Living Here Guide

June 24, 2012

Homes: A salute to the classics

Architect Maynard Pearlstine may have designed 30 houses in Columbia during his career.

Architect Maynard Pearlstine may have designed 30 houses in Columbia during his career.

By now, many have been renovated.

But a celebrated house on Wyndham Road — unlike many modern buildings from the 1950s and ‘60s — has remained virtually unchanged.

Walk up the wide flagstone steps and enter the living room, where sliding glass doors flood the room in sunlight. In the dining room, the original light fixtures dangle over the table in turquoise, yellow and orange.

It’s like returning to 1957.

That year, Pearlstine’s peers recognized the house on Wyndham Road as one of South Carolina’s best.

Today, the house is for sale.

“I was mostly trying to do — not traditional architecture, but contemporary architecture,” he said, “taking in mind the light and orientation and views.”

Having retired to his native Charleston, Pearlstine remembers the house having a nice, high ceiling to emphasize the comfortable family living space.

“I like a sense of light and brightness and spaciousness, also in entrances,” he said. “Instead of having a three-foot walkway, I tried to have wide and welcoming entrances.”

In the modern home, assymetrical rooms flow into one another.

Wide eaves shade the summer sun and let in the winter sun.

Signs of the latest technology are on display. Here, that means large, dial dimmer switches and an intercom system, a sunburst clock on the brick fireplace and built-in television speakers.

Pearlstine-designed houses are concentrated in Heathwood and Lake Katharine. During a 40-year career, he designed buildings for the University of South Carolina, private office buildings, shopping centers and highrise apartment buildings in Columbia, too.

He’s aware of changes that, in many cases, have destroyed the essence of his original work.

“I guess it’s not old enough to be saved by the preservationists,” he said. “It’s in the middle ground.”

Pearlstine, 89, is working on his memoirs now and painting.

Dawn Hinshaw writes about people, historic preservation and county government for The State.

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