City Guide: Angie Hranowsky’s Charleston

The talented interior designer shows us the less-traditional side of this South Carolina gem.

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When you hear “Charleston, South Carolina,” our guess is that images of modern design don’t come to mind. But with an unprecedented influx of new residents moving to town — many of them entrepreneurs and creatives from big cities like New York — Charleston’s typically traditional style is evolving.

No one has been at the forefront of this change more so than Angie Hranowsky, a Charleston-based interior designer who first made a splash here in 2006 with the publication of her own modern, eclectic home in Metropolitan Home. “I felt there was a real niche that wasn’t getting filled in Charleston at the time,” she said. “There were all of these different people moving here from all of these different places and I thought — they probably want, like I do, something a little more modern, more hip.”

Since then, Angie has been featured in Domino, House Beautiful, Southern Living and more. She’s also built up a roster of clients across the country, bringing her signature midcentury-modern-mix to each of their homes. “I think that even though my spaces aren’t ‘traditional,’ I am inspired by the architecture and history of Charleston,” said Angie. “I love the juxtaposition of adding new, modern pieces to the interiors of these beautiful old homes.”

To get to know both Angie and her hometown a little better, we tagged along to a few of her favorite shops and restaurants in Charleston. These places reflect the best of what’s old and new, and are definitely worth adding to your itinerary the next time you’re in town.

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Saint Alban

AH: All of my favorite restaurants and shops in Charleston make me feel like I’m not just in Charleston anymore, Saint Alban included. Owners Brooks Reitz and Tim Mink have such a good eye and have made this old, vintage building feel like a little French cafe. I love the wallpaper in the back! I typically order the green tea — I (unfortunately) haven’t eaten any of their food because I’m vegan! I typically go there to knock out some emails when my office becomes too distracting.


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Hines Studio

AH: I remember years before I ever started working with Bob Hines, I would walk by his shop on King Street and wonder “Do they make stuff? Do they sell stuff?” I could never really figure out what was going on in there. Turns out they do stunning glass and mirror work and take commissions from all over the country — small, large, residential, and commercial.

I ended up hiring him to make a mirror for me for the Coastal Living Idea Home back in 2008—a really beautiful piece that hung above the fireplace—and I found that being in his shop was like stepping back in time. It’s one of those curiosity shops that feels very Charleston to me, the kind of place you can’t find anywhere else.


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Xiao Bao Biscuit

AH: This is my favorite restaurant in town, hands down. It’s not unheard of that I go there three times in one week! I love the food, the decor, the architecture, the outside seating — I just love all of it. When I’m there I feel like I’m in the East Village or San Francisco. And I love that it’s in an old gas station. It sat there empty for years and I always wondered what was going to happen to it.

Their menu changes a lot, but they have this really delicious coconut crepe called the Hoi Thawt, and a cabbage pancake—the Okonomiyaki—that I order every time I go. Food aside, I like restaurants that are really comfortable and cool—where you want to sit there and linger. Sometimes I go into a restaurant and I’m like “Gah! This chair is not in proportion with this table,” or “these tables are too long or too far apart to talk.” No matter where I sit at Xiao Bao, I feel comfortable. That said, I try to sit outside whenever I can! Always with a Mapo Mule in hand.


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Worthwhile

AH: Worthwhile has been around since I lived here back in 1995, but the inventory has gotten even better over time. Robben Richards, the owner, has an incredible eye and picks things that really fit my own personal style. I mentioned earlier that I love to reimagine the traditional architecture of Charleston with a modern twist. I feel like Robben’s store does this really well. It speaks to the “new Charleston,” or rather the direction I think we’re headed.

She carries Rick Owens and Isabel Marant, two labels that I love. And the last time I was in I tried on these amazing boots by Guidi, an Italian company that combines traditional methods from over 100 years ago with new technologies. She has really cool jewelry, too.


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The Commons

AH: Co-owner Erin Connelly has curated this store so perfectly. I love that it’s all items that are handmade in the United States. Everything is wood or black or beige and has this sort of handmade quality but in a very modern way. I’ll pick up things that I love that I know aren’t dishwasher safe and Erin always surprises me when she says “yes they are!” I come here to buy gifts for clients — mostly glassware and cheeseboards. I plan to outfit the kitchen in my new house (breaking ground soon!) with some of their super-chic dishes.

All photos by Julia Lynn Photography.

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