Charleston, South Carolina, is a city steeped in history. Its very name conjures up Southern belles and sweet tea, horse-drawn carriages and cotillions, and stately homes that date back to antebellum times. Angie Hranowsky never thought she’d end up in one. “I love historic houses, but I’m a modernist at heart,” says the interior designer and mother of two. But a little less than a year ago, she left the midcentury-modern dwelling she shared with her then-husband and resolved to start anew in an old home. It was a break from tradition in more ways than one: utilizing everything from saturated pinks and zebra-skin rugs to eclectic artwork and one-of-a-kind furnishings, Hranowsky pulled off a veritable reinvention of the circa-1850 Charleston Single House that, when she first laid eyes on it, was “nothing but beige.”
That’s not to say she didn’t have her limits. Because the house is a rental, major renovations were out of the question, forcing Hranowsky to rely on cleverly chosen paint changes and cosmetic fixes such as new light fixtures and modular shelving. The one thing the designer refused to scrimp on? Bespoke window treatments. “Much of what’s in the house are pieces I’ve collected over the years,” she says. “But I had to have custom drapes and roman shades—they make the room.”
Mixing her contemporary aesthetic and the structure’s historic bones proved unexpectedly seamless. “The low, clean lines of modern furniture play nicely off the high ceilings and large windows, adding a real sense of scale,” Hranowsky says. For her glamorous bedroom, she again experimented with opposites, surrounding a chrome four-poster bed with soft, pale design details whose colors were inspired by her plush Madeline Weinrib rug. Throughout the house are lighthearted nods to her children’s blossoming style. Sasha’s and Loulou’s artworks hang alongside vintage ephemera in the sunny kitchen, and the design of their bedrooms was a collaborative process. “The kids chose paint colors and fabrics,” Hranowsky says, “and Loulou was adamant about having a loft bed.”
The designer says there was little difference between working for herself or someone else. The goal remained the same: a home that was thoroughly personal as well as modern. “My style is constantly evolving,” she says. “I’m always trying to push myself while holding true to what my work is about: creating spaces that are both inviting and risk-taking.” With its refreshing twist on tradition, this Charleston Single House proves that some risks are worth the reward.