something about revitalizing an object from the past and making it feel modern again. For me, that satisfaction always beats ordering something online.
On what items do you splurge?
I tend to splurge on interesting lighting and chairs. I have a real love affair with both because outside of their utility, they can serve as a layer of art and interest in their own right. If you place a dynamic light next to a great chair, you’re already ahead.
Where do you feel most inspired?
I feel most inspired at home and walking around downtown Charleston. The colors, textures and details of the architecture here are so unique. They reference the past but also allude to the future as our city is changing. It’s nice to live somewhere where there is such a reverence for the preservation of design and a strong sense of place.
How would you describe your style when it comes to interiors?
My style is a balance of honoring the heritage of the person and space, bringing in a modernist, romantic eye while always maintaining a measure of restraint. I also love to throw something a bit off kilter. There always needs to be an irreverent detail to make a space sing.
What was the inspiration behind the carefully curated elements in the design of your bedroom?
My husband and I designed and built our bed and headboard. I wanted something simple and almost humble to live next to the architecture. It’s also nice that it doubles as a bookshelf and gives you less of a need for side tables. The wall light is designed by my childhood best friend and it means the world to me. His lighting doubles as an artistic sculpture and visually balances the height of the windows in the room.
The Lawson Fenning chair miraculously came into my life one day and may be one of my best finds to date. I found it discarded in the trash on West 12th street when I was living in NYC. I refurbished the frame and reupholstered the seating which now feels as good as new! The furniture gods sure were looking down on me that day.
Wall Light, in black bronze, by Chandler Noah for En Viu
Thin Frame Lounge Chair, Lawson Fenning
Graphite Chair Drawing, by Diego Castaño
Stonewashed Belgian Linen Bedding in White, Restoration Hardware
Leather Slides in Tan, Proud Mary
Silver Candelabra, Vintage
Delicate textures and lustrous gold details complete the elevated guest bedroom.
Facade Snow Bed, CB2
Table Lamps, West Elm
What’s your favorite travel destination?
I love traveling to Provence and the French Riviera. The light in the region gives off this soft pink glow that just makes everything and everyone feel beautiful. There’s also a soul to it that reminds me of the south.
Describe your ideal moment at home.
My ideal moment at home would be lying in the sun on our piazza, sea breeze blowing through with a glass of rose and a little Bossanova in the background.
Keep up with Elizabeth on Instagram @liz_damrich!