Makeover at Saluda Cottages

Grand estates have given Historic Flat Rock its raison d’être.

Even so, Saluda Cottages stands out like the fattest bud on a prize magnolia. Already a fixture on the semi-annual tour of homes sponsored by Historic Flat Rock, Inc., the property has received some well-deserved royal treatment to blossom into the 2010 Flat Rock Designer Showhouse.

Early names associated with the estate can be traced to American history books. Count Joseph Marie Gabriel St. Xavier de Choiseul, the French consul to Charleston, built Saluda Cottages — so named for its numerous outbuildings and location along the old Saluda Path — in 1836. Flat Rock was an antebellum hotspot for summering Palmetto City residents, and by 1850, the deed belonged to C.G. Memminger, the future first Secretary of the Treasury for the Confederacy.

The house was briefly owned by Rev. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, descended from a family of statesmen and planters whose surname still marks Charleston-area landmarks. But it didn’t accrue its Second French Empire grandeur — including the imposing mansard roofline, dramatic central tower and porte-cochère — until 1887, when Charleston newspaper editor General Rudolph Siegling and his wife bought the home, adding the entire third floor and all its accoutrements.

Saluda Cottages is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. L.C. Boyd, Jr., (the house has been owned by the Boyd family since the 1950s). The Boyd’s have served on the board of trustees of Historic Flat Rock, Inc., and Mr. Boyd is a past president of the organization.

The house provided ample canvas for the 15 design teams, who worked to complement unusually high ceilings, copious artisan woodwork and 14 fireplaces. “There are so many features that make this property an ideal showhouse,” says Historic Flat Rock President Galen Reuther. “It’s just a special place.”

The Flat Rock Designer Showhouse will be open for tours from August 14 through August 29. Tickets are $25 and proceeds benefit Historic Flat Rock, Inc., an organization dedicated to preserving the historic character of the Village of Flat Rock. Visit www.historicflatrockinc.org for more information and to purchase tickets.

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