With buildings that date back to the 16th century, the architecture of Charleston plays a huge role in both its character and charm. From Greek Revival to Art Deco and beyond, the Holy City’s historic architecture is fascinating, but the stories behind each design are even more incredible! Below, you will find a proper introduction to Charleston-style homes. Afterward, you’ll need to witness and explore the city’s most iconic buildings for yourself! Download our free Charleston Area Guide for recommendations on historic homes, churches, plantations, and more.
Your Guide to Charleston-style Homes and Architecture
A Brief History
There are over 2,500 historical buildings in the Charleston area, and you’ll find eight distinct architectural styles throughout the Lowcountry. These styles include Colonial, Georgian, Federal, Classical Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Victorian, and Art Deco. Each marks a distinct period in history. However, some basic floor plans transcend the periods; these floor plans include the Charleston single house and the Charleston double house.
The Charleston Single House
The Charleston single house floor plan comes in a variety of styles, but has a few distinguishing features that are consistent. Their shape has a tall and narrow face, and they also feature a long, narrow lot. These homes are only one room wide when viewed from the street, but stretch several rooms wide from the side. These homes also feature one door facing the street, but contrary to your first impression, it is not the front door. It’s a piazza entrance! The front door entrance of a Charleston single house is in the middle of the piazza for added privacy. Single houses are on nearly every street of the Holy City. Make a game of your next trip and see how many you can spot!
The Charleston Double House
The Charleston double house is another classic Charleston-style home. Although it is not as common as the single house, it’s architectural design is prominent throughout the Lowcountry. Unlike the single house, the double house faces the street at full-length. It is a two-story design with an interior which features a central entrance hallway that runs through the middle of the home. There are four rooms total, two on either side downstairs and two additional rooms upstairs. The Aiken-Rhett Museum House and the Heyward-Washington House are two great examples of the beautiful and historic Charleston double house!
A Great Way to Explore the Lowcountry’s Most Iconic Homes
After this brief introduction to Charleston architecture, we hope that you have gained a new appreciation for what you’ll find in the Holy City. One of the best ways to delve deeper into the subject is with a historic house tour! One of our favorites is the Charleston Architecture Tour with Free Tours by Foot. This tour offers a unique opportunity to learn about the South Carolina Lowcountry and its people, culture, and history.
Find Your Very Own Charleston-style Home
Charleston’s most beautiful homes aren’t limited to downtown. If you are searching for your very own single house or double house, consider exploring Charleston’s beloved sea islands. You’ll find Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Charleston and surrounded by the Lowcountry’s most stunning natural scenery.
Our real estate agents at Pam Harrington Exclusives can help you find the home of your dreams. Browse our collection of over 100 upscale real estate listings today! If you have any questions during your search, contact us. We can’t wait to welcome you to the Charleston community!
Now that you know the fundamentals of Charleston-style architecture, read our blog on five of the best historic house tours!