How to speak Charleston

Here in Charleston, we have a very distinct dialect that can be quite confusing to our visitors.  You may have found yourself looking at different downtown Charleston street names and thinking “How in the world do I pronounce that?” Well don’t worry, you aren’t the only one.  Here’s a quick cheat sheet on how to pronounce some of those pesky names as well as some fun facts…


Barre – BARE • ree
Isaac Barre was an Irishman who later become a prominent member of Parliament and ally to the American colonists. He has several streets named after him all along the east coast as well as the town of Barre, Massachusetts and the city of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Beaufain – BYOU • fain
Hector Berenger De Beaufain was a Frenchman who moved to Charleston in 1733 and would later become Collector of Customs in Charleston.

Clemson – CLEMP • sun, CLEM • sun
Thomas Green Clemson, was a diplomat, an agriculturalist and a mining engineer.  He was also married to the daughter of John C. Calhoun.  When he passed away in 1888, he left most of his estate to be used to establish a college that would teach scientific agriculture and the mechanical arts and that led to the present day Clemson University.   So don’t let the ESPN commentators fool you – there is no Z in Clemson

Guignard – GIN • yard, GIN • yurd
The Guignard family emigrated to Charleston from France around 1737.  They later moved to Lexington county where they established different businesses and were prominent members of their community.

Hasell – HAY• zul
Hasell Street was one of the many streets destroyed during the Great Fire of 1838.

Huger – u • GEE
Brig. Gen. Isaac Huger fought in the Cherokee War and the American Revolution.  He later served in the SC Senate and the House of Representatives.

Legare – luh • GREE
You will find one of Charleston’s most historic mansions on Legare Street.  32 Legare to be exact and most Charlestonians know this as The Sword Gate House.  Solomon Legare originally built the Sword Gate House and is the man for whom Legare Street is named.  (Currently the Sword Gate House is on the market for merely $17,500,000!)

Moultrie – MOOL • tree
Col. William Moultrie commanded Fort Sullivan (now Fort Moultrie) during the Revolutionary War.

Prioleau – PRAY • low
Samuel Prioleau was a lawyer who served as the 26th mayor of Charleston from 1824-1825.

Sans Souci – san • SOO • see
Sans Souci (also known as Sans Souci on the Ashley) was a 300 acre plantation in this area of present day downtown Charleston.  Sans Souci is a French phrase that translates to “without concern”

Vanderhorst – VAN • der • HORST, VAN • dross
The Vanderhorst family was established in South Carolina towards the end of the 17th century by Baron Johannes Van Der Horst, a Dutch army officer.


Want to learn more pronunciations?  Visit SCIWAY for a more detailed list.



Upcoming Holiday Events in Charleston

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Hopefully you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving because now Christmas is in full swing here in the Holy City.  From parades to Christmas lights to holiday art performances, Charleston has no shortage of holiday festivities for the entire family to enjoy.


Holiday Parade of Boats December 9th 5-8pm
Another beloved Lowcountry tradition, the Holiday Parade of Boats offers a dazzling display of lights as boats decorated for the season sail past the viewing docks.
Part of the fun is attending the parade’s official viewing party! Located at the Charleston Maritime Center, guests can snack on festive foods and listen as their favorite holiday carols fill the air.

28th Annual Holiday Festival of Lights – November 10th – January 1st
Annual Holiday Festival of Lights is held at James Island County Park, the event is known for its three miles of stunning, multicolored light displays, and it has been named one of the “10 Best Holiday Light Shows in America” by USA Today.

The festival is more than just a driving tour; the Holiday Festival of Lights organizers welcome visitors to park their cars and explore the large, decorated walking path, visiting shops and partaking in holiday activities along the way.

The event runs from November 10th to January 1st, giving you ample opportunities to experience a magical evening that will create cherished memories for years to come.

A Christmas Carol –  Nov. 29 – Dec. 20
Presented at the historic Dock Street Theatre, the Charleston Stage brings the critically acclaimed musical adaption of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale to life this year. Prepare to be dazzled by colorful costumes, a live orchestra, and a professional cast that will help you ring in the holidays.

A Christmas Story, The Musical –  Dec. 22 – 24
Laugh along with the entire family with the hilarious tale of Ralphie Parker’s desperate quest to get an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. Directed by Tony Award winner John Rando, this new Broadway musical will be coming to the North Charleston Performing Arts Center just in time for Christmas.

Holiday Strings –  Dec. 13
The Charleston Symphony Orchestra (SCO) string quartet is sure to get you into the holiday spirit with Holiday Strings, a performance featuring your favorite holiday tunes. Held at the historic Charleston Library Society on King Street, don’t miss your chance to mingle with the musicians at the reception following the concert.


New Years Eve:

New Years Eve at the Wentworth Mansion, Dec 29-Jan 3:
Enjoy 4 days/3 nights in one of Charleston’s most luxurious hotels.  On New Years Eve, guests will enjoy a festive and romantic six-course, prix fixe dinner at our Circa 1886 Restaurant, rounded out with two complimentary glasses of champagne. Return to your room and ring in the New Year with a bottle of champagne.

Snyder Grand Ball:
This black tie optional event features an open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres and a champagne toast at midnight.  It’s a great way to enjoy live music and ring in the new year.

New Year’s Eve Dinner Cruise:
Celebrate the New Year with style aboard the SpiritLine Dinner Cruise. Executive Chef, Shawn Eustace, will prepare an exquisite four course dinner that is sure to delight, served by an attentive wait staff, eager to make your experience exceptional.

A Decadent New Year’s Eve Party:
Join  Zero Restaurant + Bar at their annual New Year’s Eve party.  Champagne, caviar, and heavy hors d’oevours will be provided, courtesy of Executive Chef Vinson Petrillo. The evening will feature live entertainment by the Gatsby Gang Jazz Band.


I hope you and your family have a wonderful season and cheers to 2018!


The Story of Poinsett Street: Part 3

It’s here! It’s here! It’s actually here!  Poinsett Street is on the market! After a long, obstacle filled road, the house is finished and I must say that it far exceeded expectations.  Everything from the fireplaces, to the staircase, to the mixture of new and old, this really is a one of a kind home.  Let us not forget the mother-in-law suite behind the main house.  There are so many options for it:  office, art studio, rental house , guest house, or you could tear it down for more space in the backyard.  So many possibilities!  You know what else is great about this house?  OFF STREET PARKING!  And yes, that needs to be in all caps because off street parking in downtown Charleston is a major plus.

The final stats:
Main house – 4 bedrooms, 3 (full) bathrooms, 1,680 square feet
Mother-in-law suite can accommodate a kitchen, bathroom and living area, 360 square feet

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to see the transformation : Poinsett St Day 1


Poinsett front

WOW! What a difference!  I am beyond proud to have been a part of this project.  As a born and bred Charleston girl, I love seeing parts of my hometown be brought back to life.  And if you’ve ever wondered what historic preservation is, then this house is the perfect example.

To see the rest of the photos from 40 Poinsett St, click HERE.  Then you should call me for a showing because this gorgeous Charleston single is not expected to last long!


UPDATE: 40 Poinsett Street was recently filmed for an episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters”!  How cool is that?!  It will be a few months before it airs but it says a lot that out of all the houses in downtown Charleston currently on the market, ours was picked for a national television show!

What are my costs? – Sellers Edition

Spring time is here and with that typically comes an increase in homeowners ready to put their houses on the market.
If you have been thinking about selling, here are some typical costs that are involved and some useful tips to help you get started:

Before listing your home:  These are typically a matter of choice but they could be great investments to help make sure you get top dollar for your home

  • Exterior Painting/Power Washing:  You would be amazed at how a fresh coat of paint or a quick power wash could spruce up the look of your home.  Depending on the size, these are the most cost effective.
  • Landscape: Next to the color/condition of the exterior, the landscape is the first thing a buyer notices.  If you’re an avid gardener then you probably just need some finishing touches but if you don’t have grass or any curb appeal then you will definitely need to either make a trip (or two) to Lowe’s or hire a professional.  
  • Fix ups:  There are some that should be done prior to listing (i.e. a cracked window or a stain on the carpet) and there are some that could be the buyer’s responsibility (this is where the home inspection and/or pre-inspection report plays a role).  
    • Pre-Inspection Reports:  These are not required and a buyer expects to pay for a home inspection but it is not a bad idea to have a professional come in and check for structural or termite damage.  Depending on what is found, it would be beneficial to have those things fixed before the home is listed in order to have the selling process remain as smooth as possible.  If there is some major work that needs to be done, it can be disclosed when the home is listed and the buyer already knows what’s in store.
  • Staging:  There is nothing wrong for a house to look lived in, however, if your home could give “Hoarders” a run for their money, then it’s probably best to invest your time into reorganizing and staging.  The cost can vary depending on the size of your home and how much assistance you may need but it’s a great investment.  Even if you stage it just for pictures to be taken, its worth it.  Why?  Because first impressions matter!  Would you go on a first date wearing clothes that look dirty and slept in or would you dress to impress and maybe splurge on a new outfit?  The latter because a great first impression goes a long way!  
  • Lights and Heat/AC:  If you are moving before the sale of your home or are selling an investment property that sits empty, it is best to leave the utilities on.  High humidity can cause mold and other moisture damage which can be avoided by leaving the AC turned on.   Not to mention this makes the house more comfortable for showings (especially in the Charleston heat).  
  • Homeowners Insurance: People are often surprised to hear this but, if your home sits vacant for a certain amount of time and you do not notify your insurance company, you could be dropped from your homeowners insurance policy.  Vacant homes can present numerous liability issues so it is best to advise your insurance company if your home is sitting vacant. Depending on your insurance company, you can ask for a rider to cover any period of vacancy or a separate policy.  


After the sale:  Congratulations!  Your home has sold and now it’s time to finalize everything at the closing table.

  • Agent Commissions:  Typically, these are paid by the seller and may be split if there is a separate buyer’s agent. 
  • Closing costs:  Attorney’s fees, deed stamps, and unpaid property taxes are the three main costs for sellers (after commissions).  South Carolina charges a deed recordation tax on real estate of $2.60 per thousand for the State Deed Stamps plus $1.10 per thousand for the County Deed Stamps, for a total of $3.70 per thousand of the sales price.  Property taxes would be prorated from January 1st.  
  • Credits to the buyer: These are a case by case basis but the ones most often seen are payments for contractors and repairs. In some cases, no credits are given to the buyer.  
  • Capital Gains Tax: If you are selling a second home or investment property , and you earn less than $250,000 on the sale  (or less than $500,000 if you’re married and file jointly) then this does not apply. (This also does not apply for primary residencies.) If you earn more than that, then you’ll need to do some research.  My advice would be to consult a tax attorney who could give you advice on how to defer capital gains tax (ex. 1031 exchange).
  • Moving costs:  This could range from paying for pizza and beer for a few of your buddies to load some boxes or paying for the professionals to come in and do everything.

Note:  This is a generalized list and does not always reflect every transaction.  

If you think you are ready to put your home on the market, I would love to help.  Feel free to email me at

Click here to learn about what sets me apart from other prospective listings agents.


The Story of Poinsett Street: Part 2

Since we last left Poinsett Street,  the Board of Architectural Review gave the green light to proceed with restoring this home to glory once again.  As I mentioned before, this home had not been lived in for many, many years, so you can imagine how much debris needed to be removed both inside and out.  It was an “all hands on deck” project to say the least.  Fast forward a few months and the house that once looked like this:


Turned into this:


And then in less than a month, it looked like this:


Huge difference, right?


The inside started coming together as well.  When it was originally purchased, it did not have much of a floor  and there was a great deal of debris to sort through (which is why I don’t have any decent before pictures) but as quickly as the outside started to transform, so did the inside.

Downstairs bedroom


Living room


Living room that opens up to the kitchen
(There’s my dad making a small cameo appearance)


Kitchen window that will overlook the backyard as well as a mother-in-law suite
(Hello income potential!)

IMG_1384 (1)

Master bedroom looking into the master bathroom and two other bedrooms with another full bath to the right (not pictured)


Here is a sneak peak of the downstairs living room after the sheetrock went up.  (That is Todd hard at work priming the walls)

Tood Poinsett

It is so exciting to see the transformation of this house with each passing day.  The sheetrock was installed last week and Todd and I spent the weekend helping my parents prime and paint the walls. (We really are a DIY kind of family)  All of the bathroom and kitchen tile has been purchased and the flooring is being discussed as I type this post.

Stay tuned for the finished product because it’s sure to be the gem of North Central!

New Listing: Headquarters Plantation

Are you looking for a neighborhood that can offer you space to build your dream home, gorgeous marsh views and privacy  while also being close to downtown Charleston?  If the answer is yes then maybe Headquarters Plantation (located on Headquarters Island) is the place for you.  Headquarters Plantation is a private, gated community on the Stono River between James and Johns Islands.


Welcome to Headquarters Island!

HQ Plantation Drive

This could be the view you come home to everyday.  It does not get much better than this.


Aside from idyllic views, the location is what makes Headquarters Island noteworthy.  You could be to downtown Charleston in approximately 20 minutes while Folly Beach is only 25 minutes away.   Do you own a boat or are thinking about owning a boat?  Good news! Headquarters Island is also home to the St. Johns Yacht Harbor and Marina which offers boat slips and other amenities.  For the residents of Headquarters Plantation, St. Johns is only a walk, bike, or golf cart ride away.

St. Johns 1
St. Johns 2

St. Johns Yacht Harbor and Marina

Stono  stono 3

Wouldn’t it be great to have a morning cup of coffee while admiring the gorgeous views the Stono River?

If you’re interested in building a dream home in this great neighborhood, take a look at my listing that just came on the market!  This lot is ready and waiting for you!

Have any questions?  Comment below or email me –>

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Hopefully you have recovered from your turkey hangover (and/or your alcohol hangover) because now it’s time to get ready for Christmas.  I love everything about Christmas:  decorating, shopping, spending time with family and friends, eating, drinking, and being merry.  It’s my most favorite time of year and I will admit, I am one of those people who starts listening to Christmas music in early November and our Christmas tree was decorated before Thanksgiving.  I can’t help it.

I also enjoy everything Charleston has to offer during the Christmas season.  Here are some of my must-do’s for Christmas and New Years Eve:

  •  Holiday Festival of Lights:  2016 marks the 27th Annual Holiday Festival of Lights in James Island County Park.  Year after year, my family and I have enjoyed riding through the 3 illuminated miles of light displays while listening to Christmas music.  So far, my most favorite memories have been riding through with my two young nieces and seeing their faces light up while oh-ing and ah-ing over all the light displays.  After the driving tour, you can park your car and enjoy all the family friendly activities which include and meet and greet with Santa and roasting marshmallows.  You can enjoy the lights from November 11, 2016 until January 1, 2017.
  • Christmas Tree Lighting in Marion Square: Mayor John Tecklenburg and Santa Claus will join forces to light a gorgeous 60 foot Christmas tree in the heart of Marion Square.  There will be live music and is a great time for everyone.
  • City of Charleston Holiday Parade: Hosted by the City of Charleston and the Charleston Fire Department, the parade will begin on Broad Street at Barre Street, travel North on King Street, and conclude on Calhoun Street at Meeting Street.  This year, Todd and I will be joining some of my fellow Dunes Properties agents at our King Street office for some snacks and libations.  The parade will be on Sunday, December 4th at 2pm. 
  • The Nutcracker at the Charleston Gaillard Center:  This is one of my absolute favorite things to do during Christmas time.  This year’s performances will be on December 10th and 11th.
  • New Years Eve at Circa 1886:  Located in the original carriage house of the Wentworth Mansion, Circa 1886 is one of the best restaurants in downtown Charleston.  You can enjoy a 6 course pre fixe dinner along with a complimentary glass of champagne.  It is both a cozy and romantic way to ring in the New Year with your special someone.

Even if you aren’t able to make it to any of these, pick a day and walk around downtown Charleston.  It really is incredible this time of year, and I promise you won’t be disappointed!


I hope you and your family have a wonderful Holiday Season!  There will be a lot of new things coming to the blog in 2017 so stay tuned! Cheers to 2017!


The Top Ten Things to do in Charleston – Fall Edition

Oh October, how lovely to see you finally!  I never thought I’d be so happy to turn off my AC and open all the windows but after the brutal summer we had, it is a welcomed change.
Lately, I have had a multitude of people ask me  “What is there to do in Charleston in the Fall?”
The answer:  So many I don’t even know where to begin!

  1.  The 40th Annual Fall Tour of Homes, History and Architecture: Organized by the Preservation Society of Charleston, The Fall Tour allows you to experience the absolute best of historic Charleston.  You’re able to tour different areas of historic Charleston each day while simultaneously enjoying the pleasant Lowcountry weather. The tour starts on October 6th and ends on October 30th.
  2. Charleston Gallery Association Art Walk:  Over 40 art galleries in historic Charleston open their doors to anyone interested in art and photography.  It’s a free, self guided tour and most, if not all, of the galleries offer refreshments (wine, anyone?).  The next art walk is scheduled for Friday, October 14th from 5pm-8pm.
  3.  Second Sunday on King Street:  On the second Sunday of every month from 12-4pm, a portion of King Street closes to vehicular traffic (starts at the intersection of King and Calhoun Streets, and ends at the intersection of King and Broad Streets).  It’s a great way to explore local shops and eateries while having a cocktail or two and spending time with family and friends.  (It’s also a great time to come check out The Real Estate Studio of Dunes Properties at 214 King Street)
  4. Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch:  Nothing will get you into the Halloween spirit like visiting the Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch.  Other attractions include a corn maze, rock climbing wall, and hayride.  The pumpkin patch is open from October 1st-31st.  It’s a great time for the kids and adults!
  5. Bark in the Park – Oktoberfest:  This is a fun way to spend quality time with your beloved four legged friend while treating yourself to delicious German food and beer.  The bark-tastic good time is scheduled for Sunday, October 16th from 11am-4pm at Wannamaker County Park.
  6. Charleston Farmers Market in Marion Square:  Every Saturday from 8am to 2pm from April to November, people gather in the heart of historic downtown Charleston to support local farmers, growers, artisans, and performers.  It’s a great time for both locals and tourists to support the beautiful Lowcountry.  And who wouldn’t love some fresh Fall produce?
  7. Moonlight Sails on the Schooner Pride:  Sit back , relax, and enjoy a magical moonlight sail while seeing Charleston in the most romantic way possible.  You’ll be able to capture night time views of historic Charleston while listening to live acoustic music by a local musician.  The final two sails of the year will occur on October 16th and 17th at 7:30pm.
  8. The Third Annual Folly Beach Battle of the Bags:  I am proud to say this event is hosted by Dunes Properties!   All proceeds from this event benefit the Folly Angels, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the people of Folly Beach who are battling cancer.  The cornhole tournament is organized by Holy City Cornhole and will start at 12pm.  Not the best cornhole player?  That’s ok, you can still come out and cheer on those playing while eating from some of Charleston’s best food trucks and having some adult beverages!  This year’s event is scheduled for Sunday, October 30th from 12pm-5pm at the Folly Beach County Park.  Don’t forget your costume!
  9. Party for the Parks:  Come one, come all to the recently renovated Colonial Lake for a circus themed bash with signature cocktails, treats from some of the best restaurants in Charleston and live music.  All proceeds will go the Charleston Parks Conservancy to help benefit over 25 Charleston area parks.  If you haven’t been to Colonial Lake since it’s re-opening then this would be a great time to check it out!  This great time is currently scheduled for Saturday, November 5th from 6-10pm.
  10. Charleston International Film Festival:  Since 2007, The Charleston IFF’s mission has been “to educate, entertain, and inspire through the art and science of film”.  I’ve had the privilege of attending this event multiple times over the years and each year it gets better and better.  Films have made me laugh to the point of tears and cry to the point of weeping, but most importantly, I’ve been inspired by people whom I never would have known about without this platform for their creativity. This year’s festival will be held from November 2nd through 6th at the Charleston Music Hall.

    Those are just a few events Charleston has to offer.  Are you planning a trip to Charleston and want to know more?  Comment below or email me!

What September means to me…

The month of September has many different meanings.  Maybe it’s your birthday month (if it is, you’re lucky to have sapphire as your birthstone).  Maybe you’re excited about the Fall season being right around the corner (I am currently sipping on a pumpkin spice latte while writing this).   For me, and most Southerners, September means FOOTBALL SEASON!  Yes sir, the sweet season of football is upon us so it’s time to get your jerseys out and put those tailgate recipes you’ve been Pinteresting all off season to good use because its time for family, friends, and FOOTBALL!

Todd and I love football so much that he built a brick patio and fire pit (with my dad) for the sole purpose of watching football.  It’s great being able to sit around the fire, entertain guests, and watch football outside.
(Even though, as you can see, Miss Gracie thinks it’s another place for her to nap)

Nope… Gracie isn't spoiled at all 😂 #gracielee #noworkingduringdrinkinghours #collegefootballsaturday

A photo posted by Taylor Tillman (@taylortillman) on


Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around watching football with my family…they were mostly of my grandfather and father yelling at the television. Even if you are not a fan of football, it is still a great time to spend with friends and family.  I have a few friends who don’t give a hoot about football games and rivalries but they always show up to get-togethers for the laughs and memories.

I have quite a few clients who are avid football fans and I enjoy finding out where their allegiance lies.  Why?  Well, for a couple reasons…1. It’s another way for me to connect with them.  One of the things I love about my job is connecting with my clients on both a professional level as well as a personal one. 2. Football paraphernalia make GREAT housewarming gifts.   What football fan wouldn’t love a brand new house flag from their favorite Realtor?

And last but certainly, not least, the Fall season is a great time to visit Charleston.  If you’re thinking of relocating to Charleston or investing in a second home, it’s a great time to come and enjoy everything this city has to offer without frantically searching for AC.  Are you thinking of visiting Charleston?  Feel free to email or call me for the inside scoop of some fun things to do!

The Story of Poinsett Street: Part 1


If you’re an avid HGTV watcher, like myself, you’ve probably seen one of the many shows geared toward house flipping and renovation.  While the entire process is condensed into either a 30 or 60 minute show, I didn’t realize everything else that occurs behind the scenes but thanks to my parents, I have learned quite a bit about house renovation in the past year.

My parents started their adventure into the house renovation business in the Summer of 2015 after starting a business with my brother, Trey, and family friend and contractor, Rick Rockwell.  Rick specializes in restoring historic Charleston homes to their original character and since my dad, who grew up in downtown Charleston, wanted his focus to be on historic downtown Charleston, the pairing could not have been better.

The lucky winner ended up being a house on Poinsett street, located in the North Central neighborhood.  North Central is close to Upper King Street and Rutledge Ave.  It is also a hop, skip, and a jump away from Morrison Drive which is home to both Edmund’s Oast and Tattooed Moose (two of my favorites).   It is also a neighborhood with a great deal of real estate investment potential so I can absolutely see why my dad chose this area.

And now I present to you, 40 Poinsett Street:


She’s a beaut, right?

To say this house was a fixer upper was the understatement of the year.  I am sure you are asking yourself   “Why wouldn’t you just tear it down and start fresh?”.  Downtown Charleston has a governing body known as the Board of Architectural Review whose purpose is “preservation and protection of the old historic or architecturally worthy structures and quaint neighborhoods which impart a distinct aspect to the city and which serve as visible reminders of the historical and cultural heritage of the city, the state, and the nation.” This means that in addition to the permits one has to get when building or renovating a property, you also have to get the approval from the BAR.  Thankfully, my dad knew all this this before buying the property so he was prepared for the extra hoops to jump through.

October 2015 comes around and my parents close on the house.  My dad’s first order of business was clearing out the yard.  He’s a DIY kind of guy so he was able to get a lot done himself along with some help from my brother and boyfriend.  The house had been abandoned for approximately 40 years so he definitely had his hands full with the yard for a couple months.  February 2016 began the start of obtaining permits and getting the green light from the BAR to proceed with the design plan.  (This can be an arduous process because it is generally unheard of to obtain the go ahead on the first try with the BAR) After months of speed bumps and probably a few “Why did we decide to do this again?” conversations, we are now in August 2016 and my parents are finally able to talk about an interior design plan.  My mom has quite the knack for interior design so this is right up her alley. I also love interior design so it was fun for my mom and I to discuss different options.

I’ll be posting another update in the coming months so be on the look out.  This house is going to look great when it’s all said and done.

Do you have any questions about historic downtown Charleston or maybe you want to invest in a fixer upper?
Call or email me, I would love to help!