We will continue to update this page as the project progresses. Bookmark it today to check back later! Scroll down to see what we have shared so far, and visit us on Instagram @designafi for videos and more. updated 8.17.2022  

South of Broad Renovation

I love working on historic properties, and I invite you to follow along and see the progress as we restore this significant Charleston property. In a city filled with beautiful old homes, it is actually unique in its scale, architectural elements, and location. I am so glad to be a part of giving it new life for its incredible new owner! – Alexandre Fleuren

Lead Designer: Alexandre Fleuren
Contractor: Buffington Homes

ALEXANDRE FLEUREN

Alexandre Fleuren is a Master Interior Designer known for expert space planning, project management, and elegant designs that reflect her clients’ desire for beautiful and gracious living. Her expertise is crucial when designing and managing a project of this size.

Historic Flying Staircase

The copper lanterns (made in the USA by @Coastal_Copper) I selected are installed! They will look stunning in the beautiful garden designed by @LindaVGreenberg , but first we need a few more coats of paint!

My favorite shot from Lynn’s visit to the site! She is usually too busy to stop by, so it is fun when she gets a moment.

Every craftsman needs my ear, and every installer encounters challenges that have to be solved. This is why it is critical for me to be on site. – Alexandre Fleuren

Historic Flying Staircase

Lynn captured some great shots when she visited our active job site downtown.

Progress photos

 

FOYER

IMAGES ONE – FOUR
The front doors received some much needed TLC. First they were carefully removed. Then all hardware was removed and numbered and photographed. The hardware was sent out for professional cleaning, while the incredible carpentry team reworked the doors to get them in usable shape. The badly warped and rusted screws ate through 7 drill bits before the job was over.

A 1965 nickel was found in the front door keyhole. After we cleaned the hardware, we put the nickel back. This time, Jefferson side up.

IMAGE FIVE
The guys from Carolina Custom Electric are busy installing decorative lighting. Love all the smiling faces in beautiful spaces here in Charleston! And I love to hear the crews talk about which rooms are their favorites. It makes the job fun when everyone is excited for the client and likes what we are creating. are busy installing decorative lighting. Love all the smiling faces in beautiful spaces here in Charleston! And I love to hear the crews talk about which rooms are their favorites. It makes the job fun when everyone is excited for the client and likes what we are creating.

IMAGE SIX
Sneak peek of the mural in the foyer of the historic downtown project. Michael Gilbert Studios is an artist and a craftsman. I am so fortunate to also call him “friend”! He captured my vision beautifully. 😊

Original Window

Every little space is important. A window tucked under the ground floor staircase is the perfect place to stop and reflect. It has been an absolute joy to restore this property to the grandeur of its day.   

 

POWDER ROOM

It’s fun to see great craftsmen on the sites. Chris Hostetler is putting the final touches on custom cabinetry at our historic downtown project. @hostetlercustomcabinetry is amazing! Thanks, Chris!😃

ELEVATED ELEVATOR DOOR

The existing elevator door was pretty bad: a metal door with a diamond peek window was NOT ideal for the property.

So, the first challenge was to duplicate the original doors found in other areas of the house, but with the dimensions of the cased opening for the elevator.
Then, the huge challenge of merging the new casing with the existing casing that was not plumb, not level, and basically, a big mess. But, wow! The trim team is AWESOME! I am absolutely amazed at the skill of the trim guys who matched existing casings from circa 1820, and merged them with new, even when one set was 2″ off plumb. IMPRESSED! I love to see the artistry of these amazing guys. Love it! Love it!

BOTTOM LINE: another great week on site with a team of subs that ROCK!

Marble Fireplace
Historic Flying Staircase
Back of Antique Mirror

WINTER GARDEN ROOM

IMAGE ONE
It’s a gorgeous day looking out into the winter garden. Linda Greenberg created a hardscape that feels cool under your feet.

IMAGE TWO
The ground floor living room opens up to the winter garden, so I always think of it as the Winter Room. I bumped up the door casings to match the height of the original french doors.

IMAGE THREE
The Living Room is getting a fireplace facelift. The room looks out to the Winter Garden, so the fireplace is important in this space.

IMAGE FOUR
I look like an elf! 🤣 I asked Ed if there were some weird camera angles going on here, but turns out I am just really that short! 😃

South of Broad Remodel
Tiny Alex in the Winter Room

IMAGE FIVE
I added a second framed opening to the Winter Room, not only to create symmetry but to add light into what was a dark space.

IMAGES SIX AND SEVEN
Soldiers, lined up in formation around the room! That’s what miles and miles of gorgeous Thibaut  turquoise grasscloth looks like before it goes up! We prime the walls in a matching background color – a necessary step when we are working in historic Charleston.

Historic Renovation Downtown Charleston
Tiny Alex in the Winter Room
Historic Renovation Downtown Charleston

IMAGE EIGHT
I designed a wall of cabinets to contain a client’s fab record collection. It’s hard to focus on arranging, when all I really want to do is sit and listen to all this great music. Wow!

IMAGE NINE
Tad is making sure the art I selected is absolutely perfectly level. Even when the house isn’t!

IMAGES TEN AND ELEVEN

This is Tad.

Tad installs most of my rooms, so he is used to long days and complicated instructions, but even he was overwhelmed by the custom Italian ceiling light I added to the Winter Room.

IMAGES TWELVE AND THIRTEEN

Tad tackles some big projects for me. Today, he was adjusting a custom glass chandelier from Italy. The chandelier has 138 glass links, and they all have to be added by hand after installation. Tad says, “Wait, what? 138 glass pieces??” Yes, Tad. 138. Poor, Tad! He is exhausted! But, wow! It was worth the effort! Check out the final photo – our custom Italian lighting shines like gold! Bellissimo!

KITCHEN

IMAGE ONE
The kitchen island is set! I love the brass ferrules I added to the feet. The round medallion will have an insert of raw steel. Try to guess the cabinet color…You may be surprised!

IMAGE TWO
Yes, this is granite. And it’s gorgeous. And so durable, it breaks the saws when the fabricators work with it.

IMAGE THREE
Work, work, work! Every little detail has to be worked through and perfected. Every craftsman needs my ear, and every installer encounters challenges that have to be solved. This is why it is critical for me to be on site. Lucky me, I get to work with these guys on other projects, too! They are the best!

IMAGE FOUR
More of the beautiful cabinetry I designed for the historic property. This will be a fabulous kitchen pantry for our client. Sigh…☺️

Custom Hardware

The center bamboo handle is the control. Our metal fabricator is creating custom appliance handles to match the hardware I selected for our 1820’s historic property. When we mix the silver plate on the left, with the powder coated version on the right, I think it will be perfect. So many steps but WORTH IT.

UPDATE: Voila’! And just like that, @ironstudiotn created the custom appliance handles I needed for a very special client. When you want it to be perfect, go to the best! Thanks, Kevin! They look AMAZING.

FIREPLACE FACELIFT

Our Charleston kitchen remodel has an original fireplace that has been converted to gas. I gave the fireplace a facelift, wrapping it with beautiful tile in the softest creamy beige color. What a difference! Fireballs for the kitchen fireplace really make a simple, but elegant statement.

IMAGES BELOW
Back View  |  Front View  | Fireballs

Arched Cased Opening - Process
Arched Cased Opening - Process
Arched Cased Opening - Process
Dining Room Lighting

The dining room chandeliers are installed and glowing!

And our visitor really wants to know what’s for dinner!

SECOND FLOOR PIAZZA

 

IMAGE ONE

Third-floor staircase. Everywhere, glimpses of sunlight peek through the panes, pouring new life into this grand ole dame. I love each moment…

IMAGE TWO

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For me, this is as beautiful as it gets. A perfectly scaled french door, leading to a gracious piazza, lovingly restored by a team of tradesmen that care about getting it right.

 IMAGE THREE

The plastic is off and the light filters in. One of my favorite spaces. Next up: floors and Venetian plaster.

IMAGE FOUR

Hard to believe it’s time to start working on the Venetian plaster selections and wall murals, but I am ready! A few of these samples made the cut. Grateful to be working with Charleston’s master faux finisher, Michael Gilbert!

DRAWING ROOM

 

IMAGE ONE

Messy, messy, messy…But that means work, work, work! And this place is hoppin’! My FAVORITE part of my job is being on the sites with the crews, listening to their advice, discovering what they’ve uncovered, and sharing in the process with the incredibly skilled artisans who make it all happen.

IMAGE TWO

Every day there is progress. Today, the floors were cleared in preparation for refinishing. Views of the front piazza are quiet. Although our client is vivacious and fun, there are quiet moments in this house I relish. I know she will love them, too.

IMAGE THREE

It’s coming together- a grass-covered table between delicate Belgian linen drapery and topped with Venetian glass lighting. What could be better? Well, how about adding a colorful cigar box? 😃 I mean, why not? A cigar on the piazza at the end of the day sounds good to me!

FIREPLACE SURROUND

We are going to fix this! What was an obvious “update” was poorly done. The mantel shelf is oversized, and the legs don’t fit. And notice the baseboard stopping at the corner! Definitely not the original treatment. We are fixing all of it, including the wide leg on either side of the surround that is not appropriate for the original fireplace (IMAGE ONE)

We will do it right, because it matters. That’s what we do. Is it fun? Is it easy? No, but we care about doing it right.

See the before and the during here. Soon, we will share the after. And you will see that this is why you can trust us with your home. We will do it right!

Interesting photo of the back of a vintage mirror from England (IMAGE TWO). We will hang it correctly, and it will look better than ever!

MARBLE MATCH (IMAGE THREE)

We found a Namibia marble that is a similar soft white of the original surround.

WHAT A MESS (IMAGE FOUR)

Removing the mantel shelf and legs was a delicate operation, because we needed the existing original surround to stay intact. Look at the brickwork behind the plaster walls. Every day is a new discovery on this job site. I love every minute of it!

Marble Fireplace
Back of Antique Mirror
Marble Fireplace
Historic Flying Staircase

 THE TRIM CREW IS FINISHED (IMAGE FIVE)

The trim guys are just amazing! I love watching them work. It’s true artistry, to say the least. Look at how they recreated the base and even cut the profile to wrap the stone hearth and floor. Wow! Next up is repairing the wall and adding the correct marble, sized to fit the original marble surround. Stay tuned for the result!

UPDATE (IMAGE SIX)

The old mantel shelf was too big and the marble didn’t match the fireplace surround. Now, the shelf is proportional to the surround, and the marble is a closer match.

Back of Antique Mirror

MASTER SUITE

11’ high pocket doors in our South of Broad project: For now, they are waiting to be reset and painted. I love watching the crews do this incredibly detailed work, all while carefully maintaining the home’s integrity. Soon, my client will easily move from the master bedroom to the drawing-room while enjoying what makes Charleston so unique: gracious people, refined living, and a commitment to craftsmanship. So so so glad I moved here 30 years ago!

Light streaming through the master bedroom windows…even tape and plastic can’t keep out the incredible wash of light that these beautiful rooms receive. Charleston is beautiful. Just beautiful.

Large Pocket Doors in historic Charleston, SC home

MASTER BATHROOM 

Sunlight is streaming in on a beautiful Charleston day. The journey of restoring our city’s treasures is just as lovely to me as the end results. For today, the pauses of lovely, quiet moments were a gift. Tomorrow, the space will be teeming with tradesmen. But for today, a pause. And I am graced with the stillness. It’s breathtaking.

Primed and Prepped, ready for site spray. We have to add the crown, but first, the gorgeous Brazilian dolomite stone surface will be set, so the vanity tower can be secured. 

Yes. Yes, I did add a soft pink ceiling to the master bath. Sigh…

Beauty blooms where there is trust. My client trusted me to do the unthinkable- put this gorgeous onyx on the entire master bath floor, oh, and if that wasn’t enough, paint the ceiling a soft, soft pink. Not blush, by the way. Pink.

My best work happens when a client trusts me. I dream for them what they can’t even imagine. I hope for them what they can’t fathom. And in the end, they step into a space as naturally as stepping through a door, and into a beauty that is THEIRS. 

Entry to Master Bath

The long awaited French antique chandelier has arrived! This master bath will be unbelievably soft and feminine. (Note the onyx floor peaking through.) One of the biggest challenges we have is storing the beautiful pieces I collect for clients. I purchased this chandelier a year ago for our client, and we take great care to store the lovely pieces correctly, so they arrive to the job site in perfect condition.

LUGGAGE ROOM

Favorite View (IMAGE ONE)

One of my favorite views is out the window in the future luggage room. This space will include a gift wrapping station just below this window. Love!

BRICK WALL (IMAGE TWO)

We often take things apart, then put them back together to install a new room design. The process can be tedious, but it is really important to take our time with each step, to make sure we get it right.

BEFORE (IMAGE THREE)

The small pass-through in this odd space was not only not centered on the wall, it had a dropped header that made the whole room feel tight.

New Cased Opening (IMAGE FOUR)

We widened the opening, which is located on the original exterior wall of the house. We also raised the header to create a more open feel to the room.

Details of the panels (IMAGE FIVE)

I added a traditional chair rail height panel and listened to the trim artisans, who recommended a pencil detail instead of a bead. The results are spectacular. Keep following along to see the finished space, which will house the luggage and gift wrapping station the owner desired. Love this project!

IMAGE SIX

High gloss finish on a custom vanity for the luggage room bath. Yes, I said it: The Luggage Room Bath. I mean, really, if you are going to all of the trouble to have a luggage room, shouldn’t the adjoining bath be fab?!? Lucky for me, this client is super easy-going, and takes it all in stride!

IMAGE SEVEN

We love install days! Tad is our guy when it comes to getting it right! Check out the beautiful sheer shades we are installing downtown. These will have stationary romans in front of them, but when our client needs privacy, these are perfect!

IMAGE EIGHT

The eagle has landed! An antique mirror is the perfect touch for the luggage room bath. Wow, I love my job!

IMAGE NINE

Mitered and magnificent! Check out the fine detailing we are adding to Roman shades for our historic Charleston project. I added Thibaut vintage silk banding to a Thibaut dotted sheer for a pop of elegance in the luggage room. Laura and Becky, the talented drapery workroom team, are as dedicated as I am to getting it perfect!

GUEST SUITES

I created a His and Hers set of guest suites on the third floor. Separated by a set of wide, paneled doors, they each sport a fireplace. His has strong, simple lines and a deep mantel. Hers has a delicate dentil detail and fluted pilasters. I iced them both in a layer of BM OC-117 Simply White.

Large Pocket Doors in historic Charleston, SC home

HERS

 

IMAGE ONE

Wallpaper primer is tinted, so seams don’t show! Although our installers are the BEST, these historic properties don’t always make for perfect seams. The extra step of tinting the primer really helps. This room is part of a guest suite that looks out onto the front piazza.

IMAGE TWO

When the walls are crooked, but the level says they’re not! Ah, the hours of working on historic properties!😜

IMAGE THREE

Ed , aka Id_rather_be_dirtbiking , showed up to help out with the lighting. He also helps with storage and delivery because it takes all hands on deck for an install this large! Here’s a sneak peek at the Front Bath…

IMAGE FOUR

I love how soft this shade of pink is. This is a discontinued color, but it was too perfect not to use it.

 

HIS

This suite includes a large bedroom, dressing room, and a gorgeous bathroom!

IMAGE ONE

The gentleman’s suite gets a bold, black fireball set. It will look great with the leather chair we have planned for the space.

IMAGE TWO

Tad and Ed are installing a set of antique metal sleeve patterns from a tailor’s shop in New York. I love imagining the talented tailor who used these beautiful tools every day to make custom suits for men over 100 years ago. I admire craftsmen and the artistry of an object well made. Craftsmen inspire me to hone my own skills, too.

 

IMAGE THREE

Sneak peek of the mirror Tad and Ed installed in the gentleman’s dressing room.

IMAGE FOUR

Sometimes it is all hands on deck! Thankfully, Ed is a team player and helps us out. Ed has been installing my jobs for 30 years. 😊 Couldn’t ask for a better guy!

BEFORE (IMAGE ONE)

A white porcelain tile with cobalt accents surrounded the tub and floor.

DOLOMITE FLOOR (IMAGE TWO)

 I replaced the flooring with this gorgeous Dolomite stone, set on the diagonal (IMAGE TWO). What a difference natural stone makes! This is timeless! It could have been done last week or last century. I love working with materials that add elegance and grace to a space.

Historic Remodel - Before Casings
Historic Remodel - Casings in Progress

DOLOMITE FLOOR (IMAGE THREE)

The light filtering through casts a soft glow on the dolomite floor in the man’s bath. One of my favorite spots in the house.

😍THIBAUT WALLPAPER (IMAGE FOUR)

Where are our hats? We’re missing our shades! 😃Ha! Don’t worry! Shades are on the way for the beautiful sconces in the man’s bath! Thibaut Wallpaper is a perfect backdrop for rattan and brass!

Dolomite-Flooring-Angled-Sq

CASED OPENINGS/OFFICE

 

BEFORE
The arched opening is not original to the house. It is however, the original exterior wall of this 1820s mansion downtown. I wanted to create a paneled opening appropriate for the historic architectural elements of the house.

BUILD OUT
The existing arch was about bowed out about 2” and not only not plumb, but not centered on the wall.

CASING COMING
The guys corrected the arch by building out the wall, and then added the panels I designed to keep the correct proportions for the period. Next up: they will add casing to wrap the facing and hide the bowed walls. Amazing.

READY FOR PAINT!
Our cased arch received the final touches and is ready to spray! The cabinetry will house lots of files and paperwork in this future home office.

😍 GORGEOUS!
The office cabinetry arrived this week to join the cased opening. Perfectly planned to abut the casing, the crews executed this perfectly. My client will have the loveliest office in town.

THE OFFICE IS COMING TOGETHER
We tint the wallpaper primer, so that seams don’t show. The office will get a soft coral damask paper from Thibaut and a french chandelier.

WALK THROUGH
Dillon and I walk through the project, discussing challenges, solutions, timelines, and all the decisions that have to be made to keep the project moving. Dillon is the site/project manager, and I am glad to say, I get to work on another project with him soon. 😊

 

Historic Remodel - Before Casings
Arched Cased Opening - Process
Historic Remodel - Casings in Progress
Arched Cased Opening - Process
Historic Remodel - Casings in Progress
Arched Cased Opening - Process
Arched Cased Opening - Process

Local Artisans

Custom Cabinetry

Custom Paint Finish

We work and work and work to get the sample just right before a final strike off is approved for a finish.

Well begun is half done. – Aristotle

#InteriorDesign #IntenseWork #GetItRight #BehindTheScenes #SouthofBroad

Custom Vanity

Historic project coming together:

I LOVE to visit the workshops where all the local artisans create these beautiful pieces! This week, I got to see the powder room vanity in production. It’s waiting for 2 more coats and a touch of gold!

#HistoricRenovation #SouthofBroad #LocalArtisans

LAUNDRY ROOM

Doing laundry should always be this fun! I added a terra cotta colored cement tile floor to give this workspace some pizzazz! Wait until you see the walls!

Concrete Tile Floor:
Gone is the dreary grey porcelain tile! Now we have an Hermès orange concrete sunburst pattern, which will be cheery and fun in the new laundry room.

New Shelves and Baseboard:
We cleaned up the old shelving, but creating a more functional depth, adding a second shelf, and removing the poorly executed cleats. When it is all painted out, and we add a fun Thibaut wallpaper that is a surprise for the homeowner, look out! Sometimes it’s fun to have a few surprises up my sleeve!

ETC.

That’s something you don’t see everyday

The thermostat is barely hanging in there! Can you believe all the wire mesh from the original plaster work? I am always amazed at what we find behind walls. It’s one of the best parts of working in historic Charleston.

SHADES

It’s the little things…rows and rows of lamp shades! This project required 23 lamp shades and 53 chandelier shades. That’s a lot of shades!

 

 General Inquiries

info@designafi.com

Alexandre Fleuren

Lead Designer, Owner
843.437.1396

 Lynn Harrison Dyer

Director of Business Development
843.580.8827

lynn@designafi.com

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