About the Renovation

The building was originally constructed circa 1849 for James Kerr in the Greek Revival vernacular style, typical of Savannah townhouses built during the mid-19th century boom.

In 1878, the building underwent a major renovation with a third floor addition and a four-story addition to the rear of the house. The comprehensive addition added 10 rooms to the already existing six and more than doubled the house in size to a total of 16 rooms. The 1878 addition also changed the exterior character of the house to the more popular Italianate style of the period. There was in existence a two-story masonry carriage house on the property that was demolished sometime in the 20th century.

The house remained largely unchanged until a prominent Savannah family bought it in the early 1970s. They completely modernized the house, adding bathrooms and a pool in the side garden. This renovation was published nationally and garnered much attention.

When Homeline Architecture began the project, the existing house was a total of 6,588 square feet. The new owner wanted to add to the rear of the house and rebuild the carriage house. The additions to the structure resulted in a total square footage of 9,546 square feet.

Part of the addition was to house a chef’s kitchen. A room of this size is not particularly common in Savannah’s historic district townhouses. The kitchen has great proportions for family and entertaining. The design inspiration was the old fashioned “big house” kitchen where many people could work at one time. The idea was expanded upon to make the space more aesthetically pleasing, by including a light monitor to bring in more natural light than the typical townhouse kitchen. The monitor is supported by industrial steel beams with rivets. The walls were completely clad in an over scaled brick tile. Homeline maintained the former metal window hood pediments to show that this was once an exterior wall. The cornice mouldings are custom designed to suit the ceiling heights and are of 1840s inspiration. There is a secondary catering kitchen behind the main space for overflow and preparation out of view by staff.

The remainder of the parlor floor was restored to maintain every historic element. The very fine marble mantel pieces are likely from the 1878 renovation. Plaster cornice mouldings in the parlors were restored as well as the fine heart pine flooring.

In typical Savannah townhouse fashion, the property was built with an English basement or ground floor. This floor contains a large family room or game space. In addition, there is a full kitchen and a walk-in refrigerator. A full bathroom and a powder room are also on this level. In the addition to this level are a laundry room (of unseen proportions in city living), and a large pool lounge that serves as an extension to the outdoor pool terrace. This townhouse also features a three car garage.

The second floor above the parlor floor contains the master suite. It was reconfigured with a new door opening and new cornice moulding, again the moulding inspiration is 1840s. The fireplace mantels on this floor were maintained and are from the original construction. The master bathroom was reworked to include two custom fluted and curved vanity furniture pieces. The shower was enlarged and clad in slabs of Plumeria marble, which was also used as countertops and back splash for the vanities. There are two water closets in the master bath. The dressing room is finished with custom casework for storage as a well as a dressing island. The master closet is the elevator access to this floor for ease in handling luggage.

The top floor has three separate bedrooms and two bathrooms. One bath is en suite with the southernmost bedroom. This bathroom features a curving vanity with two sinks custom casework and mouldings. The second bath features Waterworks stone tile flooring and a custom campaign style vanity. All of the fittings and most of the fixtures in the house are by Waterworks. There is a secondary laundry room on this floor for convenience.

The carriage house as mentioned above has a three car garage. Above that is a two bedroom apartment. Each bedroom has its own bathroom. The carriage house features a full kitchen as well as laundry equipment.

20 W. Jones Street photo from 2015
20 W. Jones Street
20 W. Jones Street kitchen from photo taken in 2015
20 W. Jones Street kitchen
20 W. Jones St. Master Bath Suite photo from 2015
20 W. Jones St. Master bath suite with double vanity and soaking tub
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HOMELINE ARCHITECTURE is a residential, boutique design firm based in Savannah, Georgia that specializes in high-end residential architecture, interior design and historic preservation. The firm believes a home should be welcoming, beautiful and elegant—whether your personal style is understated or glamorous. A Lowcountry neo-traditional house, a luxury flat in a mid-century high rise, a meticulously preserved 19th century townhouse, or a beachfront cottage as a second home—we painstakingly account for the client’s lifestyle, sensibilities, concern for the environment and future generations. Homeline has won numerous awards from Historic Savannah Foundation, Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and the American Institute of Architects. Visit homelinearch.com to view the design portfolio or follow on Instagram @homelinearchitecture.

JOHN L. DEERING is the firm’s Principal and Director of Design. A classically trained designer with a keen eye for proportion and detail, he focuses on high-end residential and specialized “boutique” commercial design. His specialty is period architecture—its proportions, forms, ornamentations and settings. He invariably gets it right with respect to historic details and use of materials. John attended the Savannah College of Art and Design with a concentration in architecture and has a strong background in historic restoration and renovation. His unwavering standards and his ability to accurately interpret the client’s needs command the respect of his colleagues and the community. His work has received numerous local and regional design awards, in addition to being featured in various publications.

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© 2020 Staci Donegan