Situated on a double lot with enviable frontage along two of Charleston's most beautiful historic streets, Meeting and South Battery, the Carrington-Carr House enjoys sweeping views of White Point Garden and the Battery. Its distinctive Queen Anne detailing eschews traditional straight lines and flat interior walls, and instead features fish-scaled turrets, multiple roof lines, bay windows, and a curved piazza supported by double-columned arches, making it one of Charleston's most beautiful Victorian residences.
Its history is also among the city's most romantic tales. As a wedding gift to his daughter, wealthy Charleston banker and former Civil War blockade runner George W. Williams, who lived several houses north at 16 Meeting Street, presented Martha and her new husband, jeweler Waring P. Carrington, with a $75,000 check pinned to a rose-colored pillow with which to build the new house not far from his own. (Williams liked to keep his children close; his son lived directly across the street from him.) In 1907, the Carringtons donated the beautiful bandstand in White Point Garden to the city in honor of Mr. Williams. They would sit upon their Victorian piazza to catch the Southern breezes while enjoying Sunday afternoon concerts there.
The house remained in the Carrington family until 1946, when Mrs. John H. (nee Minnie Spell) Carr, who lived across the street in the Ross Mansion at 1 Meeting Street, bought it. She brought a number of fine furnishings from the Ross Mansion to her new home here, including matched brass chandeliers that are still in the parlor and dining room.
Today, the Carrington-Carr House serves as Two Meeting Street Inn, an upscale bed-and-breakfast which has been managed for several generations by the Spell family, relatives of Mrs. Carr.
From its Meeting Street, one enters the foyer, which features eight-foot panelled walls of carved English oak. The beauty of this wood continues in the fine balustrade that rises from the stairhall to the second floor, as well as in its mantelpiece. The location of the mirrored mantle allows someone on the first floor to see someone on the second floor, and vice versa.
The foyer's ceiling also features English oak, as does the other principal rooms of the first floor. Using wood in ceilings became popular in Charleston when, just four years before this house was built, the largest earthquake ever to strike the East Coast rained heavy chunks of plaster down upon the heads of many Charleston residents. Likewise Hurricane Hugo in 1989 caused the plaster ceilings of the house's second floor to fall, causing significant damage.
The foyer's chandelier, which originally operated with gas, is made of Czechoslovakian cut crystral made by the same company that designed the beveled glass in the front door and transom. A traditional inglenook to the foyer's left provides a sheltered niche and fireplace where guests could warm themselves and discard their damp clothes and shoes.
The first floor parlor and dining room feature the irregular shapes of the Queen Anne style, and their bay windows feature curved glass. Stained glass windows bathe these rooms in warm colors with each morning's sunrise. An original hand-carved oak cupboard remains in the dining room.
The beauty of the house is complimented by an equally beautiful garden, most recently designed by contemporary Charleston landscape architect Robert Chesnut. Curved brick walkways lead strollers among century-old live and water oaks. Other plantings include popular Charleston standards: azealeas, dogwoods, "Kwanzan" cherry trees and sweet-smelling tea olives.