Charleston Charmer: Local interior designer Caitlin Dirkes Simmonds helped her parents, Peter and Didi Dirkes, turn this circa-1812 Charleston single house in downtown’s Ansonborough neighborhood into an ideal second home.
The Long Island couple, who wanted to be closer to Caitlin and her brother, Peter, were drawn to the historical home thanks to a lifelong love of antiquing, finding the perfect space to house their various treasures and family heirlooms.
Peachy Keen: Caitlin designed the first-floor living room as a “palette cleanser” for the rest of the home, where bold colors and patterns dominate. The Thibaut “Pearl River”grasscloth wallpaper and white linen drapes provide a soft backdrop for the antique chests and French rush seat chair and ottoman. She had the original wood trim and hand-carved mantelpiece painted in Farrow & Ball “Light Blue” to provide a subtle contrast.
Caitlin added interest in the entry hall with a blue rug and stair runner from Designer Carpets on John’s Island and floral drapes. Benjamin Moore’s soft “Windham Cream” paint highlights the original wood floor and antique console table.
Rosy Outlook: The Brunschwig & Fils “Bengali Rose” wallpaper sets the tone for the colorful dining room, where antique Windsor chairs surround a large farm table Caitlin sourced in California. Pattern is infused throughout the room and into the adjoining kitchen, from the Chelsea Textiles plaid seat cushions to the Jasper “Gretta” fabric shades adorning the Visual Comfort chandelier.
A playful rug from L.L.Bean adds a touch of modern style to the space, along with the deep pink drapes flanking the family’s heirloom grandfather clock.
Space Saver: A unique addition to the dining room is this powder room, where a tiny sink and toilet have been squeezed into a closet. Caitlin made the most of this unusual positioning with a playful wallpaper, “Fern” by Blithfield, and sink skirt in Brunschwig & Fils “Le Touches” fabric.
Pretty in Pink: Upstairs, the Jasper “Indian Flower” hemp fabric, used for the drapes, bed skirt, and pillow, provides interest in the primary bedroom. Antiques fill out the room, from the tiger maple four-poster bed and Great Windsor Chair Company lamps with Fermoie shades to the dresser topped by tea caddy lamps.
Vintage prints depicting couples enjoying tea add to the whimsical feel of this room.
Green Space: The second-floor sitting room continues Caitlin’s use of bold color and pattern interplay.
Here, another original hand-carved mantelpiece takes center stage, complemented by Benjamin Moore “Brookside Moss” paint.
Pale blue drapes paired with a Halsey + Spruce velvet sofa and armchairs upholstered in Jasper “Grace” fabric highlight the leafy view beyond. In the hallway, GP & J Baker “Bamboo Bird” drapes and an antique bench provide a focal point.
Garden State of Mind: A garden was a prerequisite for the couple, who use this delightful space to the fullest.
First designed by Sheila Wertimer and enhanced in 2022 by Elizabeth Pope, it includes a parterre, an ornamental feature, in this case in a figure-eight pattern, encased by low, clipped, evergreen hedges.