“There’s nothing like this in Charleston,” Sarah-Hamlin Hastings says of Fritz Porter. “There’s nothing like this anywhere actually; I made it up.”
Indeed she did. When confronted with a dearth of materials to renovate her grandmother’s home as she moved into it with her family, the Holy City-native realized there was a void in the market. Her way to fill it? A multi-spoke, one-stop interiors shop that’s equal parts furniture and fabric showroom, retail outlet, art gallery, and antiques center. Welcome to Fritz Porter.
“If it weren’t in Charleston, I’m not sure it would work,” Hastings said of the space. After living away for almost 20 years, the creative and former Elle Decor employee returned to her hometown to find a progressed community. The restaurant scene, fashion industry, and art community had all moved forward. But the interiors sphere had lagged behind.
That somewhat seminal home renovation project found Hastings running into brick walls at every turn. “For as sophisticated as Charleston had become, it was really surprising to me with places like Kiawah and Sullivan’s Island, and as many people with second homes and who retire down here, that there weren’t many resources,” says Hastings, who had moved to the Big Apple after college and worked her way through jobs at Elle as well companies like Cullman and Kravis. “If you need anything in New York City, you can find it pretty cheaply because there’s so much of it.”
Back in 2010, when Hastings had the experience with her grandmother’s home, her only choice was to travel to ADAC, the design center in Atlanta, Georgia. But now, Charlestonians can visit her. An antique marketplace with 10 different antique dealers stocking museum quality-pieces, a retail shop with lines like Apparatus which features home goods all handmade in New York, and an art gallery boasting about 30 contemporary artists await them along with in-house interior design services. Those materials make the mother of four a lot more capable than she was when she first was able to redesign her bedroom in eighth grade, but they are still based on the same love and passion for the work.
“Charleston is sophisticated enough,” she says of the space that proposes ideas like styling modern, funky light fixtures above 18th century dining room tables. “They get it.”
And indeed we do.
Words by Mikelle Street
Photo by Gately Williams