Eye of the Tyler: What I would do if I owned Mugdock Castle on Sullivan's Island

  • Monday, May 13, 2013

What would you do if you owned the Mugdock Castle on Sullivan's Island? Eye of the Tyler columnist Tyler Heffernan shares his plans and makes an offer The Cassina Group can't refuse. COURTESY OF BILL THRASH OF RED ZEPPELIN AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY


I don't have $3,895,000. I may never. But, play along with me.

I toured the Mugdock Castle, a seven-bedroom property located at 1401 Middle Street on Sullivan's Island, mentally taking notes as to what I do if I ditched apartment living to reside in a freakin' castle.

The directions, provided on a listing page from The Cassina Group, are epic. “After entering Sullivan's Island, take a right onto Middle Street,” it notes. “Travel for 1.2 miles and Mugdock Castle will be the first beach castle on your left.”

Now, imagine me inviting you over for a cookout.

“I'm lost,” you say, adding that you see the delicious Home Team BBQ on your left.

“Have no fear, good sire,” I respond – because how else would you talk if you owned a castle. “Continue on ye quest for hotdogs and hamburgers until ye eyes feast on a castle. Tis about a mile on ye left.”

Pretty sweet, huh? And, no, you're never too good for hotdogs and hamburgers. But, because you're probably a great guest, and I'm so generous, I'd buy name-brand meat and not that Great Value stuff.

Spoil you, I do. Yoda, I apparently sound like when trying to speak fancy.

The cost per square foot is $786.87, which could be your total monthly rent at an okay apartment in Charleston. There are no popcorn ceilings here, though, and the walls are two feet thick of granite and concrete.

Put those walls in an apartment complex, and you probably don't hear your 70-year-old neighbor getting riled up every time Judge Judy tells a dead-beat dad where he can go and how she can help him get there. And, I'm not talkin' about church.

There are seven bedrooms and six and a half bathrooms. The ceilings are vaulted. The roof is made of slate and there's a rooftop terrace offering panoramic of the ocean, Intracoastal Waterway and the harbor. As one of the highest views on the island, you can see the church steeples of downtown, Fort Sumter and everything your neighbors are doing.

There are two portions to the property: the “Gothic-style Winter Hall and the Romanesque Summer Hall...joined by a central stair tower,” according to the listing. The Winter Hall was constructed in 1891 and served as the Holy Cross Episcopal Church, the Post Chapel of Fort Moultrie and St. Mark's Lutheran Church before it was converted into residential in the 1970s.

The Winter Hall is dark with granite and dark wood everywhere. The Summer Hall is much lighter with concrete and light wood at every turn.

Here's what I would do with the Winter Hall: make it a gym. The ceilings are 27-feet high from ground to peak and would easily accommodate basketball goals. It wouldn't be big enough for a regulation-size court, but it'd be close enough.

Form a semi-professional basketball team and charge $1 for admission. Sorry, RiverDogs and Battery, you wouldn't be able to compete with this. Wando boys basketball coach David Eaton said there used to be a professional basketball team from the National Basketball Association Development League that played in North Charleston. It was called the Lowcountry Gators.

It's time professional basketball returned to Charleston.

The Summer Hall doesn't need a major overhaul to fit my (definitely sarcastic) sophisticated tastes. I see no reason why if my home has a basketball court that it also can't have a drinking fountain stocked with chocolate milk.

Any kids reading this at Red's are emphatically tugging at their parents' shirts, saying, “This Tyler fella knows me.” The parents are rolling their eyes.

Anyway, I'd stick that in the upper tier – there are four – of the Summer Hall, where there are clear views of the ocean, a hammock and for some reason, an outdoor shower on the patio.

I guess when you live in a castle, you don't mind having an alternative option of taking a private shower outdoors and exposed to a tourist's wandering eye on Fort Moultrie.

There's also an outdoor shower on the tier's patio beneath that one, but mind you, we're still not on ground level. Of course, when you get to ground level, there is no outdoor shower. Go figure.

Outside on the back lawn, you can look up at your castle and see a painted sun dial on the back walls. It's a three-foot square with a sun at the top and a sun path chart to read shadows. Some lines indicate time, others mark solar stuff that I have no idea about but look fantastic.

The house has something for everyone. In the case of the sun dial, Flava Flav's gaudy clocks dangling from his neck would be put to shame. So, by a cause-and-effect relationship, buy a castle and become Flava Flav's clock-wielding adversary.

Molly Glover, marketing director of The Cassina Group, led me on a tour of Mugdock. She said that after about a month on the market, there have been a few serious inquiries from out-of-town folks but no offers, as of last week.

Can we really let an out of towner steal a Sullivan's Island gem? Think about it, folks. These people could be from Florida. Or California. Or – gasp – somewhere up north.

No, I won't let them infiltrate us. I'm prepared to offer what's in my wallet. Ms. Glover, here's your first official offer: $23 and rewards cards from Piggly Wiggly and Petco. I'm willing to throw in a few business cards too. Heck, accept my offer and I'll let you have a lifetime pass to all the professional basketball games in the Winter Hall. Get the paperwork started.

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