Raising Up a Charleston Cottage

Check this out.  A little Charleston Cottage hovering in the air at least 5 feet above the ground.

The person who is restoring this cottage (built in 1935) has decided to elevate it to the appropriate FEMA flood level, which in this area is 13 feet above sea level. Now, normally I am not a fan of actions that ruin the historic integrity of a home’s exterior aesthetics. However, in this case and others like it, I’ll give it a pass through ;). Raising up the house helps with affordability (for a Buyer) since for every $100 per month you pay in flood insurance, you have $20,000 less in purchasing power. So up the little cottage goes!

Historic? Did I say historic?

You know you want a little history to go with my complaints about insurance….The Charleston Cottage is a vernacular architecture found all over the Peninsula, built from the 1870s to the 1930s, with one story, a side piazza and a gabled roof facing the street, generally 500-1200 square feet in size. These cottages are more commonly referred to as Freedman’s Cottages, giving the general public the impression they were built to house former slaves, however this is NOT the case.  According to the Preservation Society, these homes were built to house Charleston’s middle class of all ethnicities – the people who built our streets and our buildings, ran our stores and more…Here’s a neat book about it if you want to read more. “The Charleston ‘Freedman’s Cottage’: An Architectural Tradition.”

The preservation and restoration of these Charleston Cottages is gaining some serious momentum, and you’ll see projects going on all over town on the Eastside, on the Westside, in Elliotborough and everything in between. Check out these photos I took of cottages in the Westside neighborhood on the streets of Larnes, Fishburne, President, Norman and Ashton. Some are renovated, some are in process, and some will be starting soon.  Three of the currently unrenovated ones (24 Norman, 1 & 7 Ashton) will soon be restored by the developer I work for – Jeff Roberts of Ecovest Development.  How good is your imagination and vision? 🙂

If 2 Larnes caught your eye, it’s your lucky day because it is for sale by one of my favorite Realtors, Anna Gruenloh.

1404958 – Details: 2 LARNES ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $230,000

And if you are curious to see how much other places sell for and what they can look like when they are complete, check out this list of some Westside Charleston Cottages that sold this year so far – my favorite is 207 Fishburne with its pretty kitchen and wainscoting. (superb job SC Renovation Group!)

1324914 – Details: 185 LINE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $168,200
1400727 – Details: 207 FISHBURNE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $245,000
1402668 – Details: 382 SUMTER ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $298,000
1405404 – Details: 21 LARNES ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $250,000

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