Sherrerd Hartness makes every inch count
Sherrerd Hartness has returned to her hometown of Columbia after raising a family in Greenville. In those three decades, she has found much about Columbia changed, yet much is the same familiar city.
Sherrerd searched with an open mind for just the right home, surprising even herself when she decided upon a condominium at The Heritage on Senate Street. What Sherrerd and others saw was a small, closed apartment with lots of concrete and a nice view. But Sherrerd, an interior designer and Allied Member of American Society of Interior Designers, had a vision for what would become her new home.
One of her sons, Blake, initially came to town to help move around all of her belongings to make room for the renovation project as she prepared to live through all the dust and changes. Many months later, he returned to visit and thought she had moved into a larger unit. Sherrerd, who has a sunny, upbeat personality, reacted with a victory sign; she had accomplished her goal of creating an open, spacious home.
As a result of the long awaited, beautifully finished renovation, the condominium’s front hallway leads to the open, rectangular kitchen, which features lovely, low-maintenance quartz countertops along two walls and an island in the middle. The backsplash is made of brick. “This is real brick, called thin brick,” Sherrerd says. “It’s basically a brick cut into three slices. After it was laid, we sealed it, so it is another easily maintained feature.” Old heart pine box beams run the width of the white ceiling. They meet and are secured by soffits in the same white paint finish. The effect is to add architectural interest that derives from the two levels of ceiling. Cozy golden brown cork flooring is in the living area.
Initially, a hallway from the kitchen led to the guest bedroom. Sherrerd recognized no hallway was needed in the 1,650-square-foot condo, so she transformed that area into more kitchen cabinets and a small bar that faces the comfortable sitting area around the corner. She also used some of that space to add bookshelves in the guest room.
Sherrerd grew up around beautiful antiques. Her parents, the late Isola and George Hartness, owned an antique shop called One Thousand Gervais. Sherrerd has inherited her parents’ eye for beautiful antiques, and her condominium is filled with a mixture of antique and contemporary art along with furnishings in perfect synergy. Various textures and finishes play off each other, providing interest from every perspective. “Mirrors, glass, fabrics, various types of wood, metals — I just love to mix it all up,” says Sherrerd. “I used cork flooring in the front hall, kitchen, and living room. Cork has a bit of spring to it, is insulating, and it helps with noise control, which I felt was very important now that I live in a building with multiple households. I certainly would not want my downstairs neighbor to have to hear me walking around!”
An example of this combination is Sherrerd’s elegant crystal chandelier, which sparkles just beyond the kitchen. It hangs between two exposed beams above the unassuming dining table and four rattan chairs. “Susan Boyd gave me these four chairs when she moved. She used them for extra seating when she had dinner parties, and with their wonderful texture, they are exactly what I was hoping to find for my space,” she says.
Chairs upholstered in lush green velvet add another pop to this dining area. An oil portrait of Marjorie Hinman Craft, as a child with her mother and their Pekingese dog, hangs in a gilded frame on the wall between two gold contemporary sconces. Marjorie (Bunny), Sherrerd’s godmother, gave Sherrerd the portrait when she was in college. Bunny’s husband, Jack Craft, was the first director of the Columbia Museum of Art. “My father was the founding president of the museum and went to Hagerstown, Maryland, to interview Dr. Craft for the position at the newly formed museum,” Sherrerd explains. “During the visit, Bunny and Jack told my father they had someone they wanted him to meet. On the next visit, Daddy was introduced to Isola Sherrerd ... and the rest is history!”
The sitting area and wet bar is just a zebra skin rug’s length away from the dining space. “The rug is decades old and from Donny Boyd’s first trip to Africa when he was in college. Listening to Donny’s stories of that trip were mesmerizing, and I think of him every day when I look at the rug!” says Sherrerd. The recessed bar is almost a room of its own due to the distinct zing of cobalt blue and the collection of oil paintings above and around it. The countertop displays more photos and artwork, so that the sink and small refrigerator are hardly noticeable.
A French chest with an ornate inlay of wheat, birds, and flowers is the focal point on the main wall on the other side of the wet bar. This chest is the first antique her mother ever bought. “When she lived in New York in her 20s, she fell in love with this chest and kept returning to the antique shop to look at it. The dealer saw how much she admired it and let her pay for the chest little by little. I love owning this special piece of furniture.”
A significant challenge of this remodel involved the numerous, protruding concrete pillars around the condominium. Sherrerd craftily hid them behind dummy cabinets (that connect to functioning ones) or by adding drywall to create a false wall. These and all the walls are a backdrop for Sherrerd’s vast collection of art, hung in groupings at various heights. She says, “I knew where the larger pieces of art would go, and then I had fun figuring out the rest. I would try things here and there and then decide.”
Sherrerd loves the outdoors, nature, and fresh air. She covered sliding doors around the condominium with 8-foot wooden shutters that also operate as doors. These doors open onto a balcony that wraps around the corner condominium on the west and south sides featuring a view of downtown Columbia. With all of her selections, Sherrerd was aiming for the feel of a French or Italian country house, and the shuttered doors that surround the outside walls go a long way toward achieving that goal.
Although guest bedrooms are important, in many cases they are rooms that are rarely used. Sherrerd came up with a way to utilize her guest bedroom daily. She staggered two single beds, also from Susan Boyd, against opposite walls. Bookshelves were built into the walls, including mounted lamps. Sherrerd says, “I got a little more blood out of the turnip by building shelves into the walls, and the bottom shelf on each side doubles as a bedside table.” Her desk is along another part of the wall, and she still has plenty of walk around space.
Sherrerd had admired a particular design of doors for a long time, and she jumped at the chance to include them in this home. These 8-foot carved doors flank the guest room, one side facing the living room and the other side opening into her own bedroom, so they can be closed for privacy and opened for flow and activity.
Usually these milled doors, featuring a gorgeous pattern of rectangles and circles, are open, lending a wide, gracious entry into the master bedroom. Along one wall to the right, Sherrerd had a closet and some shelving built, with identical milled doors offering a soothing continuity. Past the closet, another bedroom door opens into the foyer that leads to the front door.
On the left side of the room, sunlight streams from the balcony through the shuttered doors and plays with the neutral carpeting, which is 100 percent New Zealand Wool by Masland. Sherrerd carefully picked this carpeting out, as well as her brand of paints, because they are healthier than many alternatives. Sherrerd says, “We are bombarded with chemicals, and more and more people have sensitivities and allergies.” She is careful to use “low VOC paints” that release fewer volatile organic compounds, which emit toxins.
Above the bed is a scenic painting of a bank of azalea bushes. The artist is Clyde Aspevig, an artist Sherrerd’s parents got to know at the Artist of America Shows they attended in Denver. They admired Clyde’s Western landscapes and suggested he visit the Southeast and paint scenes from the beautiful Lowcountry. “My parents organized a show for him at One Thousand Gervais, and he gave them this painting as a thank you gift for the show and for helping him access private Charleston gardens,” says Sherrerd.
Sherrerd has always encouraged clients to make sure any remodeling they do is wheelchair accessible and as compliant with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act as possible. She points out that the term “universal design” is readily used to indicate building layouts that are accessible to older people or people with disabilities, but they are also aesthetically pleasing for those who don’t need this function.
She put this principle of universal design into practice in her condominium with the wide French doors as well as her master bath. When Sherrerd bought the apartment, the bathroom was small and disordered. She noticed that her entrance hallway had a coat closet, and she realized she could use that space in the remodel to create a roomy shower with a bench and easy access shower doors. Large porcelain tiles with the look of marble but the durability inherent to porcelain tile grace the walls, and a tile mosaic is on the shower floor. “I figured I don’t need a coat closet in Columbia,” Sherrerd says, “and when friends come over, they just toss their coats on the end of the bed … like the old days.”
The new ventilation for the bathroom, as well as other pipes and the HVAC, were routed above the entrance ceiling and back behind the hall wall. Though Sherrerd lost storage space when she gave up the coat closet, she did find some empty space along the entry hall, below the pipes and vents, for more storage. “It wasn’t big enough for a chest, so I had shallow shelves put in. It was all a part of figuring out my storage in different ways.”
Sherrerd enjoys her frequent visitors, many of whom she has known since kindergarten. She says, “This location is great. The university, the Horseshoe, downtown, and Five Points are all right here. I love it when a friend just stops by on the way home from work.”
The condominium on Senate Street has become Sherrerd’s new home sweet home. “Home should be a place where your shoulders drop two inches in relaxation, and you enjoy everywhere your eyes light,” she maintains.