A New Home In A Historic S.C. District Pays Tribute To Southern Tradition


Entryway with stairwell and white...

Homeowners and designers Tom Bossard and Len Cherry have a penchant for collections, which are on display throughout their Aiken, South Carolina home. In the entryway, French wine jug baskets from Scott Antique Markets in Atlanta are gathered beneath a circa-1890 sideboard. An Italian sunburst clock from Charlotte’s LaDonna Antiques & Interiors hangs above a bust of Pope Pius IX on an English pine Neoclassical column from Bungalow Classic in Atlanta.

Living room with white walls,...

The couple wanted the living room to feel inherently Southern, so they worked with general contractor Eric Martin to add a whitewashed cypress coffered ceiling and shiplap paneling, details softened by draperies of Kravet’s Habeas cotton. Suzanne Kasler’s Michele chandelier for Circa Lighting shines on velvet bergère chairs from Atlanta’s Parc Monceau and an 18th-century French commode from Birmingham’s Lolo French Antiques et More.

Kitchen with vaulted ceiling, pair...

In the kitchen, Circa Lighting lanterns from Darnell & Company in Charlotte illuminate a Calacatta Caldia marble island painted the same shade as the service area. A lamp made from an antique whiskey barrel, from The Lamp Shoppe in Atlanta, adds whimsy beneath antique game plaques from York Cottage Antiques and groupings of 18th-century blue Canton porcelain. The Northfleet counter stools are by Everly Quinn.

A kitchen service area featuring...

Farrow & Ball’s Light Blue swaths the poplar-topped custom cabinetry in the service area—a subtle contrast to Schumacher’s Prescott Diamond wallpaper. Complementing a trio of 18th-century blue Canton plates, Roman shades fabricated from a simple Kravet white linen wear accents of Brunschwig & Fils’ Digby’s Tent textile in Moroccan blue. Brass hardware adds a dose of modernity.

Room with green walls, bookshelves,...

The couple’s cozy den showcases several pieces from their favorite collections: Staffordshire dog figurines, blue-and-white porcelain ginger jars and sportive paintings in ornate frames. Atop an antique French farm table from Scott Antique Markets in Atlanta, a 1790 fragment of a French carousel serves as an equine centerpiece. The vintage resin tortoiseshell sconces are from Parc Monceau, also in Atlanta.

Green library with leather chairs...

A departure from the home’s mostly cool, neutral palette, the den feels cozy in Farrow & Ball’s Bancha Green. The room’s clubby leather accents include nailhead-trimmed armchairs by CR Laine Furniture and an ottoman by Charles Stewart. Beneath Alexa Hampton-designed picture lights for Circa Lighting, a Hickory Chair sofa from A. Hoke Ltd. in Charlotte tucks into a wall of builtins. The animal-print rug is by Stark.

Bathroom with two-tiered painted cabinet,...

In the master bathroom, an antique Swedish armoire from LaDonna Antiques & Interiors rests on Carrara marble floor tiles. Staffordshire dog figurines from Scott Antique Markets act as playful accents in concert with etchings of European churches from York Cottage Antiques and French caned side chairs from Foxglove Antiques & Galleries. The door dons Farrow & Ball’s Railings paint.

Bedroom with light neutral walls,...

To create a relaxing oasis for visitors, the couple kept this guest bedroom intentionally serene, achieved with Farrow & Ball’s Elephant’s Breath walls. This soft color is enhanced by Roman shades in a Dogwood Fabrics embroidered linen, Matouk bedding and Euro shams made from antique French linen. The iron canopy bed, whose bed skirt dons a windowpane-patterned fabric by Sweetbriar Textiles, was found at a local estate sale.

House exterior, porch, garden paths,...

Some of the home’s Southern architectural flourishes include a roof with exposed rafter tails and an extended side porch that connects that home’s two primary volumes. In the side yard beyond it, a brick-bordered pea gravel path meanders around azalea bushes that provide spring color in the garden now; but soon, Cherry plans to replace them with manicured boxwood parterres.

Porch with blue shutters

In keeping with traditional Lowcountry style, the porch ceiling wears a variation of haint blue—Farrow & Ball’s Skylight. Although the home is new, the couple wanted its architectural details to feel as though they were plucked from the 19th century, so they accented its exterior with The CopperSmith’s Market Street lanterns and Boston ferns potted in rusted iron urns. The shutters don Farrow & Ball’s De Nimes. Sunset West’s Provence iron armchairs are from The Furniture Connection.

Building their own home from scratch was fresh territory for designers Tom Bossard and Len Cherry. Over the past two decades, the couple had renovated approximately 15 historic properties around the Southeast, a majority of them concentrated in the small town of Aiken, South Carolina, they currently call home. Situated about 20 miles from the Savannah River, it’s a place defined by its collective passion for history, antiquing and equestrian games. 

The duo’s rehabbing endeavors in the area have included transforming a rustic carriage barn and stable into a modern-day stunner, restoring an in-town Victorian and bringing an aging farmhouse in the country back to life. So, selecting a spot to build in the town’s historic district—a corner lot framed by towering pines—was cause for excitement. “Being able to choose everything ourselves from the very beginning was thrilling,” says Tom who, with Len, previously owned a weekend home in Charleston and has a long-held affinity for the Lowcountry. 

“I went to boarding school on the coast of Georgia, where there were a lot of old structures,” Len chimes, adding that he and Tom hoped to channel the area’s classic vernacular. “While we don’t love the formality of a traditional Southern home, we both knew we wanted the telltale architectural details of one: open-tail rafters on the exterior, a front porch deep enough for sitting, a side porch for privacy and high, peaked ceilings.” 

Consulting with residential designer Karl Splan, the designers were able to institute all of these features—and then some. Tweaking plans authored by Moser Design Group, they opened up the home’s public spaces for a more casual flow. Rustic white-oak floors lined with imperfect knots, shiplap walls and whitewashed pecky cypress on ceilings provided the foundation for the decorative layer. To contrast the living room’s coffered effect, the couple selected a vaulted style for the kitchen and den—only to be derailed by engineering issues. Thankfully, “it was general contractor Eric Martin who figured out how to make it work, along with the very specific style of staircase we wanted,” Tom explains. “With so many aspects of the house, Eric was amazing at taking a photo or concept we liked and bringing it to fruition.” 

Blue-gray shutters and a white-picket fence help the residence mesh effortlessly with its historic neighbors—an achievement that came naturally to the couple, considering Len served on Aiken’s Design Review Board for several years prior. Says Len: “I instinctively knew what we’d need to do for the home to be approved.” 

Inside, the pair warmed up a predominantly white backdrop with items of substance: brown wood furniture, Chinese Chippendale mirrors, gilt frames and supple leathers. “Most pieces we’ve had for years,” notes Tom, adding that their only new purchases were upholstery. “We’ve moved things from house to house, but just style them differently.” 

Combining a lifetime of belongings also led to these layered results. While Len has rarely strayed from the South, Tom spent many years on the move, living and working in Georgia, Colorado and New York, infusing his taste with cosmopolitan flair. Coming to Aiken nearly 25 years ago kindled his love for the sporting life. 

Memorabilia throughout the home—silver and bronze statuary, framed portraits of hunting dogs, and oil paintings of pastoral meadows and country roads—speaks to this pastime, along with a habit oft-considered quintessentially Southern: amassing collections. The couple’s assortment includes Chinese Tang pottery, Staffordshire figurines and blue-and-white of every stripe: Delft, Ming, French faience and Chinese blue Canton. 

Thanks to Len, most of these pieces are on view—to the occasional chagrin of Tom, who prefers a more streamlined look. “If one day I take something off a bookshelf, the next day, Len will put it back,” jokes the designer, who made up the difference by choosing bolder hues, such as moss green for the study and strokes of azalea red in a guest bedroom. 

Azaleas, for that matter, were another contribution of Len, who laid out the plans for the landscape. But since a labor of love is never complete, he and Tom haven’t resisted the urge to tweak. Already, Len is preparing to swap out those flowering hedges—an old standby for the Southern heat—for something more akin to a European boxwood parterre. “We love the process of renovating or transforming a home,” Len says. “But once the process is done, the last picture is hung and the last shrub is planted, we’re usually ready to move on.” This time, it seems, they might just stay longer.