The Post and Courier

June 4, 2012

From Charleston’s earliest days, carriage houses have served as servants quarters or work places for landowners’ grandiose formal estates.

The historic district has retained its share of the modest-sized downtown residences, which date as far back as the 18th century and are adjacent to larger properties while separated by a garden or walkway.

Today carriage houses can be residences of their own, bed and breakfast establishments, rental properties, all kinds of things. But as one- or two- bedroom dwellings, they cater to singles, couples or maybe a family with a small child: not a large brood or dozens of partygoers.

Meanwhile, carriage homes’ laidback livability make them in vogue as second residences — notably for socialites who want to drop in and zip out without much bother.

Although the origins of 3 Philadelphia Alley aren’t clear, the two-story 1,600-square foot house built circa 1743 has all the trappings of a carriage house. The 269-year-old residence, offered furnished with a few exclusions, is priced for sale at $998,000.

Adam Edwards, sales associate for Carriage Properties and the listing agent, sees the house as a mini-vacation setting for wealthy types from the big city.

The block-masonry house is light and open, and it’s set up for turnkey use. Plus there’s no regime fee to pay as with a condo or townhome, he says.

Edwards envisions “someone from Charlotte or Atlanta (jetting in) for the weekend.” The French Quarter location is in the midst of eateries, shops, theaters. “You can walk to everything,” he says.

In his listing, Edwards refers to 3 Philadelphia Alley as “a true gem” and “impeccably maintained.” The alleyway, renamed for residents of The City of Brotherly Love who helped preserve the sector after a serious fire in the late 1700s, today separates Church and State between Cumberland and Queen streets.

The property went on the market earlier this month, Edwards says, noting he’s already had several showings. “This is as charming as can be,” he says.

The owner and a predecessor separately remodeled 3 Philadelphia Alley over the past three years, retaining most-likely original hardwood floors and restoring fireplace mantels and surrounds while carving out a modern kitchen with walk-in pantry and stainless steel refrigerator, dishwasher and gas cooktop. Ceilings are 9-foot or higher and rimmed with crown and dentil moldings.

In the front left is the decent-sized living room. It shows off bookcases flanking the fireplace, which is not in use and sports a flat-screen TV in the hold.

The narrow kitchen links the living room with the formal dining room on the right side of the house. A surprise touch is a cabinet mini-bar built into the dining room’s back wall, exposing the original brick. Also downstairs is a half-bath with ceramic bowl sink and wooden stand.

The sizable master bedroom and a guest room are on the top floor as is a splashy bathroom with old marble floor and more-modern marble shower.

Outside at the entrance to the house is an elegant private garden fronted by a jasmine-adorned arch and displaying evergreens, native trees and shrubs, and various sculptures including an alligator. Edwards suspects 3 Philadelphia Alley was a carriage house at one time for a large home on Queen Street to the south of the garden.

“This is a rare ‘lock and go’ opportunity of the finest quality,” Edwards says.

The house is hidden away on Philadelphia Alley, which is no longer a through street. Traveling south, take East Bay Street below Calhoun Street. Continue past Market Street and make the next right on Queen Street. Follow Queen across State Street. On the right just past Footlight Players is Philadelphia Alley. Walk less than a block. On the left is 3 Philadelphia Alley.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com

Agent: Adam L. Edwards

Office: Carriage Properties
Phone: 843-810-1238

Philosophy: “My approach to real estate sales is to provide first rate client services with special attention given to individual needs along with open lines of communication. I have found that when you combine this philosophy with in depth market knowledge, strong advertising and partnering with a company with a superior market presence you have a proven formula for sales success.”


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