Design Destinations: Charleston, S.C.

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Run to Charleston if you can to catch this year’s Charleston International Antiques Show (starting this Friday, March 19th and ending Sunday, March 21st), organized by and benefiting Historic Charleston Foundation. If you can’t make it in time for that, then take a walk through the city with the Foundation’s annual Festival of Houses and Gardens (March 18-April 17). For information and tickets, go to http://historiccharleston.org.

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In addition to its location on the Cooper River, across the street from East Bay Street’s stately houses, this antiques show holds a special appeal for me. In several of my books (Charleston Style, Charleston: Architecture and Interiors, and The Southern Cosmopolitan), I have celebrated the city’s charming, and often surprising, approach to decorating. I love the way present-day Charlestonians mix English and American antiques with West Indian pieces, Middle Eastern and Indian textiles, and Asian accessories–and the historic precedents for this global approach to style.

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Asian, Middle Eastern, and English antiques share space in a private guesthouse designed by Amelia Handegan

(from Charleston: Architecture & Interiors)

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A Philadelphia secretary bookcase and a West Indian planters chair form a vignette in Ann and David Silliman’s house

(from The Southern Cosmopolitan)

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Dealers at this antiques show including Antiques of the Indies, owned by the Sillimans (see above), offer everything needed to create cosmopolitan interiors like these. Select from fine American, British, Asian and West Indian antiques, Chinese and Italian dinner services, Middle Eastern rugs, vintage French textiles, and on and on and on to create your own version of global Southern style.

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Whether shopping the antiques show, taking a tour, or reading one of my books about the city, any encounter with Charleston promises to spark a romance with its charm, elegance, and subtle exoticism

To order my books, please select the books page from the menu at right. Photo of East Bay Street by Ron Rocz.

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