The Charleston Symphony Orchestra League, Inc. Announces its 43rd Annual Symphony Designer Showhouse

Press Release

The historic Fitch-Rivers House will be featured as the 43rd annual Charleston Symphony Orchestra League, Inc. (CSOL®) Symphony Designer Showhouse. Opening March 19th, 2020 the house will display 3 levels of exquisite spaces presented by local interior designers. All proceeds benefit the Charleston Symphony and fund CSOL Music Scholarships.

The Fitch-Rivers House was constructed circa 1883 as a classical Charleston Single house in historic Radcliffeborough. The property was previously owned by the Lucas family, rice planters who built the West Point Rice Mill on the Ashley River. Noteworthy occupants of 184 Ashley include Augustus Fitch and John Rivers.

The Queen Anne Victorian home at 184 Ashley Avenue has been a traditional bed and breakfast since the 1980's. Now re-branded as the Bee & Blossom, it will continue to operate as a B&B, and will also be available occasionally as a whole house rental for wedding parties and other groups.

"I am thrilled and grateful to have these wonderfully talented designers contributing to the vision of the Bee & Blossom," Ana Rincon, the current owner, said. "I'm also gratified that the effort benefits the CSOL, which is such an important piece of Charleston's cultural landscape. It's truly a win-win for all of us."

The CSOL Symphony Designer Showhouse ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 6 pm on Wednesday, March 18th, 2020, prior to the black tie optional Preview Party. Music by the Charleston Symphony Brass Ensemble begins at 5:45 pm. The Showhouse will be open daily starting Thursday, March 19th, 2020 (closed Easter Sunday).

The designers have curated a selection of exquisite furnishings. Most of these unique pieces will be available for purchase starting at the Preview Party on March 18th and throughout the Symphony Designer Showhouse until April 19th. This is an exceptional opportunity to acquire items typically only available to the trade at a very special price. In addition, the Showhouse features our immensely popular SCORE Pop-Up Shop, featuring an exclusive selection of specially curated items which are also for sale.

House and SCORE hours are 10 am to 4 pm Monday through Saturday and 1 pm to 4 pm on Sunday. Lunch will be served in the Garden Café Monday through Friday 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. New this year are a wine bar with hearty snacks Thursday through Saturday 11:30 am to 4 pm and a Saturday brunch prepared by Chef Vince Dodson, Historical Dining Personal Chef & Plate Artist, 11 am to 1:30 pm. Online reservations for brunch are suggested. Be sure to check the website for details on this and other special events at SCORE and the Café throughout the month.

Advance tickets to the house are available online through March 18th, 2020 for $25 each at www.csolinc.org. House tour tickets will be available at the door beginning March 19th, 2020 for $30 each. Tickets include access to all rooms. SCORE and the Café do not require a ticket. Specially priced combination house tour-Saturday brunch tickets are available online for $50. Saturday brunch alone is $30 without reservation, subject to availability. Children 10 and older are admitted with a ticket when accompanied by an adult. Tickets to the March 18th Preview Party will be available online. For more information on the CSOL Symphony Designer Showhouse and for announcements of special events such as trunk shows and presentations, visit www.csolinc.org.

The designers are as follows:

  • Caroline deVlaming Farrior, deVlaming Design, Inc.
  • Bobbi Jo Engelby, Domain Interiors by Bobbi Jo Engelby
  • Sandra Ericksen, Sandra Ericksen Design
  • Alexandre Fleuren, Alexandre Fleuren Interiors
  • Linda Greenberg, Linda Greenberg Landscape & Design
  • Wendy Hoover, designapple home
  • Alexandra Howard, Alexandra Howard, Inc.
  • Heidi Huddleston, CKD, Delicious Kitchens & Interiors, LLC
  • Allyson Kirkpatrick, AllysonK Designs
  • Lauren Messina, Lauren Messina Interior Design
  • T. Phillips, Latitude Design Group LLC
  • Terry Stephenson, Juxtaposition Home & Garden
  • Emily Morrison Wood, Emily M. Wood Interiors

About the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League, Inc.

The CSOL is a multi-talented group of more than 270 dedicated volunteers whose purpose is to support the Charleston Symphony, encourage talented young musicians and inspire classical music lovers for generations to come. The CSOL is the largest institutional donor to the Symphony, providing over $185,000 last year. The annual Symphony Designer Showhouse is the League’s largest fundraiser. For more than 50 years the CSOL has actively supported music education and funding for the arts, donating more than $33,000 last year to music scholarships and grants in the Lowcountry.

In addition to the Symphony Designer Showhouse, the CSOL is conducting a car raffle featuring a beautiful 2020 Volvo XC60 T5 Momentum FWD. The winner will be drawn at a special concert by members of the Charleston Symphony Brass. The date, time and location of the drawing will be announced later. You do not need to be present to win. Sponsorships are available at the Showhouse and online.

All proceeds benefit the Charleston Symphony and CSOL Music Scholarships.

About 184 Ashley Avenue

 The Fitch-Rivers House combines the classic Charleston Single structure with a Queen Anne Victorian style, typical of the period. Queen Anne design elements include the prominent, two- story bay window on the Ashley Avenue façade, with three-wood sash windows in a two-over- two grille pattern on each story, and flush paneling laid in a diamond pattern on the spandrel beneath each row of windows. The beautiful south facing piazzas also have Queen Anne features, most notable the bowed or curved profile on each story, accessed by French doors.

The interior of the house features a modified single house plan, as there is a side hall with an entry foyer rather than the typical central hall. The main stair has the original pine treads, and there is historic flooring throughout the house. Most rooms have historic mantels of various styles; some are Adam-style or delicate neoclassical, while others are more Victorian and eclectic. Most of the rooms, as well as the upstairs garret, feature modern bathrooms, reflecting the house’s use as an inn. The rear section has a simple staircase with square balustrades, providing additional access to the upstairs areas.

The first owner was Augustus Fitch, a clerk and later bookkeeper for WP Holmes and Company. He sold the house to John Rivers, who was responsible for the beautiful Victorian style updates to the house. Rivers was a prominent cotton merchant and President of the Charleston Cotton Exchange. During the latter 20th century the house was frequently used as a bed and breakfast, known at various times as the Old Towne Inn and Cannonboro Inn. When the 2020 Symphony Designer Showhouse closes, the house will be reopened as the Bee & Blossom Bed & Breakfast.

The house is generously provided by Ana Rincon.

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