In Charleston, S.C., the Southern city famous for its old houses, stands a Georgian-style home notable for being one of the very oldest: It was built in the 1740s, or three decades before the start of the Revolutionary War.
The double-house was once home to Colonel Jacob Motte, who served as treasurer for the South Carolina colony; about a century later it was battered by shells during the Civil War, according to the owner and books that mention the home. Many decades later it would become home to local residents like Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, who is known for her paintings of scenic streets and landscapes and was one of the leading figures in Charleston’s artistic renaissance after World War I.
The distinctive salmon-colored stucco property retains hallmarks of its time. It is two different structures—the kitchen and two bedrooms were separated in a different building to prevent the spread of potential fires. And its lot still contains two historic, Gothic Revival-inspired outhouses.
The home’s owners, Dan and Ellen Kiser, said they poured millions into restoring the home and upgrading its systems — they connected the two structures with a glass-covered walkway, replaced the kitchen and turned one of the historic outhouses into a pool bathroom. “ They are now listing the property for $9.995 million, Mr. Kiser said.
If the property sold for that price, it would set a record for a single-family home in Charleston, said listing agent Leslie Turner of Maison Real Estate. The previous record was set last year by the roughly $8.6 million sale of a 19th-century house on nearby Legare Street, she said. However, an in-contract condo in the area that was most recently listed for $12.5 million is widely expected to break that record when it closes later this year, she said.
Known locally as the “Capers Motte House,” the property gets its name from Mr. Motte, the onetime resident, and Richard Capers, a local believed to have built the home, according to “The Dwelling Houses of Charleston, South Carolina,” a 1917 book written by Ms. Smith. It is thought that meetings of South Carolina’s Commons House of Assembly were held in the house, prior to the construction of the local state house.
Charleston was a focal point of secession at the start of the Civil War. In 1860, South Carolina was the first state to vote to secede from the union, and the first shots of the war were fired at Fort Sumter, about one mile from the property, in 1861.
“Several shells fell on the house during the bombardment … and some of the rooms were badly shattered,” Ms. Smith wrote in her book. After Ms. Smith’s grandmother bought the house following the Civil War, she made careful repairs “so not to alter the general effect,” Ms. Smith wrote.
The Kisers purchased the property for $2 million in 1998 from a couple who had been operating it as a bed and breakfast, said Mr. Kiser, 73, an attorney. He and his wife plowed “seven figures” into restoring the property, he said.
In addition to its history, the 8,524-square-foot house is notable for its large ballroom, which consumes half the second floor and has wood-paneled walls, detailed moldings, wall-mounted candelabras and an ornate fireplace. There’s a Cypress-paneled library, 15 fireplaces, King of Prussia marble fireplace surrounds and Delft tiles.
The property sits on about a third of an acre surrounded by high brick walls for privacy. It has a large garden with an oval pool, lush landscaping and the two privies.
The couple is selling because they’re simplifying their lives as they get older and already have homes in Washington D.C., where Mr. Kiser’s law firm is located, and in Palm Beach, Fla. He said his wife especially will miss sitting out in the private garden.
Ms. Turner, the listing agent, said homes with such historic significance rarely hit the market in Charleston, where low inventory has helped sustain strong pricing over the past year. She shares the listing with colleague Mary Lou Wertz.
“We’re in a little bit of a bubble just because a lot of these places just can’t be replicated,” Ms. Turner said.
Local real estate expert Owen Tyler, a partner at the Cassina Group and the president of the South Carolina Realtors Association, said the luxury market has been consistent in the area, though homes priced at $5 million and up tend to take longer to sell.
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