n the formal living room, an elegant French chandelier shines a light on an early-20th-century wood and gilt hand, as if beckoning visitors to the hearth.
Sunlight spills into the ethereal blue bathing area (left), where Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe reigns.
“Throughout the house, we wanted color that resonates happiness and daring,” says Juan. The second-floor guest suite in the main house is saturated in a fiery shade Juan deems “pimiento” before buoyantly adding, “and the chandeliers are bordello red.” Visitors to this “Scarlet O’Hara Room” are afforded their own sitting area and a piazza that presents a sweeping view of the garden.
With the wide scope of objets d’art that adorn these surroundings—such as 1,100-year-old Chinese funerary statues of the Tang Dynasty and a circa-300 B.C. Greek urn (right), fireside chats take visitors around the world and through countless eras. And that, say the home-owners, is the point. “We love to entertain,” says Gerald. “It’s all about sharing.”
Distinguished by bead-board ceilings and walls, the dining room is centered by an elegant, circa-1860 chandelier that extends its radiance across an 18th-century American mahogany table. On display are Chinese earthenware horses from the Tang Dynasty (left), as well as ancient Persian and Chinese rice urns that were not originally intended as artwork but rather created to be utilitarian, an historical and cultural factor that the collectors find, in itself, to be beautiful.
YThe master suite is ready for its close-up thanks to a top-to-bottom, golden-hued palette inspired by the 17th-century gilt bust of Kwan Yin, the Chinese goddess of mercy, and garnished with Andy Warhol’s portraits of celebrities, including Marlene Dietrich, Liza Minelli, and Joan Crawford. Hanging next to the doorway is a drawing by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti.
“Part of my love for cooking is a passion for dishes,” says Gerald, noting that the 18th-century wardrobe (left), where antique Imari is stored, hails from the Far East and was handcrafted with immaculate detail and shellacked in oxblood lacquer.
Built to be slave quarters over the once-detached kitchen house, the guest rooms exemplify Juan and Gerald’s desire to “make visitors feel as if they are staying at a five-star hotel.”
The “Safari Room” features earth-toned fabrics, rugged furnishings, and African art, as well as game trophies, a zebra-skin rug, and an alligator-skin motorcycle jacket hung on the wall.
The home’s interior “contains decorative elements in the Federalist style, one indicator of the cautious tastes of the builder and his clients,” wrote Jonathan Poston in his definitive tome, The Buildings of Charleston. The historian describes the kitchen as a “remarkably intact rear dependency.... joined to the main house in the 1870s by a hyphen addition.” To retain the original footprint of the kitchen and protect its aging authenticity, a prior restoration incorporated removable cabinets.
The lushness continues indoors with a bounty of treasures from around the world, including many of Juan’s finds—such as the Tang Dynasty musicians and Han Dynasty statue (above left)—from Asia, where he has spent a great deal of time as a travel industry executive.
Among the pieces hung for guests’ enjoyment are three lithographs by 19th-century French artist Henri Fantin-Latour (above) and an early portrait by Picasso (right). Tiffany and Steuben glass lamps illuminate the boudoir, and collections of Lalique figurines and ancient Roman glass are placed throughout.
Each room, suffused with glamour and nostalgia, has a make-you-smile theme that comes to life in a varied assemblage of colors, patterns, and textures.
The master suite is ready for its close-up thanks to a top-to-bottom, golden-hued palette inspired by the 17th-century gilt bust of Kwan Yin, the Chinese goddess of mercy, and garnished with Andy Warhol’s portraits of celebrities, including Marlene Dietrich, Liza Minelli, and Joan Crawford. Hanging next to the doorway is a drawing by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti.
Among the most extraordinary features of the antebellum beauty Gerald and Juan (top right) call home are the deep setback from the street and unusually large yard, elements that create a most dramatic presentation for this gracious Charleston single house.