Our third stop on the #ShowOnTheRoadMG tour brings us to Charleston, South Carolina. Situated on the beautiful intercoastal waterways of the Atlantic, Charleston, a city steeped in rich culture and history, is the oldest city in South Carolina and is home to some of the most well-preserved architecture in the country. Its homes are bright and colorful, and the shops on the main drag [King St] are full of character. Charleston is the perfect blend of southern charm and coastal beach town. A foodie’s paradise, Charleston’s restaurant scene has exploded over the past few years and is home to many highly acclaimed establishments that will please any palate.
Bursting with character, our showroom is located in a 100-year-old cotton manufacturing plant turned cigar factory, aptly named the Cigar Factory. Since its origins in the late 1800’s, the building has undergone a number of different transformations. It currently houses creative work and office spaces, signature restaurants, event spaces, high-end retail and, of course, our showroom Fritz Porter.
Fritz Porter is a haven for inspired, beautiful and interesting objects that embody a unique spirit and redefine interior experiences. Sarah Hamlin, the owner, explains it this way, “It is a carefully curated antique center, representing 15 different dealers with styles ranging from flea market chic to museum quality classics. It is an art gallery where one can find original pieces by contemporary artists ranging in style from pastoral impressionism to surreal and abstract. It is a fabric and furniture showroom that offers a stellar selection of boutique lines that are not found anywhere else in the Southeast. It is a perfect place to find those one-of-a-kind gifts be it a bauble, a bottle opener, or a book.” Moore & Giles launched our showroom inside this design collective in 2016 and we have felt at home ever since.
We sat down with the lady behind Fritz Porter to talk about all things design, leather and Charleston.
Describe the concept behind Fritz Porter.
I think the best way to describe it is by calling it a ‘hybrid’. It’s part antique center, where we’ve got different aesthetics, styles, periods of antiques and one-of-a-kind furniture and accessories represented. I found what we were really lacking in Charleston was a resource for designers. So, we started bringing in custom lines: fabrics, rugs, lighting, wallpaper, furniture and more boutique brands that are made to order as opposed to cash and carry. It’s one-stop-shopping. Customers can pick and choose pieces that highlight both old and new, which is becoming a lost art. As people start doing the cookie-cutter, mass-produced catalog shopping…it’s important to see and touch and feel and sit and really live with something before you commit to a custom made piece. This gives designers a place to bring their clients to educate and understand the story behind each of the lines we carry.
When was Fritz Porter founded?
Just 18 months ago! I was a designer, working for myself in here in Charleston, and it was making me crazy that I had to go to Atlanta to get anything. My brother was one of the developers of the building and so I got involved designing the interiors and public spaces here in the Cigar Factory. I got to know this building really well and just fell in love with it. I realized, ok–you’ve got a historic building in downtown Charleston [with parking!] and a light-bulb went off. I thought, what a perfect space to have a design showroom! There was plenty of space in a beautiful setting, raw and full of potential.
How were you first introduced to Moore & Giles?
I worked in New York as a designer, so I knew about Moore & Giles from being in the design world and working in the field for years. I knew it as one of the better leather brands on the market. I was re-introduced to it when I came back to Charleston. I was working on a project, sourcing leather for a client and found the perfect Moore & Giles leather in the perfect color for this particular job. It was exactly what I was looking for!
What is it about leather that you are drawn to?
Two things: I think the fact that it is a byproduct of another industry is very appealing. I love the sustainability aspect of it. I can’t stand wasting things, I love that you can take something that would otherwise be thrown away and turn it into something beautiful is so great. Secondly, there’s something very natural about it. We’ve gotten into so much machine made and manufactured things these days, so the fact that leather feels so natural is appealing. Leather tells the story of each piece that it covers. The way that it ages is so nice.
While you’re in town, we selected a few of our favorite local spots to enjoy a coffee, cocktail or bite to eat:
Located in Historic Downtown Charleston, this James Beard Award-winning restaurant by Sean Brock elevates Southern food to new and unexplored levels. According to Husk, “The kitchen reinterprets the bounty of the surrounding area, exploring an ingredient-driven cuisine that begins in the rediscovery of heirloom products and redefines what it means to cook and eat in Charleston.”
Leon’s Oyster Shop, named one of Southern Living’s “Best Restaurants in the South”, is the brainchild of Brooks Reitz [founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.] and is one of those places that cannot be missed. Its menu features a full selection fresh oysters from around the country. If you’re looking for a place to relax outside with a delicious drink in hand, this is the place. We recommend the rosé slushie!
Located in one of Charleston’s picturesque historic homes, Hominy Grill has been serving up southern fare since 1996. A Charleston landmark, Hominy Grill is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner–but we recommend the weekend brunch, that is, if you can snag a table at this local hot spot.
Brothers & Craft
During our visit, we were able to catch up with some longtime friends from Charleston. Brothers & Craft is an online editorial brand focused on style and craftsmanship, and their main purpose is to spotlight good style and hard work, foster creativity, and to share some amazing stories. Whether it’s telling some of their own or discovering someone else’s. We have done collaborations with these brothers in the past and look forward to more work with them in the days ahead.