The Dalton-Bell-Cameron house, built in 1914, was one of the most unique homes in High Point, North Carolina. Built in the Craftsman style, the house was quite different from its more traditional Victorian and Colonial neighbors. But the pioneering structure was stricken by two major fires—one in 1997 and the other in 2012—and by 2017 it was in such a forlorn state that the city ordered it be to be either repaired or demolished.
At that point, the High Point Preservation Society stepped in to save it, just prior to it being sold to Rick Lewis and his wife Margaret Bell Lewis, who had once lived there as a child. Following the purchase, the Society and the Junior League of High Point moved quickly to help with the goal of restoring the home. To assist the new owners with some of the restoration costs, they decided to raise funds by creating a showhouse in the historic home, enlisting a diverse group of 21 extraordinary designers to bring the interiors back to life.
In our recently released aspire design and home Showhouse Issue, we sat down with Gray Walker to learn more about her creative process in designing the Second Bedroom for this project.
aspire design and home: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a Eureka moment during the process?
Gray Walker: The challenge to me was creating the idea of what might be a unique space that was slightly out of the box. I wanted to merge a space that would be useful and glamorous at the same time.
aspire: What did you and your team accomplish that you thought would not happen in time?
Gray: Everything ran about how it was supposed to. There are always little glitches here and there. It’s the nature of what we do and a part of the job. It is what makes me tick, unfortunately!
aspire: What was your inspiration for this room?
Gray: I wanted to create a space for the lady of the house to hang out in … like a man cave for a woman. This woman is independent and has her own interests that she is passionate about! A room to unwind in read, love her life and feed her passions! This particular woman loves gardening which is the inspiration behind the zinnias!
aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Gray: The room is true to my style. I don’t think I ever create anything that isn’t innate. The black is something that is a bit edgy I think.
aspire: Despite the fact that there were so many designers involved, there is an inherent cohesiveness to the home. Did you all converse/collaborate? Or was this a completely individual process?
Gray: No. We (at least I) didn’t have communication with the other designers on color and pattern. What we did have communication on is what the space would function as.
aspire: Is your preference for a show house a small space or a large space? Does one or the other provide a better opportunity to stretch your creativity?
Gray: I am a designer who likes well-edited spaces. I pack the punch in with key objects so the room can breathe. It’s the same amount of brainwork with large or small space because the conceptual part has to be there… the physical part is different with a larger space.
aspire: Describe the town of High Point in one sentence.
Gray: A quiet town that hosts a world fair twice a year.
This or That?
aspire: Paint or wallpaper?
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
Gray: Area rug on hardwood
aspire: Beach or Mountains?
aspire: Saturated Color or Black and White?
Gray: Saturated color
aspire: Brunch or Dinner?
aspire: Midcentury or 18 Century?
Gray: 18th century
aspire: Draperies, shades, or nothing?
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Gray: The English Patient
aspire: Week at the spa or Week of Broadway shows?
Click Here to view more interviews with our High Point designers.
Photography by Dustin Peck.
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