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industry insider
Summer vacation series: Designers’ Guide to Charleston
Jul 28, 2017
Melissa Studach

Cobblestone streets, country estates and white sand beaches are all the convincing an urban dweller needs to escape to Charleston, South Carolina. Having been named Travel + Leisure’s top U.S. city for the fifth year in a row, Charleston is drawing quite the crowd—design professionals included. While the CHARLESTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA SHOWHOUSE has been a pillar in the city’s design community for more than four decades, new showrooms like Sarah Hamlin Hastings’s FRITZ PORTER are bringing fresh perspectives to the historic city.

Mitchell Hill
Tyler Hill and Michael Mitchell of Mitchell Hill

To help navigate the charming design scene of Charleston, EAL is asking the locals. For more than 20 years, Michael Mitchell and Tyler Hill have put their colorfully traditional touch on Charleston homes as the co-founders of MITCHELL HILL. Today, they’ll be our tour guides.

Where to Stay
There’s something so precious about the immaculate architecture and design of ZERO GEORGE since it opened its doors in 1804. It’s a quaint boutique hotel right in the heart of downtown Charleston, and the courtyard is the definition of Old Charleston. They even offer cooking classes. Locals and travelers alike enjoy the scenery.

Mitchell Hill, Inc.
Mitchell Hill Inc.

Where to Shop
You mean besides our gallery MITCHELL HILL INC.? (We kid.) CROGHAN'S JEWEL BOX is one of our favorites for the perfect gift! Whether it’s Christmas, Mother’s Day or any other holiday, you will find us there choosing gifts for all our loved ones. If you’re looking for antiques, AIM ON KING is the place to go!

Leon's Oyster Shop
Leons Oyster Shop; courtesy @leonsoystershop/Instagram

Where to Eat
LEON'S OYSTER SHOP has come up with such a creative way to put a spin on seafood. Fried chicken and oysters—you can never go wrong. I like this place because it’s rather a hidden gem. It stands out in a part of town where locals don’t generally go. I also love ANSON'S. They’re known for their crispy flounder with apricot glaze that is amazing.

Where to Draw Inspiration
It’s not that hard. You take a walk through any of our old neighborhoods and see amazing ironwork, woodwork, cobblestone streets, the way the bricks have been laid—I mean it’s just all amazing. People are finding ways to include modern twists on old haunts. The juxtaposition of modern against a traditional landscape is an inspiration all its own.

Zero George
Zero George Hotel, courtesy @zerogeorgest/Instagram

Insider Tips and Hidden Gems
Go down the alleyways and back into the neighborhoods. KUDU COFFEE SHOP is one of those places where you can feel like the mom-and-pop atmosphere, just like the old days.

The Charleston Design Scene in Six Words
Forever referencing history while thinking forward.

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