Sunday, May 25, 2014

Charleston, Part Two

Continuing with our tour of Charleston, I'm sharing the rest of the interior of the Heyward-Washington House.  I wanted to go ahead and do that before I get busy here with other things and too much time passes.  You can see the first part of the house Here.  In this post, I'm focusing on the rooms on the second floor of the house.

I'm so excited to show you the rooms on this floor; there were two bedrooms and two withdrawing (or as we are used to saying) drawing rooms.  The bedrooms were on the back of the house, and I'll share those first.

This is the master bedroom.  This is not a color combination I would have come up with, but let me tell you, I was swooning over these bed linens and window treatments.  They just look so very historic, but they're elegant too.  This is not a printed pattern on the coverlet and drapes; it's embroidered.  I never realized brown could look so pretty.

Our guide also told us that this would have been the room where George Washington slept for the seven nights that he was here in the summer of 1791.  It wasn't chosen for the bed (which wasn't here then) but for it's location.  Because of it's position in the house, it received the coolest breezes and would have been the most comfortable room in which to sleep in summer.

It's almost impossible to tell from these pictures, but the high posters on this bed were carved with a feather motif, as opposed to the rice beds that were popular during this time period.

My husband got very frustrated with the lighting inside the house; it made for a difficult time of taking good pictures.  I only took a few inside for that very reason.  However, I was grateful that we were allowed to take pictures at all.  Our guide told us that this house and one other are the only historic homes open to the public where picture taking is allowed.  Of course, they cautioned us not to use the flash on our cameras.

The above picture shows almost all the furniture in the room.  It's all 18th century furniture and all made in Charleston, with the exception of the child's cradle.  The tall piece in the left background is a clothes (or linen) press.  I've read about those, but never knew what they looked like.  The ladies' dressing table is in the corner between two windows.  Notice the deep window seats here; these houses had some thick walls.

These two pictures are some of the few interior shots I took.  Have you ever seen one of these chairs before?  It's called a "necessary chair."  The seat's low apron conceals a chamber pot which was fitted beneath the seat.

I also snapped a picture of the bed warmer.

This room was set up as a children's bedroom.  Historically, the children would have slept upstairs with their nanny on the third floor.  Due to fire restrictions the public is not allowed on the third floor, so they set this room up as a children's room for viewing purposes.  Our guide told us that probably three children could have slept in this large bed.

I love the mirror hanging over the small chest here.  The corner chair is another necessary chair.

Isn't this a beautiful canopy?  Now we'll move on to the front of the house and the first drawing room.

I think this may have been the prettiest room in the house.  Notice the door in the corner -- I've never seen an interior door with a fancy pediment on the top like this one.  The carving around the fireplace is gorgeous, and I love the brass fender with feet.

This is a pretty pie crust table and a pretty clock in the background.  I wonder what the round silver object on feet is?

Here you can get a better look at the carving around the fireplace; notice the pull on the right used to ring for the servants, I imagine.

Here you see the other wonderful piece in this room -- a spinet from France, made and signed by Nicholas Blanchet in 1686.  I also love the drop leaf table and the chairs here; this house was full of beautiful chairs.

You can get a somewhat closer look at the spinet in this picture; it's an exquisite piece.

These lists giving the provenance of most of the furnishings and paintings were in all the rooms we toured.

This last room is the other upstairs drawing room.  Aren't these pretty chairs?

This is the famous Holmes bookcase, c. 1770, attributed to furniture maker Martin Pfeninger.  Our tour guide referred to it as a lawyer bookcase, but online it was repeatedly referred to as a library bookcase. One website describes it as "the priceless Holmes bookcase, considered to be the finest example of American-made furniture in existence today."  Another website states that the bookcase is "mahogany with inlays of ivory and satinwood and is considered one of the finest pieces of American furniture ever crafted."  The small white spots you see on the bookcase are the pieces of inlaid ivory.

The secretary to the left of the bookcase is its companion piece, also made by Martin Pfeninger.

Here you can see the windows and the case clock.

More information about the furnishings in this room.  This was the final room we toured inside the house.  As you probably know, the kitchens of large colonial houses like this were in a separate building from the main house as protection against fire.  I'll share the kitchen and gardens in the next post.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures -- this is one of my favorite historic homes that I've ever toured.  I visited Biltmore House almost 30 years ago, and I would love to go back and tour it again.  However, I'm pretty sure we won't be allowed to take pictures inside there.

Do you have a favorite historic home that you've toured?  I'd love to hear about it -- I'm always open to suggestions for new places to visit.  :)  Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful day!



  1. Enjoyed this as well, Denise- thanks so much.

    We had the pleasure of touring The Biltmore last summer - we stayed at the Biltmore Inn there - you need to go back because there is a whole lot of things going on there now, lots of improvements I am told compared to even just a few years ago - thirty would certainly warrant another tour for certain!

    My favorite historical home, haha, if one even may call it that was the Palace of Versailles in France. It was incredible. But as for American, I really loved seeing Historic Williamsburg. I also *adored* visiting various huge summer mansions in Newport, Rhode Island. We were fortunate enough to tour there 3 autumns in a row - and saw The Breakers, Rosecliff (to look like a smaller Versailles) and The Vanderbilt family summer mansion called The Marble House. I liked the Marble House the best because the tour guides all dressed in period costume, and even hosted a "mini example ball" in the ballroom - and my husband and I were able to dance that day at the Vanderbilt ball room on our anniversary. It was very special for us. ♥

  2. Wow Michele, it sounds like you've definitely visited some fabulous places!! I very much want to visit the Biltmore House again (it's only a few hours away from where we live) but can't seem to get Hubby interested. I'll have to keep working on him. Same thing goes for Williamsburg; we've been before, but it was a short visit and I'd love to go back. I'd also like to tour Windsor Castle during one of the times when it's open to the public. Thanks for the suggestions and have a great weekend. :)

  3. What wonderful photos of a grand house. Here in Colorado, the House of the Loins is our most most famous, so named for the loin sculptures at the front entry. Located in Denver, it is the Molly Brown house, home of the unsinkable Molly Brown who saved lives as the Titanic sank. Married to a man who made his fortune in sliver mining, Molly was was a crude, socially unacceptable Denverite who returned to her Denver home a heroine. The historical society went to extreme measures to recreate the home as it would have looked when she lived there-- to the extent to remove layers of wallpaper to get to the original to get it duplicated for the restoration. I have enjoyed your tour.

  4. Your pictures turned out so well. It must have been a brighter day than when we were there. I put the same pic on my blog of the spinet --so very old! You have done a nice post on such a beautiful home!

  5. Loving this second part even more than the first. I really do love to tour historical homes so it's hard to choose a favorite of all. (One of these days when I road trip to DC, I'm doing a northern Virginia vacation so I can see Mt. Vernon and Monticello.)

    The richness of the wood and all the details in this one make every room so amazing. I loved the pediment over the inside door and now want to figure out a way to copycat that here.

    When I finish the other 4,728 projects and get that girl of mine employed. (Nothing yet. I'm blue about that. Please pray...)

  6. Aren't the colors fabulous in the rooms you've shown, Denise? I enjoyed the turquoise, and the reds! I sure could use a bed warmer on cold nights, too. I would love to visit Charleston and Savannah. We visited Williamsburg on our honeymoon. While there, we went to Monticello. I'm sure that you'd enjoy that, if you haven't been.
    Thank you for sharing your vacation with us. xo

  7. Gorgeous drapes. I just visited Belle Grove Plantation Monday and will be posting some pics I took there in a few days. You would love this place for sure. I need to get to Charleston for a visit of some of the beautiful gardens and tour some homes.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

My Blog Designer