The viewer’s votes are in and on July 17th the winners in a variety of categories of homes were declared. The Ultimate House Hunt is one of HGTV’s most popular online contests and this year’s 86 finalists from 13 countries received 880,000 votes on the cable program’s website. Some of the categories included historic, waterfront, urban digs, amazing kitchens, modern masterpiece and more. The overall global winner was a stunning villa in Sardinia, but the standout was the winner of the historic category - the 1834 Robert Smalls House in the historic district of Beaufort, South Carolina. The house, with its two-story wide front porches, is the epitome of the southern plantation house nestled in its half-acre of lush formal gardens where night blooming jasmine and gardenias must surely reside.
Robert Smalls was born a slave in 1839 in Beaufort, South Carolina. During the American Civil War in 1862, Smalls gained his freedom and became famous by impersonating the captain, boarding his family and commandeering the CSS Planter, an armed confederate transport ship and sailing her into the hands of the Union Navy. Referred to as a hero in the north and a traitor in the south, he went on to represent South Carolina in the United States House of Representatives during Reconstruction. It was the intelligence of the Confederate Army of their layout and conditions in the Charleston area that made it possible for the Union to quietly take over the area only a week after Small’s escape. After the war, Smalls returned to Beaufort where he was later elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. His former home was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974.
Located on The Point, one of two historic areas, the neighborhood sits on a peninsula surrounded by the Beaufort River with the city’s business district at its entrance. Measuring in at 4,264 square feet, the three-level house includes four bedrooms and three baths. Formal living and dining rooms open to the right and left of the foyer with family rooms and chef’s kitchen with family dining room toward the rear. The upper level contains two bedrooms as does the lower level, which also has an office/music room and family room with beamed ceilings and French doors opening to the rear garden. All rooms are large with high ceilings, large windows, updated baths, hardwood floors and a number of charming fireplaces. The lushly planted formal gardens are appointed with detailed design, mature trees and is very welcoming with creeping fig on the entry step risers. In keeping with its National Historic Landmark status, an excavation was carried out in the backyard to find the foundation of the original summer kitchen, which was duplicated in the same footprint and repurposed as guest quarters.
Voted HGTV viewers’ favorite Historic Home for 2018, the 1834 Robert Smalls House was listed for sale at $1.49 million and is now under contract. The listing agent is Bonnie Krstolic of Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates, Beaufort, South Carolina.