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An 1860s House Becomes a Serene Escape For Charleston, SC Getaways

by Erin Austen Abbott

I have this thing with hotels. I love the design of hotels, staying in hotels — the works. I have even gone out of my way just to stay in a specific hotel.  in Charleston, SC is one of those places I would go out of my way to visit. Named for its street address, this three-story gem has a classic French vibe while still feeling modern and regal with an elevated Southern style. Not an easy feeling to master, to say the least.

Established in 1862 by Capt. Christian Baker Sigwald, was built during the early days of the Civil War. The historic property was later owned by several Charlestonians, including James R. Cantwell, Adelaide Gibbes and Peter P. Poinsette, whose sister was , the noted civil rights leader. The home remained in the Poinsette family from 1952 to 2015, when it was sold to Marion and Lori Hawkins. The Hawkinses turned to Betsy Berry of  to turn this home into the hotel it is today. “The minute I walked the property, I could see the elegance of the outcome of the renovation,” Betsy shares. “I was lucky to have kind and generous clients that not only trusted me, but encouraged my vision. Septima Poinsette Clark is said to have hosted Martin Luther King at this home on his trips to Charleston. This, to me, gave the property such presence and strength. A lot happened on this site.”

The former Poinsette House is now a fully restored luxury boutique inn located in the heart of downtown Charleston. Blending the original historic architecture, Lowcountry charm and sophisticated interiors, 86 Cannon aims to offer an immersive Charleston experience in the city’s vibrant Cannonborough/Elliotborough neighborhood. The property features five guest rooms, as well as common areas for relaxation, including two spacious open-air piazzas, a salon, café, and library. “I couldn’t sleep for days when pulling this concept together,” Betsy recalls. “The house itself is beautiful and I really wanted to do it justice as well as deliver Marion and Lori their dream of running a boutique luxury inn. When I presented my concept, they did not say a word. I thought, ‘they hate it.’ A full minute later (or it felt like it!), they simply said, “we love it — we don’t want to change one thing.’ That does not happen in this business. I cried tears of relief afterward. That began a great partnership in the beauty of 86 Cannon.”

Working with a home from the 1800s can often present problems. Scale has changed since building standards of that time, as Betsy learned on this project. She had to have the historic door frames removed to make way for the custom furniture on the third floor. “In older homes there was no need for a ‘great room,’ so we were dealing with smaller rooms that need the amenities of today’s world. The key to this is the scale of all the furniture. A lot [of] the furniture within the space is completely custom to feel as it should — made for the room,” Betsy shares. Her end goal was to provide an escape for guests, yet evoke all the charm and elegance of this beautiful city through the details of the space. I hope you enjoy this tour as much as we do. —

Photography by  /

Image above: Looking out over one of the two open-air piazzas, from one of the five guest rooms at . 

 

 

 

 

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A look at the two beautiful porches at 86 Cannon.

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86 Cannon’s handsome front door welcomes guests to stay.

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The second-floor porch, with seating from , is divided into different seating areas to offer some quiet time among guests.

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86 Cannon interior designer, Betsy Berry of .

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The foyer is stunning with hand painted flooring from .

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The salon suggests the blue of the nearby ocean, while still presenting a classic look.

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A closer look at the blue, textured wall covering.

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The second-floor cafe is a serene spot to grab a bite to eat or a drink.

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The cafe welcomes guests for a morning breakfast and a nightly wine and cheese offering.

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One of the five guest suites in this historic home turned hotel. This particular room has a fireplace in the bathroom.

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A peek at the loft suite on the third floor, where you can get a rooftop view of the neighborhood.

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With exposed beams, the loft suite is a beautiful conversion of the attic. It is just across the hall from the lending library.

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Pulling from the same wall covering, the headboard feels seamless against the wall.

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The loft suite’s all-glass shower is a focal point of the room.

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With pine floors, exposed brick, and a marble sink, this bathroom is so beautiful.

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This guest room is elegant and features a fireplace. Brass details complement the warm color palette chosen for this room.

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A hand painted stenciled design covers the walls in this room.

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A closer look at the hand painted stenciled design on the walls.

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The third-floor lending library’s design utilizes an unexpected muted red, which works so well to create a cozy aesthetic.

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Similar to the adjacent loft suite, the library also has roofline views and exposed beams.

SOURCE LIST

Exterior & Outdoor

Lamps –
Tables and Chairs –
Hanging lanterns –

Entryway

Custom Hand-painted Floor –
Lantern –
Mirror – (Baton Rouge)
Stair runner –
Sconces –

Living Room (Salon)

Custom Mirrors – R. Squared Hines Ltd.
Area rug –
Antique Commode –
Ceiling Fixture –
Sconces –
Lamps –
Coffee Table –
Side Tables –

Kitchen

Wall finish –
Ceiling Fixture –
Center Table –

Bathroom

Sconces –

Bedrooms

Guest rooms 1 & 3:

Nightstands –
Pivot Mirrors –
Consoles –
Ceiling Fixture –
Area Rugs –
Sconces –

Guest rooms 2 & 4:

Lamps –
Consoles –
Nightstands –
Antique Commode –
Side Tables –
Area Rugs –
King beds –
Mirrors –

Guest room 5:

Mirror –
Table lamp –

Library

Table lamp –
Lamp –
Area Rug –
Floor Lamp –

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