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Charleston Turns on the Southern Charm

This genteel beauty in Charleston's most historic neighborhood is the closest you can come to owning a piece of history.

The ride through town isn’t the smoothest, but the charm offered by Charleston’s cobblestone streets more than makes up for the bumpiness. People flock to this city from around the world to catch a whiff of the old Southern charm. But for the lucky few who live in Charleston’s South of Broad neighborhood, entertaining guests can mean sitting in actual floor-to-ceiling wainscotted parlors in front of filigreed fireplaces. Many of these homes date back to the 18th century and the time of the Revolutionary War. One of these museum-quality pieces of history is up for grabs right now.

The view up Broad Street, looking toward the famous “Four Corners of Law,” an intersection where federal, state, and local government buildings meet.

Named after its original owner, The Major Peter Bocquet House is a classically elegant townhouse that has housed noteworthy Charlestonians since its construction in 1770. Meticulously renovated from the ground up starting in 2012, it retained its trademark: an iconic “lime-washed” exterior the perfect shade of persimmon. 

Q: How can you tell if a house is extra-fancy? A: It has its own official historical name like “The Major Peter Bocquet House.”

Retaining its original Georgian facade and interiors, 95 Broad Street is on the market for a cool $2.95 million dollars. (History does not come cheap). Dense ornamentation, pastel palettes, and gilded finishes anchor the home’s nine fireplaces, two of which are registered on the Federal Register of historic homes.

Rococo is a French ornamental style. The Boucqets, who had the house built in 1770, were Huguenots and originally from France.

South of Broad, where this house is located, is one of downtown Charleston’s most storied neighborhoods. Also known as the Historic District, it’s filled with quaint wandering streets. The people who live here enjoy the tranquility of the suburbs with the proximity of urban living (they also tend to stumble on meandering tourists gazing at the horse-drawn carriages). 

Houses in South of Broad overlook the Charleston harbor where two rivers meet the ocean.

What makes this neighborhood so unusual is its density of historical homes, many of which have been cared for throughout the years. The ironwork in the Major Peter Boucquet house was lovingly restored in 2012 by skilled artisans including traditional ironwork students from the local American College of the Building Arts. 

Longleaf heart pine floors, intricate, deep crown moldings, and massive chandeliers are part and parcel with this piece of history.

Southern hospitality climbs to new levels on the 4th floor, where guests–or Airbnb renters–can stay in their own pied-a-terre.

Cozy sleeping under 200-year-old beams.

And even cook and entertain for themselves in the fully-functioning kitchen and dining area.

Modern convenience in a classic setting.

If you’re thinking that the price tag makes this particular dream unattainable, you’re not alone. There are more affordable neighborhoods all over Charleston. Here are a couple you might want to explore:  

  • Avondale is a neighborhood in West Ashley. It’s family-friendly, diverse, and has plentiful green space for biking, walking, or jogging. The homes, mostly ranch style brick or masonry construction, range in price from $100K to $600K for around 950 to 3000 square feet. Many of the properties contain mature live oak trees.
  • The Eastside is an up-and-coming downtown neighborhood filled with families, college grads, and new businesses. The Cigar Factory, completed in 2015, is a mixed-use project bringing new energy to the area. There’s also One Cool Blow, the first progressive condominium project built with environmental ‘green’ standards in mind. Single-family houses in the Eastside range from $200K to $700K.

Would you love to live in a piece of history? Let us know in the comments below.