Case Study #2

Our Inspired Design series looks at spectacular homes that have been profiled by Dwell and pairs them with Tablet hotels that share a similar aesthetic — so you can experience the style for yourself.

Satisfied with their transformation of a historic Southern federal building into the refreshed, charming Dewberry Hotel in Charleston, the founders of Workstead design studio turned their focus to their soon-to-be self-titled work, the Workstead House.

An iconic 1853 building that takes new life as an upscale pied-à-terre, the Workstead is the latest example of Robert Highsmith and Stefanie Brechbuehler’s trailblazing style, which they refer to as “Southern Modernism.” The phrase refers to the couple’s tendency to preserve a structure’s historical character while updating its interior to fit modern conveniences and style. In the case of the Workstead House, that meant reworking the entire space, meticulously combining new furnishings of their own design with stylish antiques.

Here’s the result:

Southern Modernism
The exterior of the 1853 row house that became the Workstead.
Southern Modernism
In the entry hall, a Sawkille bench.
Southern Modernism
Also in the entry hall, a BDDW leather credenza and round mirror, along with a chandelier by Urban Electric Kensington.
Southern Modernism
A living room with Lawson Fenning Moreno sofa and lounge chairs, an antique mosaic-horn coffee table, and Workstead Signal globe and sconce lights.
Southern Modernism
Another living room with Adrian Pearsall sofa, Workstead Sling Chairs, and an antique British colonial mahogany bed used as a coffee table.
Southern Modernism
Most rooms, like this dining room, received a new paint job described as a “honeyed-stone hue.”
Southern Modernism
A compact Le Creuset kitchen.
Southern Modernism
A wet bar with Lawson Fenning Orsini stools.
Southern Modernism
Art by Time Hussey. Some of the house’s adorning artwork comes from the duo’s own collection.
Southern Modernism
In the master chambers, a Lawson Fenning cane bed, Selig night stands with fabric sling, an antique screen, and an antique barrel chair.
Southern Modernism
In the master bathroom, a Workstead chandelier is emblematic of the brass lighting throughout the house.
Southern Modernism
In the office, an antique desk, Lawson Fenning Highland Wingback Chair, Jim Bindman table lamp, Workstead Lodge pendant, and art by Brandon Hinman.
Southern Modernism
In the veranda, a vintage bamboo outdoor sofa, lounge chairs, and a coffee table.
Southern Modernism
The masterminds behind this renovation, Robert Highsmith and Stefanie Brechbuehler — co-founders of Workstead.

All photos appear courtesy of Matthew Williams and Dwell
View the full story by Michele Koh Morollo on Dwell


Hotel Inspirations

If you’re itching to stay in a lovely renovated building that still maintains its historic roots, then you’re in luck — the American South is positively littered with them.


Henry Howard

New Orleans, Louisiana

Henry Howard - boutique hotel in New Orleans

Named for the man behind much of the Garden District’s signature architecture, the Henry Howard Hotel’s exterior still retains all of its dramatic charm, from the Roman arches to the grand Corinthian columns. Nor has the interior been entirely stripped of its old-world sensibility, with twinkling chandeliers and oil paintings in heavy gilded frames still serving as decoration. But after the renovation that turned this old inn into an 18-room boutique, the antique style is balanced by a modern urban aesthetic, embodied by touches like bold wallpaper and mounted musical instruments.


Hotel Havana

San Antonio, Texas

Hotel Havana - boutique hotel in San Antonio

If any place demanded a sensitive renovation rather than a total redo, it was the Havana. Having stood near San Antonio’s riverwalk for nearly a century, this landmark was updated by Liz Lambert, who put her characteristic spin on the public spaces and original furniture, making sure the historical character (and the Mediterranean Revival style) remained intact.


The Dwell Hotel

Chattanooga, Tennessee

The Dwell Hotel - boutique hotel in Chattanooga

The century-old Stone Fort Inn was itself reminiscent of the original stone fort which has stood on this spot since the Civil War. After changing hands and becoming the Dwell Hotel (no relation to our esteemed partner in publishing), it boasts accommodations that are very much in the spirit of Southern modernism: retaining all the charm of the old structure while exhibiting a brand new, bold, and colorful mid-century modern design.


See all entries in our Inspired Design series.