Charleston City Style

Like I said in my previous post, Charleston was just as much about the landscape as it was about the architecture. Even Stevens, if you ask me. (Side note: anyone remember Shia LaBeouf as quirky child star, long before the seemingly beefier and hot tempered side effects of adulthood? )

And, like I also mentioned, Charleston was the perfect combo of city and nature for me and Scott to become a sightseeing, walking machine, dynamic tourism duo. We walked for miles around the city exploring every nook and cranny.  Now, don't get me wrong, there might not be a peep from Scott walking 36 holes on a golf course, but the second there is the indirect smell of something resembling a sewer or a honk from a disgruntled driver he starts cursing up to the high heavens questioning the patience and hygiene of the human race (while, ironically, seeming to not have much patience himself). As a true testament to this wonderful city, I didn't hear one complaint.

Some things I learned while on our sightseeing extravaganza:

1. Scott likes white washed buildings. Charleston is full of them and they really are beautiful. He asks me if we have white washed brick homes up in Michigan and a few inadequate examples come to mind where the application is heavy and not seemingly effortless as it is in the south. I make a mental note to be sure to research some quality craftsmen in this field, should I ever be approached to recreate a perfectly white washed brick home.

2. In going in some wonderfully inspiring antique shops, my male comrade did not take a nap in the closest lounge chair (as precedented by previous shopping outings), but rather offered me some wholehearted insight on which antiques he liked. But, gasp!  He could not figure out why a figurine (sculpture), with it's arm chopped off (antique), could be a thousand dollars.

  

  

3. When walking 8 miles throughout a city seems effortless because you are finding inspiration at every twist and turn it is usually a good idea to indulge your partner in crime with multiple snacks throughout the day to keep the momentum going. Can you say mid day oyster specials and lunch a la the French (aka glass of vino complimentary with meal!).

  

  

4.  Side porches look to provide a very nice place to spend a summer's day. Apparently, the ceilings of the porches are blue to ward off evil spirits. That, and, they say it keeps the bugs away.  Many of the homes have porches running along the length of the home and not facing the street, as we typically see. This is because when these homes were built there  was not a lot of area to build (Charleston is a penninsula), but by building the porches perpendicular to the street the residents were able to provide themselves with better privacy, cooler breezes and a better respite from the sun. I have to say the porches looked like a puuuurdy nice place to spend an afternoon with some good company.

5.  First of all, I am obsessed with what is going on in the above photograph. The tone on tone greys with gas lanterns, pops of the bright green window boxes and planters is just a really awesome and crisp color palette. We were both drawn to the architectural style of the gardens. I think this is what makes all the greenery seam so flawlessly with the architecture- they supplement one another nicely. The architecture would not look as grand without a stately landscape foundation and the gardens not as impressive and imposing without the backdrop of some wonderfully designed buildings. That might just be the symbiotic relationship that keeps Charleston ticking.

  

6. Lastly, but not least, at the end of the day when you are ready for a breather, the best thing to do is to go to a quite place, and in this case the water front, take a deep long break and a moment to enjoy all that is around you.  

Hey Y'all... (said in that soothing, slow southern drawl...)

There is something so comforting about the South. I don't know if it's the architecture (because, as you know, ambiance is everything to me), the slower paced lifestyle, or just that dose of good ol' southern hospitality. It also could very much be the fact that every time I find myself in the southern climate I am away from my normal routine and relishing in the abounding inspiration.  Last weekend Scott and I were down in Charleston for our friends, Whitney and Andrew's wedding. It was the perfect place for a destination wedding and it was especially nice that we got a couple days to explore the city. Charleston is the perfect place for Scott and I to visit together. It has just enough city for me and just enough nature for him.  This is exactly why I thought I should break down my Charleston posts into one which depicts the lush, green, landscape environment and one that depicts the city's architecture elements.

I am going to start with the landscape environment.  The funny thing about Charleston, is that you will soon realize that the landscape and the architecture is very much intertwined.  This is a characteristic that I believe is an attribute to  some of the best cities. That,  and the tree canopy. The Tree Canopy: A city's true testament to their placement in time. Tree canopies are not something you can recreate. These things take years, sometimes hundreds of years, to get to the point of generating a dramatic shelter from the sun's beaming heat.  Years to create the perfectly groomed arch over neighborhood streets (double bonus if these are cobblestone streets).  Charleston trees are knotty and tough yet graceful and fluid in their stature.  What's not to love? You pair this tree growth to overflowing window boxes, perfectly trimmed boxwood and secret garden passageways that dot the city basically compelled me to have a green thumb. Secret gardens? Are you kidding!? What kid grows up reading the "Secret Garden" and does not dream of hidden, moss covered passage ways that lead to unexpectedly mysterious gardens? I know I sure did. This  established landscape surrounding is a crucial factor in creating the profusion of  charm and whimsy... just take a look for yourself.

Now that's some pretty good stuff. All I need to get started in my yard is a pooper scooper, some grass seed and some enlisted help from my talented gardener mother.