Every region of America has a distinctive style of vintage architecture that perfectly evokes its history and lifestyle. In the coastal Northeast it’s a Cape Cod cedar-shingled cottage dating back to the early Colonial fishing villages where you can walk a few blocks and buy fresh lobster and fish every morning.
In Park City, UT it’s an historic downtown mining house, spare and unassuming from the street since eight feet of snow doesn’t favor complicated architecture. Fast forward a hundred years and it’s now a masterfully-converted interior design combination of old-meets-new steps from the Sundance Film Festival and some of the finest powder skiing in North America.
Nowhere however, do architecture, history, geography, and lifestyle blend more evocatively than in the American South. Antebellum, Plantation, and Low Country are all signature American architectural styles that remain iconic sources of design inspiration throughout the country today.
With deference to the South’s long-standing imprint on American architecture and interior design, here are three of our favorite historic properties currently for sale that evoke the true Southern lifestyle and can now be yours. For the record we’d happily spend Thanksgiving in any of these historic houses. Sipping a holiday whiskey classic.
Meet Moss Point’s architectural crown jewel, an exquisitely-restored Victorian plantation-style estate in a quiet walkable neighborhood in a quiet, historic southern Mississippi river town. This impeccably restored Southern showpiece home sits on a hill in view of Beardslee Lake within minutes of the Gulf of Mexico beaches.
The original home was built by a local lumber milling entrepreneur who owned the property surrounding Beardslee Lake and upon its completion it was considered one of the finest houses in the area—and retains this architectural distinction today.
It was also built without electricity, bathrooms, closets or a kitchen. Today it’s come a long way. An inviting light-filled sunroom overlooks a dramatic three tier fountain surrounded by ornamental plantings, patio and paths. The formal dining room has the original 12-foot ceilings, crown and dentil moldings, and a breathtaking crystal beaded 20-light chandelier that unites the sunporch and the kitchen. The beautifully restored heart pine floors also retain the original attention to woodwork detail.
The front porch overlooks Beardslee Lake and the sunporch has a fountain view. This historic home’s one acre lot is carefully planted with mature blooming trees, live oaks, azaleas, indian hawthorne, camellias, gardenias and jasmine just to name a few. After more than 120 years it now also has luxurious bathrooms, closets, and a kitchen to match. And air conditioning!
Some historic properties just make us hit the breaks. They’re more like museums than houses in terms of scale, ornamentation, and architectural significance.
This historic seven-bedroom Queen Anne all-brick mansion built c. 1894 sits on two acres with stunning views from Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga, TN and is one of the architectural anchors of this historic river city. The period-appropriate decor and finishes capture the feeling of a bygone Southern era. The huge, brightly-lit spaces with soaring ceilings include a music room, formal living and dining rooms, a family room, a master suite, and a sunroom. There are hardwoods throughout as well as eight working fireplaces, and classic Queen Anne architectural features including ornate crown molding and pocket doors. The main level boasts a grand central foyer area where you can be sure many famous guests and Southern business and political dignitaries once came and went.
Among the many modern upgrades and luxuries, when the summer humidity starts to get oppressive, just step under the shade of the many covered porches or pack your bag for the pool house and take the heat off in your own private pool with sunset and sunrise views.
This fabulous drone video tour says it all.
“AHHHH, Savannah.” Just the name evokes exclamations of delight and sighs of anticipation. Where grandiose historic architecture, ornate ironwork, bubbling fountains, primordial green squares and an eccentric citizenry combine who would be surprised? It’s no wonder then this classic Southern city-by-the-sea has earned the modern moniker “Hip and Historic”.
The Forsyth Park Boutique Inn was built in 1893 as a private residence of a well-to-do Savannah sea captain and his family. On a shady boulevard in the National Landmark Historic District overlooking Forsyth Park, it’s Savannah’s largest and most visited historic district ‘square’ . The historic home was transformed into an inn 28 years ago and thoughtfully restored to preserve its character and original details including soaring 14-foot ceilings, full height windows, 12-foot solid wood interior doors, intricate parquet floors, and twelve fireplaces.
The private, walled courtyard is a soothing oasis in the city with a softly bubbling fountain, lush established landscaping, and oaks draped with Spanish moss. The sun-dappled courtyard harkens back to another Southern age, and for modern day travelers (or the new private owner) it offers the perfect respite after a day of exploring Savannah’s eclectic historic district.
We’re torn between keeping it as an inn or making it our own private residence!