A Collected Castle

by Katie Faulkner
Photography by Morgan Nowland

With two children, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren, Carolyn and James Gray love to share their thoughtfully curated home with a large and growing family. Inside their custom castle, every piece has been hand selected, many from their worldwide travels, to represent a life well-lived and well-loved.

“We lived nearby. In fact, I drove past this property all the time,” James says of finding their ideal lot. “We had watched it forever and talked about how if it ever went up for sale, we’d have to grab it, because things don’t go on the market that often here.” Driving by one day, he spotted a sale sign that led to a handshake agreement and purchase within just minutes. “He came home and gave me some paperwork and told me he had bought this land, and I needed to fill out the paperwork today so we could get it!” Carolyn laughs, recalling the momentous occasion. They chose to give away the original house on the six-acre property, opting instead to design a custom masterpiece modeled after a photograph of a home they loved. Shortly thereafter James and Carolyn chose Bill Worley Construction Company to bring their vision to life.

“I would say the exteriors are very traditional with a few French touches, like the eyebrow arches over the windows,” James says. The interior style is also traditional, with hand-painted accents and several beloved pieces of art and furniture from their European vacations and favorite pastime of attending auctions together. “Believe it or not, James is really the auction lover, and he’s the one with an impeccable eye,” Carolyn says.

Their entryway is hand painted in a stunning combination of gold and purple shades. Curved design work is repeated throughout, found in the iron scrollwork on the arched French front doors, a hand-laid marble design in the floor, and iron scrollwork on a nearby armoire. A circular tray ceiling with gilded moulding emphasizes the floor’s marble pattern, adding to the feeling of height and grandeur – all punctuated with a crystal chandelier.

To the right of the entryway is a formal dining room. “We use this room for main holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving when we have the whole family over at one time,” Carolyn says. The royal color scheme is continued from the foyer, with a purple tray ceiling and hand-painted gold walls. All of the moulding in this room was hand painted as well to create a golden patina. Another crystal chandelier crowns the Henredon dining room suite. Swagged silk draperies delicately frame the arched window, and the arch is repeated in open-door casings leading to the formal living room.

Similarly swagged silk drapes trace the outline of towering arched windows in the living room. With two distinct areas in this space, it is ideal for all of the Grays’ entertaining. A player piano perches in the background, where a small seating nook can steal a view of the boundless backyard. In the main seating area, a European-style marble fireplace sets an elegant, elevated tone. Golds and reds play off each other to create a warm ambiance, while leather-top tables and tasseled upholstered furniture evoke an old-world French feel.

Behind the living room, a wide-arched doorway, flanked by double columns on either side, leads into the kitchen. An impressive barrel ceiling continues the curvature of the home’s many arches. “I love beautiful ceilings, and I think they really have the ability to make a statement, so I tried to do something a little different with each one,” Carolyn says, admitting that the kitchen’s ceiling might be her favorite.

Custom-fitted, curved beams capped by carved corbels are just one of many intriguing details in the kitchen’s architecture. Staying true to a wine country’s color scheme, muted gold tones and rustic finishes help the kitchen feel like it would fit seamlessly into a European villa. The expansive and elegant island boasts carved woodwork, beveled edge granite counters, and an inlaid Lazy Susan for ease of serving a multitude of family meals. “When the kids come over with their little ones, we’ll cook or sometimes just order in a bunch of food and put it on the island for everyone to help themselves,” Carolyn shares.

On the far end of the house are the master bedroom and bathroom. For the Grays’ private retreat, they chose deeper shades of purple for the ceiling and large area rug and a serene shade of mauve for the walls. “I promise that I don’t force pink colors on James,” Carolyn laughs. “He actually likes these tones because he says they’re very peaceful. Every master bedroom we’ve ever had has been a shade of pink!” With dual chandeliers, a trimmed tray ceiling, and an impressive collection of heirloom furniture, this room has no end to dazzling eye catchers.

Custom-fitted, curved beams capped by carved corbels are just one of many intriguing details in the kitchen’s architecture. Staying true to a wine country’s color scheme, muted gold tones and rustic finishes help the kitchen feel like it would fit seamlessly into a European villa. The expansive and elegant island boasts carved woodwork, beveled edge granite counters, and an inlaid Lazy Susan for ease of serving a multitude of family meals. “When the kids come over with their little ones, we’ll cook or sometimes just order in a bunch of food and put it on the island for everyone to help themselves,” Carolyn shares.

On the far end of the house are the master bedroom and bathroom. For the Grays’ private retreat, they chose deeper shades of purple for the ceiling and large area rug and a serene shade of mauve for the walls. “I promise that I don’t force pink colors on James,” Carolyn laughs. “He actually likes these tones because he says they’re very peaceful. Every master bedroom we’ve ever had has been a shade of pink!” With dual chandeliers, a trimmed tray ceiling, and an impressive collection of heirloom furniture, this room has no end to dazzling eye catchers.

“With this house, we finally have everything built exactly like we
want it.”


Carolyn Gray, owner

 


Two favorites are the bedside lamps, which the Grays spotted in a little shop in Bavaria, Germany. Dainty tassels are made from hand-carved sea shells, and the glass orbs are the faintest shade of pink. “When we saw these we both fell in love; they are probably our favorite pieces in this house,” Carolyn says. James adds, “We knew they’d be perfect in the bedroom, because our master is always a shade of pink.”

In the adjoining master bathroom, marble floors are designed to draw the eye toward a hand-carved medallion perfectly in line with a domed ceiling. Hand-painted gold stripes, glazed embellished cabinetry, sculpted cherubs, marble columns, and a chandelier make the room feel more like a decadent Roman bathhouse than a home’s master bathroom.

From the front entrance to their fabulous master suite, this family-filled home, stocked with priceless European souvenirs and customized artisan details, has been thoughtfully crafted to capture treasured memories and enhance time together with family.

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