Designed and Reimagined – Columbia Metropolitan Magazine
“We love to host,” says Alisha, “and we decided that instead of always having to rent event space, we should design our house so that we can hold events there.
“Last year we hosted Thanksgiving for about 40 people. We hired caterers and rented tables which we set up in the back yard to dine outside,” she says. “And having all that counter space really works for parties because we can put food on the island and on the counters. This kitchen is a host’s dream.
Along with their gift for throwing parties, these accomplished hosts have also designed their home to be as comfortable for overnight stays as a five-star hotel. A separate wing of Alisha and Jordan’s home features three well-appointed guest bedrooms, each with its own private bathroom with subway-tiled walls, penny-tile floors, and granite counter tops on the vanity .
Restoration and preservation
As part of historic Melrose Heights, Gileses’ Woodrow Street House is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places and is protected as part of an Architectural Preservation District by the City of Columbia. Loosely bounded by Millwood Avenue, Butler Street, Woodrow Street and Trenholm Road, Melrose Heights is known for its diverse architectural shapes and styles. Many people move to historic neighborhoods because of their character, and in 2016, the Melrose Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its illustration of the development of an early district of Columbia. This national program coordinates and supports public and private efforts to identify, assess and protect The historical and archaeological resources of America.
In order to retain the character of the neighborhood, properties in the Melrose Historic District, which includes Melrose Heights, Oaklawn and Fairview, are governed by guidelines designed to ensure the preservation of a building’s character-defining elements while allowing for effective contemporary use through to rehabilitation. .
As explained on the Historic Melrose website, “Rehabilitation is a hands-on approach to historic preservation. It is the process of repairing or altering a historic building while retaining its historic features. It represents a compromise between remodeling, which offers no sensitivity to a building’s historic features, and restoration, which is a more precise but costly approach to repair, replacement and maintenance. The rehabilitation instructions are limited to the revision of the visible external elements of the public right-of-way.
“So as this is a historic house, we were unable to change the exterior of the house. We were unable to change any of the exterior doors, so all exterior doors are still original” “We didn’t know much about the process when we got there, but our representative from the city’s planning division was very responsive and helped us through the process,” says Jordan.
Fortunately, opportunities are available to help offset the challenges that come with rehabilitating a historic home. While any exterior home updates must be approved by the City of Columbia’s Design/Development Review Board, Melrose Heights homeowners can apply for special tax incentives and other opportunities, including the Bailey Bill.
Alisha and Jordan’s home has qualified for local Bailey Bill certification. Requirements include listing on the National Register of Historic Places, City of Columbia landmark status, historic designation by the Richland County Conservation Commission, or being at least 50 years old and demonstrating historical significance.
Bailey Bill certification allows the homeowner to avoid local property tax payments on the increased value resulting from qualifying renovations. The amount can be significant, especially when combined with other available incentives, serving as an effective catalyst that encourages the rehabilitation of historic buildings.
To look forward
A fAfter tackling the challenges of a pandemic-era home renovation and their pandemic-era wedding, Alisha and Jordan aren’t expected to slow down anytime soon. As a licensed real estate agent, Alisha anticipates another busy year professionally in another unprecedented year in the real estate world, and as a couple, the Giles plan to host many more family gatherings and friends in their house.
While the details of the next phase of their life together are still being worked out, Alisha and Jordan are eager to build their big and bright future on the solid materials provided by the past.