A Small Charleston Rental That Feels Like Home

In a classic Single House, designer Angie Hranowsky carves out a family-friendly abode peppered with vintage finds and vibrant hues.

The living room of Angie Hranowsky's Charleston, South Carolina, home boasts an animated palette of pinks and blues. Written by Sarah Storms and photographed by Julia Lynn for the April 2013 issue of Lonny.
The living room of Angie Hranowsky's Charleston, South Carolina, home boasts an animated palette of pinks and blues. Written by Sarah Storms and photographed by Julia Lynn for the April 2013 issue of Lonny.

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.”

Interior designer Angie Hranowsky sits beside her home's original carved-wood stair railing.
Interior designer Angie Hranowsky sits beside her home's original carved-wood stair railing.
An antique ebony-stained credenza is complemented by a snakeskin-print bench.
An antique ebony-stained credenza is complemented by a snakeskin-print bench.

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.”

Warm details include a custom designed modular pine bookshelves and treasured flea market finds.
Warm details include a custom designed modular pine bookshelves and treasured flea market finds.
A Small Charleston Rental That Feels Like Home
Ten-year-old Loulou at the dining table with younger brother Sasha. 
Ten-year-old Loulou at the dining table with younger brother Sasha. 
Works by the kids are displayed in the dining nook alongside framed photographs and a minimalist light fixture.
Works by the kids are displayed in the dining nook alongside framed photographs and a minimalist light fixture.

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.”

Paint proves transformative in the dining area, where luminous lavender walls play off purple Danish chairs. A palette shift in everything from textiles to artwork conveys a serene mood in the master bedroom.
Paint proves transformative in the dining area, where luminous lavender walls play off purple Danish chairs. A palette shift in everything from textiles to artwork conveys a serene mood in the master bedroom.

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.

In the kids’ bedroom, pine shelving and a Brazilian cowhide rug provide texture against turquoise blue walls.
In the kids’ bedroom, pine shelving and a Brazilian cowhide rug provide texture against turquoise blue walls.
On Sasha’s bed, a tapestry from Urban Outfitters is a graphic counterpoint to a skull pillow and a wicker elephant side table.
On Sasha’s bed, a tapestry from Urban Outfitters is a graphic counterpoint to a skull pillow and a wicker elephant side table.
How to Make a Rental Home Your Own

Can’t pull off a top-to-bottom renovation? Read on for Hranowsky’s tips for making smaller changes count.

  • PAINT EVERYTHING YOU CAN,

    even the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Often it’s the most cost-effective way to transform your space."

  • CHANGE OUT THE LIGHT FIXTURES.

    “I replaced all the ceiling lights and fans with my own vintage pieces,” Hranowsky says.

  • INVEST IN WINDOW TREATMENTS.

    “You could even go with less-expensive rattan blinds,” she says, “or get creative and make simple drapes out of your favorite textile.”

  • HANG ARTWORK.

    “The right art is incredibly transformative,” she says. “Incorporating it is one of the most important elements of my design vision.”

  • ADD A NATURAL ELEMENT.

    A large freestanding plant or a well-placed vessel of cut flowers makes any space feel more inviting."

I'm the former Style Editor at Lonny.
Comments
Follow Us Everywhere