Charleston Architectural Styles

Posted by Lee and Katherine Keadle on Monday, July 13th, 2015 at 11:56am.

charleston sc architectural buildings

Charleston architectural styles are diverse and exciting. This thriving city offers styles ranging from Georgian to Italian. In total, there are nine styles that encompass most of the real estate in the city:

  • Colonial: Few windows and a low foundation are the two main characteristics of these homes from the 1600s and 1700s.
  • Georgian: Raised basements and boxed chimneys are associated with the Georgian architectural type.
  • Federal: Fan lights, balconies and staircases are all traits of the federal style which appeared after the Revolutionary War.
  • Gothic Revival: Often associated with a “castle look,” the Gothic Revival look can be seen on many exteriors in the city.
  • Plantation: Beautiful, elaborate homes. The plantation home showcases wealth. These homes have columns and arches which are readily seen outside of the building.
  • Italianate: Low pitched roofs and cupolas are associated with this style that lasted into the twentieth century.
  • Victorian: Ornate and luxurious, the Victorian look is all about fine interior details and lavish looking exteriors.
  • Art Deco: Colorful and including narrow windows, the Art Deco style is often seen in the city’s theaters and not in most real estate.
  • Queen Anne: Beautiful woodwork and complex roofs are just two traits of the Queen Anne style that was made popular from 1860 – 1916. These older homes have ornate exterior and interior designs.
  • Many of the city’s buildings can be seen with one of the above designs. When looking for real estate in the area, you’ll also come across the Charleston “single house” architectural type which is a little different (also called the shotgun). These type of homes are built just one room wide. The narrow part of the home is always facing the street.

Many homes of this type have a width of 10 – 25 feet. However, these homes can span several feet high and have multiple stories. These homes were very popular in the 1700s and 1800s and mostly stopped being built in the 1890s. There are under 3,000 homes left in the city featuring this original architectural type with newer versions making a come back in the past decade.

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