Patrick O’Donnell House in Charleston
I’m headed to Charleston tomorrow and I could not be more excited. (Just a reminder that those of you who receive the email subscription are a day behind so when you read this, I’ll already be in Charleston.) I knew after my first visit in December 2016 that I wanted to return. It’s such a beautiful city to study architecture and historic houses. It seems each one is named after a former founder or occupant including this one.
The Patrick O’Donnell House was built by a Galway Irishman living in 19th-century Charleston. According to local legend, in 1852 O’Donnell set about building a house for his fiancée. The dream Italian Renaissance mansion was so ambitious that it took four years to complete and the woman called off their engagement and married another man. Her loss as the home turned out to be one of the prettiest in the city.
Now it’s home to a couple from Boston who hired Massachusetts interior designer Susanne Lichten Csongor of SLC Interiors to make the house feel less like a pied-à-terre and more like the grand mansion it once was. According to Csonger, “the husband wanted the house to be as historically accurate as it would hold without being stuffy. It had to make sense and strike a balance that made it feel as if it could have existed today or years ago.”
“To accomplish this, Csongor offset the magnificence of the architecture throughout the 9,700-square-foot main home with a neutral palette of mostly beige, gray, and white, along with a near-absence of patterned fabrics, a practiced restraint when it came to accessories, and natural materials such as linens and sisal carpets. She allowed herself ‘a little punch of elegance on pillows,’ which feature antique brocades, needlepoint, and tasseled fringes.”
I love the neutral walls that allow the architectural details and the historic artwork to shine but I personally would have loved a bit more color in upholstery. Other than that small issue, I could move in tomorrow.