Raise High the Roof Beams

written by:
photos by:
August 29, 2011
Originally published in Made in the USA

Creative bartering and a healthy dose of sweat equity allowed a young Charleston couple to transform a derelict 19th-century structure into an inspired living space.

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  In the 141 Spring Street project, resident Josh Nissenboim prepares food in the kitchen. The countertop is Carrera marble, chosen because for its lightness and ability to wear in naturally. He and his wife, Helen, keep cooking staples within easy reach on simple shelving. By sticking with the most basic essentials, the shelves are open and spacious rather than overly stacked.

    In the 141 Spring Street project, resident Josh Nissenboim prepares food in the kitchen. The countertop is Carrera marble, chosen because for its lightness and ability to wear in naturally. He and his wife, Helen, keep cooking staples within easy reach on simple shelving. By sticking with the most basic essentials, the shelves are open and spacious rather than overly stacked.

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  Josh Nissenboim prepares food in the kitchen. The countertop is Carrera marble, chosen because for its lightness and ability to wear in naturally.
    Josh Nissenboim prepares food in the kitchen. The countertop is Carrera marble, chosen because for its lightness and ability to wear in naturally.
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  Helen Nissenboim washes produce at the sink, which, along with the faucet, is made by Vigo and sourced from Overstock.com.
    Helen Nissenboim washes produce at the sink, which, along with the faucet, is made by Vigo and sourced from Overstock.com.
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  The pair purchased their vintage farmhouse table from a now-defunct secondhand shop in downtown Charleston.
    The pair purchased their vintage farmhouse table from a now-defunct secondhand shop in downtown Charleston.
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  The trio of pendant lamps hanging above the counter came from Schoolhouse Electric Co. and were reworked by Peyton Avrett to fit the width of the header beam to which they are attached. The bar stools were gifted from a friend.
    The trio of pendant lamps hanging above the counter came from Schoolhouse Electric Co. and were reworked by Peyton Avrett to fit the width of the header beam to which they are attached. The bar stools were gifted from a friend.
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  The ladder, created by Peyton Avrett, is an unorthodox way to the upstairs, and it also serves as a fire escape since the house only has one stairwell.
    The ladder, created by Peyton Avrett, is an unorthodox way to the upstairs, and it also serves as a fire escape since the house only has one stairwell.
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  An aperture in the floor of the master bedroom leads down to a sitting room via a ladder.
    An aperture in the floor of the master bedroom leads down to a sitting room via a ladder.
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  The master bedroom. The coverlet is from Urban Outfitters. The painting is by Helen Rice.
    The master bedroom. The coverlet is from Urban Outfitters. The painting is by Helen Rice.
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  It was important to Rice and Nissenboim to find a house with a large yard. They worked with Remark Landscape Architecture to remove three large hackberry trees to make way for a vegetable garden, while three citrus trees on the western line of the property produce oranges and lemons.
    It was important to Rice and Nissenboim to find a house with a large yard. They worked with Remark Landscape Architecture to remove three large hackberry trees to make way for a vegetable garden, while three citrus trees on the western line of the property produce oranges and lemons.
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  Helen and Josh in their back yard, next to the concrete pavers they poured themselves.
    Helen and Josh in their back yard, next to the concrete pavers they poured themselves.
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  The couple grows a plethora of fruits and vegetables in their large back yard.
    The couple grows a plethora of fruits and vegetables in their large back yard.
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  Patio furniture from CB2.
    Patio furniture from CB2.
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  The nineteenth-century structure is commonly known as a classic "Charleston single".
    The nineteenth-century structure is commonly known as a classic "Charleston single".
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  One of six fireplaces in the Rice and Nissenboim residence. The pair have plan to rehabilitate all of them to working order eventually.
    One of six fireplaces in the Rice and Nissenboim residence. The pair have plan to rehabilitate all of them to working order eventually.
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  Rice and Nissenboim found the mirror atop the fireplace along the side of the road.
    Rice and Nissenboim found the mirror atop the fireplace along the side of the road.
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  The couple plans on relining the flues this winter, but in the meantime the mantels serve as much needed horizontal space.
    The couple plans on relining the flues this winter, but in the meantime the mantels serve as much needed horizontal space.
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  Josh Nissenboim and Helen Rice inside Fuzzco, their design firm, Fuzzco, headquartered just down the street.
    Josh Nissenboim and Helen Rice inside Fuzzco, their design firm, Fuzzco, headquartered just down the street.
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  The 1,200-square-foot building, which at one time or another has been a church, laundromat, ice cream parlor, and hat shop was renovated by Thompson Young Design.
    The 1,200-square-foot building, which at one time or another has been a church, laundromat, ice cream parlor, and hat shop was renovated by Thompson Young Design.
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