Historical Preservation At Its Finest
Originally built in 1895 as a family dwelling, The Whitman was turned into apartments in the 1950s, completely destroying the building’s historic integrity. When owner Steve Buckner and General Manager Bob Vardzel got a hold of the building and its plans, they were tasked with putting it back together.
“The restoration took one year, but it was such a fun experience,” says Vardzel. “We were given the original blueprints from the Historical Foundation and we literally rolled them out and planned everything back the way it was. With some modern touches of courses.”
Those modern touches included a state of the art chef’s kitchen, luxurious bathrooms and other modern conveniences you’d expect out of a 5-star resort. The charm of the Whitman of course, isn’t in those modern conveniences. The charm comes from the sleeping porches on the left side of the house overlooking Forsyth Park. The charm oozes out of the millwork, which was recreated from the original plans. Even touches as trivial as door hinges were painstakingly recreated to mimic the Victorian era.
When you book your wedding at The Whitman, the beautiful Victorian becomes your “wedding headquarters.” House the bridal party in the beautifully decorated suites upstairs to keep everyone together in one place. The Whitman was actually the first residence in Savannah built with on-suite bathrooms in each bedroom.
When recreating the layout, Buckner and Vardzel took no shortcuts. The bathrooms are luxurious and peaceful, while each bedroom is cozy enough to call home. The master comes complete with a fireplace and porch, which overlooks the park. Interestingly enough, the porch was turned into a closet when the building was an apartment in the 50s. Why anyone would take a sleeping porch and close it in to make a closet is beyond me. Especially when you imagine yourself enjoying a glass of wine on the porch on a warm Savannah summer night.
The bride and her girls can use the upstairs to prepare for the big day. There’s plenty of room to do hair and make up, drink champagne and capture memories.
See more from our story on the Whitman in the February/March Celebrations issue of South.