Tips for Home Buyers Moving to Charleston

If you are looking to relocate to Charleston, you are not alone. Young professionals, couples, and families alike are all flocking to the picturesque South Carolina Lowcountry. Our weather, beaches, job opportunities, and historic charm all draw new residents to Charleston. If you are among them, here are some important considerations when searching for your new home.

 

DISCOVER CHARLESTON’S NEIGHBORHOODS

Disher, Hamrick & Myers Charleston Real Estate aerial view of downtown Charleston and harborThe first thing you’ll want to do is narrow your search by exploring Charleston’s neighborhoods and surrounding areas. DHM provides a convenient Neighborhood Guide to help you determine which part of town is right for you. Each location offers its own perks. For example, if you are looking for a historic home, South of Broad is a beautiful, walkable area rich in history. If you prefer a bungalow in an up-and-coming area, North Central may be the right fit. If you want to live on the water or close to the beach, then you are going to want to check out Folly Beach or one of our other coastal islands. Is it important to you to be near a park, a bike path, or a recreational activity? What community amenities does your family want? Charleston has something to offer everyone. So prioritize your lifestyle wishes, then tour the town to find your best fit.

 

RESEARCH THE COST OF LIVING

The local cost of living is important to consider when moving to Charleston. While the state of South Carolina tends to be less expensive than the national average, Charleston tends to be a bit higher. This is especially true when it comes to housing. Home prices vary greatly depending on the part of town you choose. In order to better determine what you can afford, you’ll want to get preapproved for your mortgage. Completing this process will help you focus your search to areas and homes that fit within your budget. In addition, you’ll need to account for costs that may not be necessary where you live now — such as flood, hurricane, and earthquake insurance, as well as pest control.

 

WORK WITH AN EXPERIENCED LOCAL REALTOR®

Disher, Hamrick, Myers Charleston, SC Local Real Estate AgentsTo successfully navigate the busy Charleston market, you’ll want to seek the advice of an experienced local real estate agent. A professional that knows Charleston inside and out will help you find your perfect home with confidence. Especially in a hot seller’s market, working with a local expert is a must. Your Realtor® will present your offer quickly and negotiate on your behalf in the case of a bidding war.

 

CONNECT WITH LOCAL COMMUNITY GROUPS

A great and often overlooked way to learn about homes in Charleston is to reach out to local social groups, clubs, and organizations. Like-minded members can tell you firsthand what it is like to live in a particular neighborhood. They can also provide personal insights or make suggestions that you might not be able to find otherwise. As an added bonus, once you get here, you’ll already have friends and a social support network to help you quickly become part of the community.

 

CONSIDER EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION

Student Housing in Charleston, SCDon’t forget to think about your new home’s proximity to your job, employment opportunities, and schools. How much of a commute are you willing to trade for outdoor space in the suburbs as opposed to a downtown condo? Also, if you are looking to further your education or have children, be sure to research Charleston’s many great public and private schools, colleges, and universities. You may even want to consider investing in a home or condo for student housing.

 

When looking for your ideal home in one of America’s most popular cities, it’s essential to do your homework. Charleston has so much to offer, there truly is something for everyone. From historic downtown to the beaches, you’re sure to find your dream home. And DHM is here for you every step of the journey. To get started, give us a call at 843.577.4115 or click here:

 

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New Needs For Charleston Homeowners

Today, Americans are buying homes for new reasons. The recent health crisis has truly reshaped our lifestyles and our needs. Spending extra time where we currently live is enabling many people to reevaluate what homeownership means and what they find most important in a home.

According to Zillow:

“In 2020, homes went from the place people returned to after work, school, hitting the gym or vacationing, to the place where families do all of the above. For those who now spend the majority of their hours at home, there’s a growing wish list of what they’d change about their homes, if possible.”

With a new perspective on homeownership, here are some of the top reasons people are reconsidering where they live and thinking differently about what they need in a home.

 

WORKING FROM HOME

DHM Blog - New Needs for Charleston Homeowners Home OfficeRemote work is becoming the new norm, and it’s continuing longer than most initially expected. Many in the workforce today are discovering they don’t need to live close to the office anymore, and they can get more for their money if they move a little further outside city limits. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), notes:

“With the sizable shift in remote work, current homeowners are looking for larger homes and this will lead to a secondary level of demand even into 2021.”

If you’ve tried to convert your guest room or your dining room into a home office with minimal success, it may be time to find a larger home. The reality is, your current house may not be optimally designed for this kind of space, making remote work and continued productivity challenging.

 

VIRTUAL & HYBRID SCHOOLING

DHM Blog - New Needs for Charleston Homeowners Home SchoolMany school districts are using a model of virtual or hybrid learning, turning their curriculums into digital formats for students. If you have school-age children, they may need a dedicated learning space. If so, it might be time to find a larger home to provide your children with the same kind of quiet room to focus on their schoolwork, just like you need for your office work.

 

HOME GYM

DHM Blog - New Needs for Charleston Homeowners Home GymStaying healthy and active is a top priority for many Americans. With concern around the safety of returning to fitness facilities, dreams of space for a home gym are growing stronger. The Home Builders Association of Greater New Orleans explains:

“For many in quarantine, a significant decrease in activity is more than a vanity issue – it’s a mental health issue.”

Having room to maintain a healthy lifestyle at home – mentally and physically – may prompt you to consider a new place that includes space for at-home workouts.

 

OUTDOOR SPACE

DHM Blog - New Needs for Charleston Homeowners Outdoor SpaceEspecially for those living in an apartment or a small townhouse, outdoor space is a new priority. Zillow notes the benefits of being able to use your yard throughout the year:

“People want more space in their next home, and one way to get it is by turning part of the backyard into a functional room, an outdoor space for play as well as entertaining or cooking.”

You may, however, not have the extra square footage today to have these designated areas – indoor or out.

 

MOVING MAY BE YOUR BEST OPTION

If you’re looking for extra room to accommodate your changing needs, making a move may be your best bet – especially while you can take advantage of today’s low mortgage rates. It’s a great time to get more home for your money, just when you need it most. To find a Charleston home that fits your family’s needs, give us a call at 843.577.4115 or start your search below:

 

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Is A Smart Home Right For You?

Do you remember imagining the “house of the future” – whether on The Jetsons, or at Disneyland, or on any number of movies or promotional programs? Did you expect it would do all sorts of things for you? From vacuuming your carpet, to mowing your lawn, to making your meals, you likely envisioned an idyllic lifestyle where you could sit back and let technology take care of you. Well, the future is now, and smart homes are not only attainable, they’re growing in popularity every year.

For all their convenience and luxury, smart devices do have some drawbacks. From high upfront costs to security concerns, upgrading to a smart home might not be for everyone. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages before deciding if a smart home is right for you.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SMART TECH

A smart home, as the name suggests, is powered by smart devices. These are electronics, appliances, and other gadgets that you can control, automate, and customize – usually remotely. Smart tech is typically controlled via your smart phone and/or a hub. You’ve likely heard of the major players in the market: Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant. Whichever your preference, the house of the future is only a tap (or command) away!

 

THE BENEFITS OF A SMART HOME

It’s Convenient & Comfortable

The biggest benefit to smart devices is that they make life more convenient and comfortable. With some upfront installation and programing, a smart-equipped home takes out some of the daily annoyances and chores related to running a home.

There is a lot you can automate, from adjusting the lighting, to changing the channel on your TV via voice command, to asking your smart assistant to look up a recipe. You can also tackle chores like watering your lawn, vacuuming your house, or making a grocery list. While some of these tasks enable an easier lifestyle, others are life-changing, especially for those who may have physical limitations.

Would you like your coffee to be ready and waiting when you wake up in the morning? What about bedroom blinds that open up automatically? Does a fridge that can detect its contents and expiration dates sound good? And what if you could never touch a vacuum again? Imagine the possibilities.

 

You Save Time

If you’re a busy person – perhaps you’re a parent, a caretaker, or you have a demanding career – you are very familiar with the challenge of finding pockets of time to dedicate to chores and other home-related activities. Sometimes, even getting up to make the coffee can feel like precious minutes taken. Imagine no longer having to dedicate a weekend morning to yard work because the smart mower does it for you. Or not having to make a trip to the grocery store after work because your fridge put in an order for delivery.

Cutting out a minute here and 10 minutes there adds up to more time to sleep in, relax on the couch, socialize, or work on that big project. Time is money, and you’re getting some of it back to use in more productive ways that enrich your life, instead of draining it.

 

You Save Money

Speaking of money, a big selling point of a smart home is that it saves you money in the long-run. Yes, it can be expensive to set up, but it can also be one of the best investments you’ve ever made for sustainability – both financial and ecological.

Smart lightbulbs don’t use nearly as much energy. Plus, they perfect the amount of light your living space requires, based on the activity, time of day, and number of people. The same goes for smart thermostats. According to Nest, households with smart devices save an estimated 15% on cooling costs and 10%-12% on heating costs in a given year. You could be cool and comfortable in the Charleston heat without feeling guilty about the energy bills, because you’d save over $130 a year. Smart home upgrades are attractive to home buyers as well, and can increase your asking price when it comes time to sell your home.

 

THE DRAWBACKS OF A SMART HOME

You Rely On Wi-Fi

If you’re excited about the prospect of introducing smart tech into your life, you’ll need strong, reliable Wi-Fi. If your internet is down, so is your house, and you’re back to doing things manually. Fiber internet is recommended because it offers superior speed and stability. Be sure to shop around for the providers in your area that offer the best service at the best price.

Security Issues

A lot of smart devices are sold as a security upgrade – especially smart doorbells and cameras. But because they are inherently reliant on Wi-Fi connections, that can also be a weak security point. For example, Amazon has recently introduced a feature called Sidewalk that, when enabled, allows anyone walking down the street to connect to your network. That poses some security concerns, as not everyone wants to share their broadband.

In addition, any device connected to the internet can be hacked. Perhaps you’ve heard stories about baby monitors or video cameras being accessed by outsiders. Intruders can pull relatively benign tricks like messing with the lighting or thermostat in your home, or more serious ones such as accessing your locks. Always be sure to utilize the utmost security on your network. Also be sure to check your privacy settings according to how much of your personal information you are willing to share in return for functionality.

Expense

A smart home is definitely an investment with upfront costs that can be significant. But as the technology becomes more commonplace, more companies produce this type of tech. This increases competition, options, and affordability. In the meantime, the range of products currently available varies greatly in price, so look around to find what fits in your budget.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

While some dream of owning a smart home that’s just short of having a live-in maid, it’s not for everyone. While it certainly has a lot of advantages – you’ll love that smart fridge when you forget your shopping list at home – it can also pose some legitimate concerns.

The technology is still young, so there are security issues you need to be wary about. You will also need reliable Wi-Fi, and some upfront investment. But if you do decide to go for it, you’ll enjoy long-term savings on your energy bills and a lifestyle upgrade.

What are your thoughts on a smart home? Tell us in the comments below what concerns you and what smart tech you can’t live without.

 


Exterior Design Ideas to Increase Your Charleston Home’s Curb Appeal

Charleston consistently tops major publications’ “best-of” lists for the most desirable places to live and visit. Full of historic Southern sensibilities, our home exteriors are unique from other areas of the country. To increase the curb appeal of your Charleston home and capture the attention of neighbors and passersby alike, consider these exterior design ideas.

CREATE A LUSH GARDEN

Charleston benefits from a subtropical climate with mild winters, hot, humid summers, and plentiful year-round rainfall. This weather provides the ideal conditions for maintaining lush, green gardens that are a calling card of Charleston, SC homes. Centipede, Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine grasses all thrive in Southern lawns. Magnolia, palmetto, dogwood, and crepe myrtle trees create quintessential Lowcountry charm. Azalea, camellia, and hydrangea bushes add pops of color.

For a place to enjoy a glass of sweet tea or an after-work cocktail, consider a patio or deck. Adding a pergola will give your outdoor space an extra touch of character, plus provide comfort in the Southern sun.

 

REPLACE THE CONCRETE DRIVEWAY

Cobblestone Street, Charleston, SCWhile concrete driveways are a staple of suburban America, their bland, highly-processed look is not as appropriate in Charleston — especially on the downtown peninsula, which still maintains historic cobblestone streets.

Some of the better alternatives to concrete driveways include:

Brick – This is a timeless choice appropriate for period homes. There are also alternatives to laying a traditional brick driveway. Innovative pavers give the appearance of natural brick, yet come in prefabricated sections that are easier to work with.

Gravel – A gravel driveway is a great Charleston choice, with a look that fits our coastal atmosphere and superior drainage during times of heavy rainfall. Modern interlocking grids hold the gravel in place and prevent the formation of ruts and clumps.

Cobblestone – Cobblestone is a classic driveway material that will make your home’s exterior authentically Charleston. It fits the sensibilities of 19th-century style, plus is extremely durable and resistant to staining.

Hybrid – A combination of classic driveway materials can maximize a Charleston home’s curb appeal. Fill the main bed with cinders or pea gravel to enhance drainability, while lining the perimeter with bricks or cobblestones to create a bold period statement.

 

CHOOSE COLORFUL SIDING

Charleston is all about colorful homes. In fact, Rainbow Row on East Bay Street, which features homes in various pastel hues, is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. However, the best house siding material is about more than just color. To maintain a vibrant appearance in warm, salty air, consider these options:

Composites – Natural wood is a favorite home siding choice, but it does not perform as well in areas where moisture can be absorbed. Fortunately, there are a plethora of composites, such as fiber cement and vinyl, that give the appearance of natural wood. These synthetic siding materials are lightweight and manufactured in a number of colors, keeping a Charleston home’s clean appearance for many years without the threat of moisture damage.

Stucco – As long as you have solid moisture barriers between stucco and its substrate, stucco will last many years in a warm climate. Stucco’s ability to provide a uniform front makes it a particularly strong option for capturing Charleston’s colorful charm.

Brick – While the array of color options doesn’t match composites or stucco, brick is nonetheless a Charleston favorite. Its natural appearance restores the classic beauty of historic homes. Modern brick facade materials offer an increased selection of designs and colors, making it easier than ever to incorporate into a siding renovation.

 

INSTALL WINDOW SHUTTERS

With well over 200 days of sunshine each year, Charlestonians have to consider this element in their window choices. It’s a good idea to use low-E and double-paned windows to help control solar radiation entering the house. But don’t forget aesthetic when using these modern materials, especially on days when windows are just meant to be open. Six-over-six double-hung windows were particularly popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, and remain so today. You’ll also find variations on the number of panes throughout the historic district, along with arches (particularly on Palladian windows), and big bay windows. French doors and sliders are other Lowcountry essentials for easy access to the outdoors and letting in fresh air.

Another classic Charleston exterior design element is the window shutter. Historic homes used shutters to protect expensive glass from strong winds and battering rains. And while window design and installation have improved to make the shutter largely functionally obsolete, its appeal remains as strong as ever. Louver and panel styles maintain an old-world feel, while Bermuda shades are popular on the beaches. Adding shutters to even the most modern residences will give your home a timeless appeal.

 

Skylar Ross is a contributor to the Innovative Materials blog. He is a content writer for the construction and home improvement industries with an interest in landscaping, outdoor remodeling, and interior design. Skylar focuses on educating homeowners, contractors, and architects on innovative materials and methods of construction that increase property value, improve sustainability, and create a warm and welcoming ambiance.


Have Your Best Valentine’s Day in Charleston

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Now is the opportunity to pamper your loved ones – and yourself – with some of the best that Charleston has to offer. Here are our real estate agents’ recommendations for the most romantic spots to celebrate your Valentine’s Day in Charleston. Just click on each name to be linked to the individual businesses’ websites for more information.

 

MOST ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS IN CHARLESTON

  • Tempest this upscale seafood eatery on Market Street was just named the #1 Best New Restaurant in the USAToday 10Best Readers’ Choice awards. The historic Harriott Pinckney Home for Sailors building they house has undergone a beautiful transformation, including a custom-designed stained glass ceiling. Try out their special Valentine’s Day prix-fixe menu.
  • R. Kitchen – Chef Ross Webb creates a new four-course menu every night for the 16 lucky guests who sit at the counter in his kitchen in Cannonborough-Elliotborough.
  • Middleton Place Restaurant – Once the daytime crowds have left, enjoy strolling the moonlit pathways of Middleton Place gardens before or after your traditional Southern meal at the restaurant. Don’t miss the Huguenot Torte for dessert! To top your evening off, book a romantic room in the Middleton Inn where you can enjoy champagne and chocolates in a soaking tub or beside the wood-burning fireplace.
  • Zero Restaurant + Bar – Located in a boutique hotel in Ansonborough, this small fine dining spot is the reason why Zero George was named one of Conde Nast’s Top 5 Foodie Hotels in the World.
  • Circa 1886 – Tucked in the former carriage house of the Wentworth Mansion, enjoy the seasonal menu or splurge on the 5-course tasting menu. After dinner, be sure to tour the Wentworth Mansion. If you are lucky, catch a glimpse of the city at twilight from atop their cupola.

 

BEST CHOCOLATES:

Charleston Valentine's Day chocolates & flowers

  • Christophe – Treat yourself to handmade traditional chocolates as well as delicious pastries from French Artisan Chocolatier-Pâtissier Christophe Paume.
  • Market Street Sweets – If chocolate alone isn’t your thing, indulge your sweet tooth with warm pecan pralines and fresh Bear Claws. Originally from River Street in Savannah, this shop also has locations on the Market and King Street. I dare you to walk by the smells wafting out of these shops without stopping for at least a sample!

 

BEST FLORIST:

  • Lotus Flower – Since 2000, the owners have been making some of the most creative arrangements in Charleston.
  • Tiger Lily Florist – The converted service station on Spring Street has become one of downtown Charleston’s premier flower shops, plus they deliver throughout the area.
  • Charleston Flower Market – This long-time shop on Maybank Highway on James Island advertises “uniquely creative” cut flowers and arrangements.

 

BEST SPA:

  • The Spa at Charleston Place – This European-style retreat is located in the Charleston Place Hotel in downtown Charleston. Guests have access to a rooftop pool with retractable glass ceiling. After your appointment, enjoy a poolside lunch. Or have a mommy and me day, treating your daughter to a “Lollipop Manicure.”
  • Earthling Day Spa – Another stalwart of the downtown spa scene, Earthling also houses a Pilates studio.
  • Woodhouse Day Spa – This luxurious spa across the Ravenel Bridge in Mt. Pleasant receives rave reviews. They have also recently opened a second area location in the new WestEdge development on the peninsula.

Remember when two people love each other, anything can be romantic! And if you’re single this Valentine’s Day, why not pamper yourself?

How will you spend your Valentine’s Day in Charleston? What are your suggestions for the most romantic spots? Let us know in the comments.

 


5 Tips to Sell Your Charleston Home in 2021

As the new year begins and we transition out of the whirlwind of 2020, you may find that a new home is on the horizon for you and your family. After saving on expenses throughout the past year and redefining your needs while being quarantined for months, this may even be the perfect time to begin the process.

In 2020, industry experts offered a range of advice about what to buy, how to buy, and when is the best time. While that can be helpful to prospective buyers like yourself, that’s only half of the journey. In addition to buying, you need to understand how to sell your Charleston home during a pandemic as well. With buyer’s needs changing throughout the past year, it’s important to stay up-to-date on what will and will not sell in today’s market.

 

1. PRIORITIZE VIRTUAL CAPABILITIES

Online marketing is the safest way to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus. Photos that have been professionally shot and edited, virtual staging, and video tours will allow you to effectively showcase your home and all of its valuable features without putting anyone at risk. To ensure your home looks its best in photos, you should always consider professional staging. This creates a comfortable appearance in your home that allows each prospective buyer to imagine themselves in the space.

Tips to Sell Your Charleston Home - Virtual Staging

To avoid interaction all together, many sellers are instead choosing virtual staging. This option allows you to fully furnish and decorate your home (inside and out!) for less time and money. You can also avoid on-going rental costs while still showcasing the value of your home to every buyer. Disher, Hamrick and Myers was the first in the Charleston market to offer in-house virtual staging.

 

2. CONSIDER THE BUYER

Before you sell, you should deeply consider the type of buyer that would be interested in your home. Ideally, this should align with those shopping in the local housing market. If you find that it doesn’t, it may be time to make some changes to your home in order to appeal to the masses.

Given the limitations that the pandemic has brought on, many prospective buyers have begun to prioritize particular spaces that they didn’t in the past. For example, home offices and dining rooms have become more valuable. If you have a formal dining room in your house that you have been using as a playroom or tv room, return it to its original purpose. Likewise, if you have an extra bedroom or bonus room, adding a simple desk and chair turns it into a prized home office. Large laundry rooms, expansive outdoor patios, and storage spaces are all sought after this year, with at least 85% of buyers requesting these features in their new home.

Tips to Sell Your Charleston Home - Home Office

With so many prospective buyers spending more time at home, you want to highlight or accommodate the advantages your home has. You should take the time to spruce up these areas to add more value before you sell. While it may take added time or funds to renovate or upgrade these features, it will produce a greater return on your investment once you sell.

 

3. INCLUDE PEACE OF MIND

Given the financial strain that many have faced throughout 2020, it may be wise to include a home warranty with the purchase of your home to entice buyers further. While the buyer will still have to purchase homeowners insurance to protect themselves and their property, a home warranty will ease any concerns over your appliances and home systems. With a simple transfer in the contract, the buyer will be able to pay a low deductible for service and maintenance.

 

4. USE CHARLESTON INSPIRATION

The Charleston area has its own unique architectural styles. When selling, you should certainly take advantage of that. Most notably, the charm of historic homes is likely what buyers are looking for in this area. Even if you have newer construction, you can add accents and features to your home that are inspired by the history of Charleston.

Tips to Sell Your Charleston Home - Decorative Molding

For example, expanding a front porch or balcony will not only enhance the style of your home to match those throughout the city, but also offer up more outdoor space for buyers, should quarantines extend well into 2021. For smaller changes, you can add window shutters, iron accents, or pastel paint colors to the outside of your home to mimic the row houses on East Bay Street. Inside, plantation shutters, crown and decorative moldings, columns, traditional mantles, and other architectural details can make a big impact. Whether you’re in the heart of the city or a ways away, you can create Charleston style in your home before you sell.

 

5. EXPECT SOME CHANGES

The most important thing to remember when selling your Charleston home during a pandemic is that it will likely be a different process than in “normal” times. You’ll need to provide added flexibility for in-person showings, depending on the comfort level of potential buyers and their agents.

Home appraisals or inspections may take some added time, given the need to comply with social distancing regulations. More transactions will take place virtually online, rather than in-person. You may still run into some hesitant house hunters, given the uncertainty of the economy. However, rest assured that there have been countless homes sold during the pandemic. With a little creativity and preparation – and help from an experienced local real estate agent, yours can too!

 


The Joggling Board in Charleston, SC Homes

If you’re not from the Lowcountry, you might be curious about those long green planks on rockers that grace the piazzas of many Charleston, SC homes. They’re called joggling boards, and their history and folklore are quite interesting.

CREATION OF THE JOGGLING BOARD

Joggling boards are typically 16 feet long and made of flexible pine painted Charleston green (a tint so dark it almost appears black). Although they are mainly used for decoration or fun seating today, they actually started out as an exercise device. According to legend, the first joggling board was built at Acton Plantation in Sumter County in the early 1800s. The owner of the plantation, Cleland Kinloch, was a widower who invited his widowed sister Mary Huger to run the household. That woman developed rheumatoid arthritis that made it too painful for her to do many activities. Riding in a carriage that was outfitted with a rocking chair was one of the few things she could enjoy. Upon hearing this, the Kinlochs’ relatives in Scotland devised an apparatus that would simulate the movement of a carriage ride and gently “joggle” its occupant back and forth, up and down, providing a little exercise and joint pain relief. The result was the joggling board.

Soon many houses in Charleston and across the state had joggling boards. They provided a fun way to relax on your porch or in your yard as you enjoyed the breezes and took a break from the southern heat. Throughout the 19th century they became so ubiquitous that they made their way into some of life’s most important events.

COURTING BENCHES

EA Joggling boardOne of the more colorful stories in Southern lore says that no house with a joggling board on its front porch has an unmarried daughter living there. Back in the days when proper young couples couldn’t be alone together without supervision, the distance of the joggling board was deemed adequate protection. So if the young lady sat on one end and her suitor on the other, they were far enough apart not to require a chaperone. But as they talked and joggled, they’d slowly move closer to each other. If they got so close that his hand touched her knee, her reputation for purity would be ruined and he’d be forced to propose marriage. Imagine a father concerned that his daughter may become a spinster deciding that his best option was to get a joggling board!

Another popular use was to rock babies to sleep. Nannies were often seen soothing fussy infants with the gentle swaying motion.

JOGGLING BOARDS TODAY

In the 20th century, the cost of suitable lumber increased to the point where joggling boards fell out of fashion. Today, however, they are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. One of the first companies to bring them back is based in Charleston.  They harken back to a more genteel time and still provide an enjoyable place to sit. Plus they require less space than a porch swing. As not all houses have expansive porches, modern versions are built in various smaller sizes. They are particularly well-loved by children.

If you would like to see and try out a joggling board, they are found in several museum houses in Charleston. Please visit the Edmondston-Alston House or the Nathaniel Russell House in downtown Charleston or Middleton Place in West Ashley.

Would you like to have a joggling board in your Charleston home?

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Southern Holiday Traditions

How do you celebrate Christmas in Charleston and where did those traditions originate? The South is rich in history, and Charleston is no exception. Did you know that Southern states were the first to adopt Christmas as a legal holiday? (Alabama in 1836, followed by Louisiana and Arkansas in 1838.) Over the years, it’s no surprise that many regional Southern holiday traditions have spread around the country.

CHARLESTON’S POINSETTIA ROOTS

Southern holiday poinsettiaToday we hail the poinsettia as the official plant of the Christmas season. Did you know this is thanks to a South Carolina gentleman by the name of Joel Robert Poinsett? Poinsett was in the US House of Representatives and also served as the Minister to Mexico. While on a trip to Mexico in 1925, he discovered the festive red-colored flower. He brought it home to Charleston and introduced it as a holiday adornment. The rest is history. Today, throughout the South and the nation you will see these beautiful flowers displayed on the inside and outside of homes during the Yuletide season.

CITRUS FOR THE SEASON

Southern holiday citrus decorationsIt is a Southern holiday tradition to this day for Santa to leave some citrus fruit in children’s stockings. No, it’s not a gimmick to take up space. Years ago, finding citrus in your stocking in the middle of winter was a luxury. Citrus was only available during certain seasons of the year, so to receive an orange at Christmas was a special and expensive treat. Decorating wreaths, trees and holiday decor with different citrus fruits is still a tradition today. In fact, take a tour around Downtown Charleston or visit one of the museum houses to see citrus and evergreen decorations on the outsides as well as interiors of historic Charleston homes. To view some beautiful examples, visit The Charleston Museum’s blog showcasing the Garden Club of Charleston’s traditional holiday decorations at the Joseph Manigault House. They will be on display to the public through December 31.

FRIED TURKEY, OYSTERS & PECAN PIE

Southern holiday oystersWhat would a Southern meal be without any of these delicacies? Fresh oysters are popular during the holiday season because their harvest is best during the coldest time of year. (Remember the old adage that oysters are good during months that have an “R” in their names.) Deep frying as a preparation for turkey also originated in the South. And don’t forget the pecan pie for dessert. The documented history of this recipe dates back to the 1880s. Legend says the French in New Orleans made a version of it after Native Americans introduced them to the pecan tree. Today this gooey, delicious Southern treat has spread across the country and is a staple this time of year. Visit Southern Living for a variety of delicious pecan pie recipes and other traditional Southern holiday foods.

What holiday treats and traditions does your family celebrate? Please share in the comments. Disher, Hamrick & Myers wishes HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all!


If this discussion of Southern holidays makes you yearn for a home in beautiful Charleston, SC, give us a call at 843.577.4115. Disher, Hamrick & Myers has been a leader in Charleston real estate since 1984. From historic downtown to the islands, we will help you find your dream property!

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Walk to Work Living in the Upper King Design District

Looking for a trendy and relatively affordable home in Charleston, SC? Be sure to consider Upper King Street. With almost every type of business — from hip tech firms, to interior designers, to architects, to collaborative work spaces — in this neighborhood, many residents take advantage of the opportunity to walk to work. This area is a great place to stay when visiting, as hotels aren’t as expensive as in other parts of the historic district. It’s also an ideal home base from which to explore the Charleston area.

King Street crosses through the middle of the Charleston peninsula and is divided into three zones: Lower King is the Antiques District, Middle King has the Fashion District, and Upper King is known as the Design District. It runs north of Calhoun Street from Marion Square to the Septima P. Clark Expressway, more commonly called the Crosstown. The neighborhood features new construction as well as restored historic homes and those ready for renovation. It also boasts some of the city’s latest and trendiest restaurants along with hotels, art galleries, fantastic shopping, flourishing businesses and a lively nightlife. With its proximity to the College of Charleston, students and a younger crowd frequent it during the school year.

Charlestonians love this neighborhood for its eclectic vibe, easy access and cultural value. Are you a foodie? Look no further: Upper King boasts some the latest and greatest Charleston restaurants. On Saturdays, visitors and locals alike shop the Marion Square Farmers Market for fresh food and local treats. You can spend your days window shopping along the picturesque avenue, then enjoy your nights in the latest hot spots.

THE HISTORY OF UPPER KING STREET

King Street, Charleston, SC c.1910-1920s

At more than 200 years old, King Street is the second most historically and architecturally significant street in downtown Charleston, after Meeting Street. It was named for King Charles II of England and was a main route in the early city of Charles Towne. Many side streets were named after prominent families, including Ann, John and Mary Wragg. In the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries, King Street bustled as a retail corridor. Accordingly, many of the buildings are commercial, with residential spaces on the upper floors. Today, Upper King Street continues to be home to mostly local businesses and remains a work-where-you-live neighborhood.

Edwards Store, Upper King St, Charleston, SC, c. 1930–1945

The story of Upper King Street closely parallels that of downtown Charleston as a whole. After the Civil War, it fell into disrepair. But during the 1950s, it experienced a regrowth. The shopping district was very popular, perhaps too popular, leading to traffic congestion. As a result, in 1950, King turned into a one-way street. This sped up traffic, but hurt local businesses, as the road became more of a thoroughfare than a place to stop and shop. The general move to the suburbs during this time also hurt in-town businesses, and buildings along Upper King fell into disrepair. Like elsewhere in the city, Hurricane Hugo in 1989 destroyed many of the structures that were left or forced the remaining businesses to close. A silver lining of the storm is that it brought awareness to the need to revitalize the area, along with insurance money to make that happen.

REVITALIZATION

Bluestein Brothers Department Store, Upper King Street, Charleston, SCIn his first mayoral campaign, Mayor Joe Riley “promised to reverse the flow of business from downtown Charleston to the suburban shopping malls by revitalizing the central business district.” He spurred the revival of King Street throughout the decade of the 1980s, beginning with the construction of the Charleston Place Hotel. He also prompted the city to spend almost $50,000 to rebuild the c.1913 Bluestein’s clothing store at 494 King Street, which had been gutted by fire in 1987.

Other significant steps in the revitalization of Upper King into the lively hub it is today include:

  • 1991: the Charleston Visitor Center opened in an old train station, bringing tourists to this side of town.
  • 2001: the city renovated Marion Square for public use.
  • 1994: Upper King Street converted back into to two-way road.
  • 2005-2007: a streetscape project buried power lines, upgraded communication and gas lines, made stormwater improvements, and added bluestone sidewalks with granite curbs.

DINING & ENTERTAINMENT

Charleston Visitor Center, Upper King StreetAll of these enhancements paved the way for new businesses to venture into Upper King Street. The relatively inexpensive rent, compared to other more established retail venues, was also an incentive. The transformation into a dining and entertainment district began in 2005 with the opening of two popular restaurants, Chai’s and Reval. In 2009, fine dining came to Upper King with Halls Chophouse, and the city’s nightlife began to move from the Market to Upper King. Since then, dozens of the city’s trendiest restaurants have made their home here, including:

  • O-Ku
  • Macintosh
  • Cocktail Club
  • 39 Rue de Jean
  • Stars with its rooftop bar
  • Barsa
  • Rarebit
  • Hutson Alley

Click here for a full guide to Upper King restaurants and bars, including links to their menus and reservations.

UPPER KING ACTIVITIES

fountain at Marion Square, Upper King Street, Charleston, SCBe sure also to explore the retail shops and art galleries along King Street. While other areas of town have become populated by national and regional chains, Upper King remains home to mostly local businesses. In addition to shopping and dining, Upper King has plenty of landmarks to entertain you.

Contact Disher, Hamrick, & Myers Real Estate at 843.577.4115 for homes for sale in the Upper King Design District. Start enjoying everything this neighborhood has to offer today!

View All Homes For Sale on Upper King

 


The Charleston Single House

The single house is an architectural style found almost exclusively in Charleston, SC and this home plan gives the historic city much of its unique charm. The layout of a single house is ideally suited to the narrow street-facing lots originally laid out in Charleston in the late 17th and early 18th centuries (see Grand Modell). The homes are only one room wide and two rooms deep on each level, with a central hall between. Typically a porch, or piazza as it is known in Charleston, runs the length of the house with a public door facing the street. Visitors must enter the home through this entrance and traverse the porch before entering the central private door into the home. To take best advantage of prevailing breezes, piazzas always face south or west.

Charleston Single House at 62 Tradd St.

Public spaces, like an entry or office, inhabit the first floor. Entertaining spaces, such as drawing rooms, withdrawing rooms or ballrooms occupy the second floor – above the hustle and bustle (and mess and smells) of the streetways. Family spaces and bedrooms are found on the third floor. Each room would incorporate more or less decorative detail according to its use, with second floor spaces having the highest ceilings with intricate and colorful moldings. Those high ceilings, coupled with tall windows (often floor-length to accommodate walking out to the piazzas) allowed breezes to flow through the rooms and helped make Lowcountry weather more bearable.

Outbuildings, such as kitchens, stables and carriage houses, were constructed separate from the main house to the rear of the property. Today, many of these have been converted into separate residences (and given rise to the unique ½ address that dot the Charleston Peninsula). Other outbuildings were later connected to the main residence via “hyphens.” Kitchens were built away from the main house in an attempt to prevent fires — such as the numerous ones that destroyed large swaths of the peninsula — from spreading to the living quarters. This is also why the back wall of the main houses had fewer windows than might be expected for ventilation.

Charleston Single House at 45 Church St.

Various decorative styles have been applied to the single house layout, including Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian. Two and three-story piazzas often employ the classical order of columns with the ground level being Doric, followed by Ionic and Corinthian. Formal gardens beautified the side yards to be enjoyed from the shady porches. In fact, upper porches were sometimes used as sleeping quarters on hot, humid nights.

Don’t believe a tour guide who tells you single houses were a reaction to the city taxing street frontage. Instead, “early Charlestonians developed the Single House as an ingenious solution to the various demands of their unique urban landscape: a house that provided privacy, ventilation, fire protection, and social status within the confines of a tightly restrictive public space.” (credit Charleston County Pubic Library)

If this style historic home appeals to you, contact us for a list of Charleston single houses currently for sale.