Discovering where to find well-loved pieces in Charleston
Article and photos by Jenny Peterson
Whether you’re new to the pastime or a seasoned browser, Charleston is a wonderful place for antiquing, with knowledgeable proprietors ready to answer your questions or standby while you peruse the aisles, letting your imagination run wild about the former lives of one-of-a-kind well-loved pieces and curiosities.
“Antique” is the term to describe an item that has reached 100 years in age. Before the 100-year-mark, older items are referred to as “vintage.” With many stores blending antiques and vintage pieces—and some incorporating modern pieces in the mix as consignment—treasures abound around every corner and in every case of collectibles. Below are a few places to get started with exploring Charleston’s antique scene.
Architectural Antiques & Design
1011 St Andrews Blvd A, Charleston
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
A 4,000-square foot “warehouse of possibilities,” with two thirds of an acre of antique iron, building salvage, and wonderful stone items for the garden await shoppers inside and outside. This longtime Charleston institution has many architectural pieces including doors, doorknobs and hardware, mantels and more salvaged from historic homes across the South. The collection also includes antique, vintage, and decorative items like furniture, lamps, rugs, mirrors, lighting and decor. There’s even an authentic Phillip Simmons wrought iron gate from Charleston’s famed late blacksmith. The store was in the spotlight during season 3 of HGTV’s “Rock the Block,” when design team Jenny and Dave Marrs purchased a historic door from Architectural Antiques & Design to incorporate into the kitchen as a pantry door with character—and scored the win for best design of the space.
Terrace Oaks Antique Mall
2037 Maybank Highway
Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sixty dealers occupy 90 booths at this expansive, 10,000 square-foot space on James Island with thousands of items in every nook. There are many pieces from early 1900s, including desks, sideboards and chairs. There are also glass cases with a number of silver flatware, China and delicate glassware—including colored glassware and vintage Tiffany & Co. glassware—and the option to add these pieces to a wedding registry. Walls are adorned with framed photos, ceilings are adorned with vintage and antique chandeliers, and each booth has its own style, with books, vintage postcards, framed photographs and more. There is something for everyone—small collectibles to antique grandfather clocks, even vintage military uniforms. Customers often spend hours perusing the booths and exploring the floor—sometimes leaving for lunch and returning—in order to check out every piece on display.
1015 St Andrews Blvd., Charleston
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
A fairly new antique store to the area, Warehouse 61 sells a number of eclectic vintage pieces like couches, dining sets, wingback chairs, daybeds, statues and much more. There are pieces from the 1700s and modern pieces comingling on the floor. With unique items for every room in the house, Warehouse 61 sells chandeliers, lamps, mirrors, candlesticks, paintings and other home décor in many different styles, but not as many “kick knacks” found at other antique stores.
“I like to say we have something for everyone,” said owner Joanna White, who also owns the White Gallery in Mt. Pleasant. Warehouse 61 has mid-century modern, coastal, and provincial styles on display. There’s an entire section of rugs and floor cushions and unique one-of-a-kind pieces, like a pair of 1950s chairs from a Sullivan’s Island home that were recovered and brought back to life.
Summerville Antique Gallery
901 North Main St., Summerville
Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Aisles and aisles of antiques and homemade pieces are found within a number of vendor booths at Summerville Antique Gallery. The store offers over 10,000 square feet of antiques and unique items. Pieces for every room can be found in this “mall” of vendor booths, with tags stating whether an item is “antique”—the 100-year-old mark—often with the exact date an item was created. A glass case holds bibles and prayer books from 1880s and there are several antique solid oak tables and chairs, bookshelves and sideboards. Each booth is a surprise and many have specific niches, from old cast-iron cookware to a collection of handsome wooden wardrobes.
Mount Pleasant Mall
708 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays, noon- 6 p.m.
Featuring over 25,000 square feet and over 100 vendors selling new and pre-owned furniture, designer home accessories, antiques, vintage collectibles, vintage picture frames, art, jewelry and much more, Mount Pleasant Mall truly has something for everyone. Antiques, like an ornamental hand-painted vase, are sprinkled among newer furniture that lean heavy on coastal style with mirrors, oversized pillows and rattan sideboards. Find unique wall hangings like crosses and mirrors, colored glassware, antique tea sets and anything else you need to furnish a home as well as one-of-a-kind hostess gifts, like soaps and tea towels. Antique booths can be found among modern vendors, showing that the two styles can co-exist stylishly. Signed prints of illustrations of Charleston and Sullivan’s Island, vintage watches, and other delights await shoppers.