About 184 Ashley Avenue:
This year’s Symphony Designer Showhouse is the historic Fitch-Rivers House, constructed circa 1883 as a classical Charleston Single house in historic Radcliffeborough. The property was previously owned by the Lucas family, rice planters who built the West Point Rice Mill on the Ashley River.
The house combines the classic Charleston Single structure with a Queen Anne Victorian style, typical of the period. Queen Anne design elements include the prominent, two-story bay window on the Ashley Avenue façade, with three-wood sash windows in a two-over-two grille pattern on each story, and flush paneling laid in a diamond pattern on the spandrel beneath each row of windows. The beautiful south facing piazzas also have Queen Anne features, most notable the bowed or curved profile on each story, accessed by French doors.
The interior of the house features a modified single house plan, as there is a side hall with an entry foyer rather than the typical central hall. The main stair has the original pine treads, and there is historic flooring throughout the house. Most rooms have historic mantels of various styles; some are Adam-style or delicate neoclassical, while others are more Victorian and eclectic. Most of the rooms, as well as the upstairs garret, feature modern bathrooms, reflecting the house’s use as an inn. The rear section has a simple staircase with square balustrades, providing additional access to the upstairs areas.
The first owner was Augustus Fitch, a clerk and later bookkeeper for WP Holmes and Company. He sold the house to John Rivers, who was responsible for the beautiful Victorian style updates to the house. Rivers was a prominent cotton merchant and President of the Charleston Cotton Exchange.
During the latter 20th century the house was frequently used as a bed and breakfast, known at various times as the Old Towne Inn and Cannonboro Inn. When the 2020 Symphony Designer Showhouse closes, the house will be reopened as the Bee & Blossom Bed & Breakfast.
Be sure to shop in SCORE, our exclusive pop-up shop, lunch in our Café or choose a treasure from our designers’ exquisitely decorated rooms, where most of the items on display are for sale.
Now in its 43rd year, the Symphony Designer Showhouse is a not-to-be-missed event!
The house is generously provided by Ana Rincon.
Charleston Home + Design Magazine is the media partner of the 2020 CSOL Symphony Designer Showhouse.
All proceeds benefit the Charleston Symphony and CSOL Music Scholarships.