Nothing makes me happier than hearing about artists and designers moving to (or staying in) the south to set up shop and be a part of the incredible communities there. There’s just something so special about what’s happening in the deep south right now, both in food and design, that is worth investing in and celebrating. I’ve loved getting to peek inside several beautiful Charleston, South Carolina homes and today, I’m thrilled to share another gorgeous Low Country home.
This 1930s craftsman belongs to Erin Connelly and Brooks Reitz, a couple that know a thing or two about great style. Erin is the co-owner of
The-Commons, an incredible online shop that curates American-made goods, and Brooks is an entrepreneur who owns Jack Rudy Cocktail Co and two restaurants in Charleston, Leon’s Oyster Shop and the soon-to-open St. Alban (both of which he designed himself!). After spending many a Sunday walking through their Wagener Terrace/ North Central neighborhood, Erin and Brooks decided to start peeking into windows and yards to see if anything was for sale. They were looking for a home that was small, move-in ready and full of charm and historic details. When they stumbled upon this home four months ago, they fell in love with the cozy kitchen, clawfoot tub and the extra bedroom that was perfect for visits with Finn, Brooks’ son. While they’ve only been in their new space for a few months, they’ve already created a space that expertly mixes their love for contemporary, American-made design with pieces from their travels and treasured hand-me-downs from family. xo, grace
Photographs by Olivia Rae James
The entryway: Erin and Brooks have a love of nautical objects and detailing. The ladder hanging on their entryway wall is a vintage pilot ladder used to paint ships. It's still covered in paint, but Erin loves it as a reminder to, "keep climbing."
The entryway foyer: Erin and Brooks wanted to create a "moody moment" in their foyer. The art piece with the bearded man was done by
and the mirror is an antique from one of the couple's favorite local shops,
. The tiny leaf-shaped lamp is from Melissa of
in Charleston. Erin keeps dried eucalyptus at home because it reminds her to stop and take a deep breath more often.
Sue the cat holds court at the top of the stairs.
The good luck knot on the stairway is by Keith Hudson of
Sailor Craft Knots in Charleston.
Keith gave Brooks and Erin this knot as a gift when they moved into their home.
The Living Room: Erin says that this room, "has a knack for drawing in long conversations with much wine." The room's vintage safari chairs were found during a trip to Lynchburg, VA. The
are used as table, chairs, ottomans and as cat scratching toys (the latter, of course, is not their intended purpose, but Sue won out). The living room walls (and the rest of the home) are painted a pale grey, Sherwin Williams' 6000 Snowfall.
Erin bought this bentwood rocker for herself as her 23rd birthday present. It was handmade by an Amish family and they each signed the bottom of the chair! Erin says, "I swear it’s the most comfortable chair we own!"
The living room sofa is a San Francisco antique store find, covered in the a luxurious wool blanket from
. The leather table is from one of Erin and Brooks' favorite mid-century modern stores in Lynchburg, VA,
. The rug has traveled around with Erin since she lived in a teeny apartment in Brooklyn Heights. "It's sort of part of me at this point. My rug goes where I go," she explains.
The textile hanging on the living room wall was given to Erin by her mother after she went to Africa on safari. The candlesticks on the veranda are by a North Carolina potter,
. (Erin will be working on collaborations with him for The-Commons). All of his work is wood-fired in a kiln the size of a school bus.
This vintage lamp is also from Galaxie Modern in Virginia. It swivels and dims. The two framed pieces are from Erin's late grandmother’s home. The letter on the left is a typed (with hand corrections) version of one of Erin's favorite stories about her father growing up. The comb on the right is what Erin's grandmother made for her as a child to comb out the fringe on her rugs. Erin hated that chore (the comb is made of cardboard and hairpins) but she says it makes her laugh now. "I have much respect for her creative ways of keeping me busy as a child!"
The living room's gooseneck desk lamps were found at Charleston antique shop,
. The slice of petrified wood is from Ginkgo Petrified Forest in Washington.
Erin loves their living room's angular mantle. They typically fill the coal fireplace full of candles. The portrait to the left is Erin's grandmother, Louise, and the oil landscape next to that was painted by Erin's business partner, Kerry. And the gentleman on right is titled “The Law” by a Montana artist
. "We pretend that he is dating my grandma," says Erin.
Erin says that, "Our dining room is super special to us. We actually eat our meals here! We are pretty formal about eating at the table…it helps us disconnect with the outside, and connect with each other." Erin found the zinc top table in an old flea market in NYC. The shibori table runner was something Brooks found for his cafe, but didn’t end up using, so Erin took it and draped it over the table. The bowl is by
, Erin and Brooks use it almost every day for a huge salad and/or popcorn. The candles are hand turned, just like a table leg, by
. The suspended shaded lamp is by Workstead, which Erin thinks is perfect because the room is not symmetrical - so they angle the lamp to be centered over the table.
Brooks found these sconces in Hudson, NY. Erin loves that they bring "almost a monastery feel to the dining room."
Erin and Brooks' kitchen is flooded with gorgeous light all day and is a favorite spot to hang out. The three triangles on the island are the prototypes from a
collaboration The-Commons did with Arrowhead
. They are nesting trivets that can also be used as a fruit bowl!
Erin says that this bathtub was the clincher that sold her on the house. "This is where I shed the day, candlelit…and my brass herons….my self proclaimed spirit animal, rest above me," she says. The window next to the tub has a view of the tops of palm trees. "I never thought I would end up in the south…this tub and those trees are one of the many reasons why I am so happy to be here!"
The upstairs bathroom, shared by all three bedrooms, is a sunny, happy place for plants. Erin and Brooks love the original tile, and use a Persian rug as their bathmat. "This is probably my favorite room in the house," Erin explains. "The wainscoting is a fun place to put little treasures...the three Japanese figurines next to the vase came from a trip to Kyoto. They each represent best friends from high school!"
Erin and Brooks plan on covering their stairway wall with art over time. The drawing on the right was done by
, who has done a lot of work for Brooks' restaurants. Erin commissioned her to sketch an aerial view of their neighborhood park that means so much to her and Brooks. She included a tiny sketch of Finn, Brooks’ son, and their cat Sue wandering in the park!
Erin and Brooks like to keep their bedroom spare and simple. The 70s bedside lamp was Erin's parents' and the wall-mounted lamp is Erin's favorite reading lamp, made by
. Erin made the German selvedge linen pillows as potential prototypes for The-Common.
This is a framed print Brooks bought at the Louvre when he was in college. He lost it on the Paris metro and was heartbroken…but he searched and managed to recover it! Erin found the table in an antique store years ago in San Francisco.
The top of Erin's dresser is a very special place for her. She has pink dried eucalyptus hanging above brass candlesticks made by her friend,
Ann Ladson Stafford
. The large rock is from the base of the Montana Rockies.
Erin reading in the bedroom.