Recently I travelled to South Carolina for holiday. While I was there I encounter one of the most original home designs around. Many places have homes that are uniquely designed for that specific area and can be found no where else in the world. One of the most striking examples of this type of design is the Charleston single house.
So what exactly is a “single house?” According to documents from the Charleston County Public Library, Charleston was laid out and conceived in a very “English” style. That style included how lot sizes were designated. This style began to appear in the 18th century and many of the features that made it unique then are still brilliant architectural and structural elements in the 21st century.
Often they were multi use properties. Businesses on the ground level with a front or street entrance and living quarters with a side entrance . The design also had advantages when it came to air flow and keeping the inhabitants cool on hot humid southern nights. This ventilation was achieve through the use of a piazza.
So, in short, the Charleston single house is a tall, one room wide, well ventilated, unique design that was expertly adapted to small lot, hot and humid Charleston life in the 18th century.
About 2700 of these houses remain. Many have been turned into multiple family dwellings and have been lovingly restored.
Learn more of the history from the Charleston County Public Library.Return to Blog