GDC Home is a Charleston institution, operating as one of the Holy City's premier design destinations since 1978. Originally opened by Jane Gregorie as a tiny 2,500-square-foot shop selling drapery, upholstery, and fabric seconds, the current proprietor, Jane's son Harry, has overseen the growth of his family business into an over 100,000-square-foot home décor emporium with South Carolina locations in Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, and Kiawah.
To fully understand the fascinating evolution and entrepreneurial spirit of the Gregorie family, however, one must look much further back, to pre-Revolutionary Charles Town, in 1781. The name GDC Home is actually a nod to Harry Gregorie's ancestor, James Gregorie, who left Scotland in the 1770s to begin a new life in the New World. Settling in Charles Town, James opened a dry goods store at 26 Church Street with business partner Sir William Douglas of London, establishing Gregorie, Douglas, & Co. with the advantage of easily importing European goods in this important port city.
"We have one of their ads that ran in the Royal Gazette, the newspaper of the day," Gregorie says. "I like being able to connect what we do with what my great-great-great-great-grandfather did many years ago."
Much like James Gregorie's import business in the eighteenth century, Harry Gregorie and his colleagues routinely travel the globe, bringing to their clients found treasures from around the world they might otherwise not have access to. A typical year could take Gregorie to China, India, Indonesia, and elsewhere, sourcing one-of-a-kind items like vintage Oushak rugs from Turkey, or Moroccan rugs hand woven in the Atlas Mountains, as well as interesting furniture, lighting, and accessories. When asked what he might look for on an international buying trip, Gregorie shares, "We are always looking for ways to make the store unique. This is a place to find the products that you just won't see in other stores. We like items that have character—this is definitely not the cookie-cutter approach."
At each GDC Home location, a team of friendly design consultants help customers choose carefully curated furnishings, customize pillows or bedding, and always greet each client with a smile and can-do attitude. Explaining his approach to GDC Home, Gregorie says, "The idea is that you can furnish your entire home with what you'll find here—furniture, bedding, window treatments, lighting, and accessories." Though operating at such a large scale, Gregorie manages to bring a personal touch to his business, looking to his mother and ancestors for guidance. Whether a client wants to refresh a dining table for the holidays or furnish an entire home, Gregorie and his staff of some sixty full-time employees develop plans for every client, and for a modest hourly fee, a GDC Home designer will visit clients' homes to create a furniture plan or interior scheme tailored to their needs.
In additional to globally sourced one-of-a-kind pieces, GDC Home offers an array of fine furnishing brands from which clients can choose. Highland House upholstery, John Robshaw textiles, Matouk bedding, and more are carefully selected by Gregorie and his team.
Charlestonians live large in well-loved homes, and while Charleston has seen many changes since Gregorie, Douglas, and Co. operated from South of Broad, gracious living, elegance, and style have remained constants. So has the Gregorie family, bringing thoughtfully curated furnishings and curiosities to customers for years.
For more information, please visit gdchome.com.
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WRITTEN BY LUCY BAMMAN
Images courtesy of GDC HOME