It’s no secret that I adore old homes. Whenever I stroll by a grand old home, I get the chills just thinking about all the mysteries and family histories that have taken place within those thickly plastered walls. I’ve walked the streets of Savannah, Charleston, and the Garden District of New Orleans until I was so tired, I couldn’t think straight. And still I never get enough.
The architecture, the extraordinary details, and the pure magic that historic homes possess leave me in a state of awe. Below are photographs of some of the homes that inspired the creation of Aunt Tootie’s world in my novel.
This home in Savannah boasts an incredible staircase.
The graceful curves of the hand-forged ironwork railings and balustrades are breathtaking.
This mansion on Whittaker (in Savannah) is one of my favorites. I sat
across the street in Forsyth Park and soaked up every detail. The demilune
front porch is enough to break your heart.
And speaking of Forsyth Park, this picture captures the majestic
living canopy of the live oaks that arch over the main entrance promenade.
Whenever I look at this picture, I imagine little CeeCee wandering around the fountain as
she ponders the events that have forever changed her life.
When I saw this multi-tiered porch on a grand old home in Charleston, I about flipped.
It looks like a lavish wedding cake! Can you imagine what it would be like
to sit up on the top level, sipping sweet tea while watching the world go by?
This is the Kehoe house, one of the many must-see beauties in Savannah.
Built in 1892, it’s a stunning Renaissance Revival mansion which
is now an elegant bed & breakfast. The richly-detailed Corinthian columns
that grace the front entrance are are made of cast iron!
No trip to Savannah is complete without a visit to the Mercer-Williams House. Lovingly rehabilitated by the late Jim Williams (an antiques dealer portrayed in the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt), the Mercer House is an enormous mansion that goes on and on and on. Though much of Mr. Williams’ fabulously tasteful furnishings, art, and accessories have been removed from the home, it’s still well worth taking a tour of this grand old mansion that’s so rich with history, mystery, and fame. Look closely at the scale of the double front doors in relation to the pillars, and then you’ll get an idea of how enormous this home is!
I took this photograph of a ceiling in Drayton Hall. Located in the low country not far from Charleston, S.C., it was built by John Drayton (construction began in 1738 and was completed in 1742). Drayton Hall is the only plantation home along the banks of the Ashley River to survive the ravages of the Civil War. Famous for its Palladian architecture, there are many details in Drayton Hall that are stunning. I found this ceiling to be the epitome of masterful craftsmanship. Carved by hand while the thick plaster was still semi-wet, it remains in astonishingly beautiful condition.