From its earliest days as a burgeoning colonial port blending European, Caribbean, and Asian influences, Charleston has maintained a unique brand of southern cosmopolitanism. Charleston Style: Past and Present traces the city's allure through its exquisite and sometimes eccentric architecture, decorative arts, and garden designs, which express a wide range of European and American styles, including Georgian, Federal, Chinese Chippendale, Gothic and Greek Revival, Queen Anne, Eastlake, and more. Author Susan Sully explores Charleston as a medium through which this spectrum of styles becomes transmuted into a distinctive regional mode.
Sully's Charleston is a place where antique and modern, fantasy and reality, playfully intersect. During its ascendance as one of America's wealthiest cities, Charleston's most privileged citizens acquired sophisticated, even decadent, tastes that continue to infuse their homes and gardens. After the Civil War, hardship, pride, and nostalgia shaped an aesthetic in which peeling gilt and tattered lace became badges of honor. Thanks to one of the earliest and most energetic American preservationist movements, the past extends into the present in Charleston, and the city's spaces reveal its complex spirit.
Charleston Style: Past and Present features nineteen residences ranging from archetypally gracious antebellum mansions to cottagelike dependencies to the iconic Charleston "single houses," with their sweeping piazzas, high ceilings, and tall windows. Also featured are some of the city's most charming gardens, inspired by the formal and picturesque landscape designs of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe as well as by the exotic gardens of Japan. With rich color photography by John Blais and a delightful foreword by acclaimed novelist, Josephine Humphreys, Charleston Style: Past and Present delivers an evocative portrait of this fascinating city.