When Cameron Schwabenton walked into the centuries-old former kitchen house in Charleston, the first thing she saw was how much work was needed. But beneath all the plaster and paint—she was certain—was something beautiful.
Schwabenton BSFCS ’03 was recruited to lead the renovation project because of her expertise in interior design and historic preservation. The task at hand: Bring this former kitchen house to life as a luxurious guest house for one of Charleston’s top real estate moguls.
“The structure had a story to tell and was deserving of a conservative approach,” says Schwabenton, principal designer at Cameron Stewart design firm. “The goal was to expose the historic fabric, preserve it, and design a space both beautiful and comfortable while highlighting the building’s unique character.”
Named a 2017 New Trad, Rising Star of Design by Traditional Home Magazine, Schwabenton’s work has been published in leading interior design magazines, including House Beautiful, Interior Design, and Traditional Home. With expertise in 1700s building materials, she understood how to design a historically respectful but thoroughly modern and comfortable space.
“During the renovation, layer upon layer of various 20th century wall materials were removed to expose the original 18th century brick and plaster walls beyond,” she says. “All of the brick walls were repointed using a historically appropriate mix of sand, lime, and cement. Where new materials were required, they were kept modest rather than assuming historically specific details.”
Schwabenton, who also studied at Parsons School of Design in Paris and earned a master’s in historic preservation at Clemson University, credits her time at UGA for helping her build confidence in her abilities and discovering her aesthetic.
“My time at UGA has a special place in my heart. With equal parts support and freedom, Georgia was an incredible environment to learn and grow.” she says.
As for that old kitchen house, the results, like all Schwabenton designs, are a beautiful marriage of old meets new, past meets present.