Thursday, October 9

The Beaufort Old Homes Tour

Click to enlarge (I hope). I've been wanting to tell you about the Beaufort Old Homes Tour, but I had to find these photos first. The Mace House was owned (at that time) by a friend of mine named Grady Wheeler. Grady was a florist, and we often worked together in Raleigh, as well as other cities in NC and in his home - Beaufort, NC. He used to show his home on the annual house tour about every 3-4 years, and he always did flowers in every room. In 1998, he asked me to come to Beaufort and help him decorate not only his home, but one of the other houses on the tour. I was thrilled to be asked and went there with bells on. I started decorating the other home, and Grady was going to go and start on his house. When I finished the other home (seven hours later), I went to Grady's to discover that he had fallen ill and I had to do his house too! That was not, unfortunately, the last time I pulled an "all-nighter" with Grady. It seemed he worked best at night - even when he wasn't sick - and I had to follow his lead if I wanted to work with him. It was worth it.

Shortly after that, his home was damaged in two separate hurricanes (Fran was one), suffering water and wind damage. His insurance company sent their appraiser; an architect from the South who worked on historic properties. He fell in love with Beaufort and liked Grady very much. He decided that the company needed to bring Grady's home up to code and up to the standards that a home listed on the Historic Register should have. They packed up all of the furniture and clothing and personal effects and stored all of it for nearly a year. The demolition began, and all that was left were the exterior walls. The house was essentially rebuilt from the walls in; re-plastered, re-wired, re-plumbed; the floors were refinished, the chimney was re-bricked. In short, the house was completely re-done and heat and air conditioning was added where it had never been before. The photos you see here were made the first time I visited Grady after the renovation.

The Mace House.

The living room.

The living room.

The den (that's Grady in the portrait over the mantel)

The den

The dining room

The kitchen

The kitchen

The sleeping porch

The dependency kitchen; the only structure on the property that was not hurt in the storms. This kitchen came from Grady's wife's home place in Georgia (I think). It was taken apart and each board was numbered, so that when it arrived in NC, it was put together by the numbers. He and his wife used it for storage.

Grady was insistent that his home be decorated in the manner in which homes would have been in that era. He had an unfailing eye for quality, but when he couldn't afford the "real thing" he was very adept in placing a modern, inexpensive copy so that unless you were a dealer or an appraiser, you would never have known. He loved blue and white china (as you can see). Some of the pieces shown here were worth hundreds of dollars, and some were "dime store" copies. Almost anyone would have been hard-pressed to tell the difference.

Grady and his wife are both deceased now. Unfortunately, his wife was in a nursing home before the renovation happened, so she never saw it. Grady only lived about 9 months after the renovation, and I always wished he had been able to enjoy his lovely home for a longer time. Oh, and you should know, that after the insurance company spent thousands and thousands putting it all back together for him - they dropped him like a hot potato.

The Beaufort Old Homes Tour is held every year on the last weekend in June. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys period homes and beautiful interior design.


Bear Naked said...

The Mace House is stunning.
It really is a shame that no-one is living there and enjoying it,

Bear((( )))

PI said...

It looks a delightful home and Grady looks sweet too.
I have a similar blue and white tall vase which costs peanuts.
I have never seen anything like those dangly bits hanging from the side board. I wondered if they were keys.

Star said...

What a lovely home. Your florist skills take you so many interesting places!

Kay Dennison said...

I love old houses and this one is the sort I've always wanted. Thank you for shating it with us!!!!!

sage said...

Lovely, Beaufort (I wonder how many of your readers can properly pronounce it?) is a neat town. Years ago I did the candlelight Christmas tour in New Bern--I've also done those tours in Wilmington--if they are still doing the tours, I'd recommend them. I'll probably be in the Pinehurst area on Nov. 15-16

Mr. Althouse said...

Very nice. It always amazes me how homes and other complex structures can be so completely disassembled and then put back toghther again.

Michele sent me this time,


OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It is kind of fascinating to me that on the outside, Mace House doesn't look all that distinguished....But it certainly is very beautiful on the inside.
I LOVE that you shared all these photographs with us as well as the Brochure, and especially your personal experience with this interesting talented gentleman.

Darlene said...

I have always been dismayed the way Americans destroy their heritage and am happy when some of it is preserved. Loving restoration is truly a work of art.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Just beautiful Judy. I love looking at old homes like elegant. Thanks for these pictures....kind of gives me a glimpse into another world.

Diane Mandy said...

It's exactly as I would picture a Beaufort home. Just lovely!

Dianne said...

I love the kitchen!!

rosemary said...

My goodness....absolutely beautiful. i could live in that place....I love stuff, blue stuff, fancy stuff, overdone stuff, just anything that is old and lovely.

Sheri said...

I love photos of the interior of old houses. Hope to being seeing some in London in a month.

P.S. I am friends with Travelin'Oma and follow the links of those who follow her blog. That's how you missed me. No big deal I'm not much of a blogger!