interior design

hope and union

by Grace Bonney

I rarely need an excuse to be lured down to the South. Cities in Georgia and South Carolina seem to call to me in my sleep, reminding me to come back and spend time among their live oak trees and sip sweet tea while learning to enjoy life at a slower pace. So when I saw these photos of Hope & Union coffee shop, taken by photographer Kathryn Barnard, I had to stop myself from seeing it as a reason I should hope a plane down to Charleston for a quick getaway. Located in Charleston’s downtown Elliotborough neighborhood, Hope & Union is the sort of cafe that looks so sunny and welcoming it could double as a home. I have deep love and appreciation for shops that manage to create that homey feeling without crossing over into over-stuffed-sofa-and-hippy-wall-hanging land (Tea Lounge, anyone?). So when I heard that Kathryn first decided to photograph this space because she stumbled into it and liked it so much (she came back and shot the very next day) I believed her.

Kathryn was kind enough to share a collection of photographs from Hope & Union this morning, and you can see the full set after the jump. I’d give anything to swap my rainy Brooklyn morning for a sunny cup of coffee at one of those long tables. Until then, I’ll add Hope & Union to my list of place to visit when we head down this Fall for the D*S Book tour. Thanks to Kathryn for sharing these images, click here to view her full portfolio of photography online. xo, grace

*Thanks to Hillary, you can check out the preservation of the H&U building here.

CLICK HERE for more photos of Hope & Union after the jump! (I love that they used salvaged windows inside the shop- check out the dog photo below for an example)

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  • While I can certainly appreciate the lightness and airiness of the shop, I dont think sitting on a long hard bench can compare to ” crossing over into over stuffed sofa”comfort. Style over comfort???It just doesn’t exude the southern hospitality of ” come and set a spell”……now maybe if that hard bench were a swing….

    • bernie

      it’s definitely not comfy couch territory, but my idea of a modern home (and modern South) is one that feels a bit more clean lined and neat. but i get that it’s not everyone’s idea of comfy or “home” ;)


  • I was fortunate to visit Charleston SC last Fall, after *winning* a vacation to Kiawah, SC (yes, I actually won a vacation!) It’s a lovely area, I highly recommend a visit. The photos of the coffee shop are lovely :)

    I’m a east coast girl myself, but if you go to Charleston, make sure to try grits and fried green tomatoes on your visit – yum!

  • One of my most favorite spots in Charleston, which serves a superbly delicious cup of coffee in a gorgeous setting. Congrats on the feature Hope & Union!

  • I like it…its comfy in a ‘laid-back’ sort of way….and I love the name…and that whole milk bottle is just too good !! thanks Grace! xx meenal

  • Grace,

    Thanks so very much for sharing! I’m proud to call this charming city home and was beyond excited to see H+U featured this morning! They’re my absolute favorite spot to post-up for a delicious coffee. They take such pride in brewing each cup individually and serving only the very best in such a simple yet style-laden manner. Yay for H+U!

  • We go to Charleston often so I am excited to check out a new place. This is definitely off the beaten path of where we usually go.

  • Nice. My brother & family live on John’s Island right next to Charleston. I’m visiting in a few months and would love to seek out this lovely little coffee spot! Thanks for sharing.

  • Wow, this space is really beautiful and entirely homey. The linens are awesome and so is the jar of sugar cubes. =) I need to go back to Charleston someday and I’m gonna remember this place when I do!

  • I could totally live in this coffee shop! This is just the kind of homey spot that there are far too few of in my neck of the woods (suburban MD). I have roots in Charleston and this post has definitely given me a little spring road-trip fever!

  • What a charming space. I live in Atlanta and have spent several years in other southern cities. There are so many places like this with “good bones” that creative people are taking advantage of. I love it!

  • Believe it or not, I am moving to Charleston this Saturday! When we were there looking for houses last week, I spent a couple hours looking for a really great coffee shop…and with not much luck (I obviously wasn’t looking in the right places). So you can believe my surprise and delight at this post! thanks so much!

  • Grace,
    I really appreciate that you give your readers an opportunity to comment AND that you take the time to read and reply. I too like “clean lined, and neat” in a modern southern home. I live in the South, and the older I get, the more streamlined my “style” has become. (who needs all that extra “stuff”? I digress.) Maybe a” clean lined, and neat” cushion for that hard surfaced bench? I don’t necessarily think you have to sacrifice comfort for style. Its having the ability to “marry” the two that makes a space exceptional in my (old) eyes. Thanks again for a delightful blog.

  • heh, I just grabbed a latte there not even an hour ago and come back to find it feature in one of my favorite blogs!

    I highly recommend spending a little time here, it is a soothing, relaxing space where you really feel like you can recharge before getting back to work. Every one I have ever brought here has been blown away by the amazing coffee as well as the beautiful surroundings.

  • I am lucky enough to live in Charleston and can claim Hope & Union as my weekly haunt to escape the house and have a great cup of tea. If you’re in the area, you should definitely plan to stop in.

  • I LOVE this place…I just wish I wasn’t a poor teacher so that I could enjoy their coffee more often. It’s truly special.

  • ce serait un vrai rève que de s’assoir et boire un café au lait dans un tel endroit.
    La Belgique nous offre peu d’endroit aussi clair et reposant. Et pas dans les villes, certainement!!

  • I would love to know paint colors. What a gorgeous space … and kudos to the barista on the perfect heart-shaped flower.

  • What a fantastic post! I live and work a few blocks from Hope & Union, and I enjoy their delicious creations regularly! Everything about the space is unique and special. Creativity explodes from the architectural design to the unexpected containers and serveware.

    *Bernie, I hear ya, but it’s actually more comfortable than it looks ;)

    *Grace, do you know when/where your book signing will be?!

  • Charleston is my favorite city – it’s where I got engaged! – and I would move there in a heartbeat. Definitely making a point to spend an afternoon in this coffee shop on my next visit! Just love it.

  • So excited to see Hope & Union melding so beautifully with their surroundings. The architecture is phenomenal. Cannot imagine anyone not being comfortable and inspired in such a space!

  • Oh this space looks lovely, I’ll have to walk over there this weekend…I need to learn to visit Elliotborough more!

    (and how exciting that you’ll be here in the fall for your book tour!)

  • my gals and i visited this sweet shop over the weekend. amazing pastries. amazing coffee. even an amazing orange. the lighting is beautiful. the folks so nice. ONLY draw back for us personally is that there is not a kitchen. we were STARVING. however, after sitting and gabbing like little school girls for OVER an hour – i decided…who needed the kitchen? we certainly did not in the end. such a sweet way to start a saturday for sure. the bathroom door is funky/different!