7 Takeaways from a Panel Hosted by The Urban Electric Co. (Plus a Peek at The Lavish After-Party)

If you love design, you're going to want to read this.

The Urban Electric Co. hosted a panel in Charleston earlier this month just ahead of the Charleston Antiques Show. The panel, followed by a lavish party, was held inside the remarkable Aiken Rhett House in downtown Charleston. Cocktails on the piazza and a seven-course meal in the iconic double parlor, was a fitting celebration for the level of culture, inspiration, and fun that took place earlier that day.

toast given at dinner party
Photography by Leigh Ann Beverley / Courtesy of The Urban Electric Co.

At the panel, top-tier experts weighed in on such topics as “Preservation As Inspiration” and “Living with History.” History and the act of preservation inspired the restitution of the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury’s family home, as well as numerous restorative projects by designer Steven Gambrel, both of whom offered primary points of discussion.

Before you read these seven takeaways from the panel, here’s what you need to know:

The Urban Electric co. panel
Photography by Leigh Ann Beverley / Courtesy of The Urban Electric Co.
PANELISTS (pictured above):

Steven Gambrel, Interior Designer
Eve Ashcraft, Color Expert
Jessica Mischner, Co-Founder of Ballyhoo + Co. (facilitator)
Nick Ashley-Cooper, 12th Earl of Shaftesbury
Winslow Hastie, CEO of Historic Charleston Foundation


In the design world, there has been a fundamental and nearly universal shift toward an appreciation of history and a sense of place. Whether it’s through a book, a photograph, a resurrected paint pigment, or the practical need to restore an ancestral estate, preservation has become more than just a process; it’s also one of the most integral and exciting sources of inspiration for designers and design lovers alike.

1Preservation is about embracing our past while looking to the future to grow.

dining table
Photography by Leigh Ann Beverley / Courtesy of The Urban Electric Co.

2Preservation within the design world is found in many forms and always provides stability at home for modern families.

Image Courtesy of the Urban Electric Co.

3Preservation is found all around us, even in modern day projects such as popular Taco Boy, a restaurant in Charleston that was converted from an old cinder block building.

Taco Boy restaurant
Image courtesy of Taco Boy, Charleston

4“Preservation is inspired by craftspeople—you tend to design things when you find great artisans that create them.” -Steven Gambrel

hand-crafted light fixture
Image Courtesy of The Urban Electric Co.

5Preservation is inspiration in the sense that there is an element of imagination associated with it. After 12 generations of restoration, the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury hopes to inspire future generations to respect history but embrace the freedom to create something new.

corridor in Earl of Shaftsbury estate
Image courtesy of Earl of Shaftesbury

6Preservation is not a backward-looking thing. Preservation is forward-looking, and it embodies a notion of evolvement.

7Preservation is found within color. “Older buildings contain a soul, and you can hear it if you listen. You can literally walk into some buildings and feel what the color should be” – Eve Ashcraft

Previous articleColor Was at the Top of the List for These Homeowners
Next article10 Modern Chandeliers That You’re Going to Fall In Love With


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.