An Ideal Marriage

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Allison Hersh explores the thoughtful, playful renovation of a 19th-century Italianate mansion that blends the best of old and new. Photography by Richard Leo Johnson. 

Pete and Lorraine Galloway have renovated 12 houses over the past 27 years, including a Victorian home in Chattanooga,Tenn., a restored church in Washington, D.C., and a contemporary residence in Bangkok,Thailand.

However, their most treasured project is the 1879 Italianate mansion near Monterey Square that now serves as their home base.  This well-traveled couple, who work as international software industry consultants, fell head-over-heels for the exquisite, four-story brick manor and spent 10 months overseeing a strategic renovation that respected the home’s historic qualities while adding fun, contemporary touches.

“The house has its own sense of being and we didn’t want to change that,” says Pete.  “We wanted it to have a light, airy, open feeling because that’s what makes us comfortable.  We knew we could put our stamp on it.”

With the help of Andy and Becky Lynch, AIA, of Lynch Associates Architects, the Galloways made themselves at home.  Targeting specific areas for improvement, they added several rooftop living areas, redesigned the kitchen and bathrooms and removed a dated addition, combining several smaller rooms to create spacious living areas.

A Balancing Act

Importantly, every act of renovation was balanced by preservation.  The Lynches and the Galloways carefully protected the home’s original plaster moldings and used period-appropriate materials throughout their work.

“We were respectful of the original details, but took out the extra details that had been added later,” Becky explains.  “The scale of the house is gorgeous.  It’s full of light and is defined by an amazing attention to detail.  The renovation speaks to the great bones of the house.”

Today, the renovated areas successfully bridge the gap between the traditional and the contemporary, embodying the best of Savannah by mixing past and present in stylish combinations.  Creative design touches, sumptuous finishes, plush textures and clever visual juxtapositions define the home’s interiors.

A double parlor on the home’s main level contrasts traditional gold-and-crystal chandeliers, restored hardwood floors and original double fireplaces with funky zebra-print throw rugs, sleek furnishings and vibrant blown-glass accents.  The ultra-contemporary kitchen by Savannah Kitchen & Bath incorporates ladders to reach high shelves and mirrored-glass cabinets, while bathrooms are defined by edgy chrome fixtures, polished, black stone walls and chic, pewter-gray tile floors.

Fun by Design

Rather than hire an interior designer, the Galloways decided to hand-select every piece of furniture and ponder every wall color, painting as many as 20 swatches on the plaster before making a final decision.  Fortunately, they share a great eye for style and enjoy taking the time to find just the right work of art or decorative accent to complete a room.

“We had a lot of fun with the colors,” Pete recalls.  “We used neutrals that have some pop.”

The furnishings complete the home’s interiors, offering fun, sometimes unexpected details, from dark brown crocodile-textured tile to four whimsical wool-topped stools that could be right at home in a Dr. Seuss book.  Dozens of original paintings ranging from traditional landscapes to expressionistic portraits and rainbow-hued pieces of art glass reflect Pete and Lorraine’s international travels and their shared love of beautiful objects.

“We looked for the right pieces for each of the rooms in the house,” Pete explains.  “That’s part of the fun for us.”

Space to Celebrate

Because Pete and Lorraine love to entertain, it was important that their home include a range of social spaces where they could host late-night soirées and cocktails under the stars.

During sultry summer months and wet winters, this busy couple enjoys dining in the living room and lounging in the library.  In the spring and fall, however, they gravitate to the rooftop deck and garden, which offers unobstructed views all the way to Forsyth Park to the south.  The deck is also outfitted with a gas grill and kitchen for al fresco cooking.

“It’s a great party house,” says Pete, who loves the newly added 600 square feet of outdoor living space.  “We’re thrilled with how everything turned out.  There’s no place we’d rather be.”

With 12 renovations under his belt, that’s high praise indeed.

The Galloway Stats »

Year built:  1879

Year purchased:  2010

Square footage:  7,800

Accommodations:  4 bedrooms, 4 full baths, 4 powder rooms

Time to complete:  10 months

The Galloway Referrals »

Architects/planners:  Lynch Associates Architects

Interior designers:  Pete and Lorraine Galloway

Contractor/builder:  Pete Galloway

Roof:  Chris Hobby, Hobby Brothers Roofing

Tile: Garden State Tile

Tilework:  Mike Adams, M.T. Adams Tile & Stone

Floor refinishing:  Larry Cowart, Cowart’s Floor Sanding

Paint/wallpaper:  Benjamin Moore, B & B Paint Company

Painter:  Robert (Tony) Brown

Special finishes:  Christie Smith

Plasterwork:  Javier Garcia

Windows/doors:  Jerry Beasley, J&B Millwork

Metalwork:  Eddie Boaen, Pipe Solutions

Masonry:  David Andrews, Andrews Masonry

Electrician:  Tom Stephenson, Next Generation Electric

Carpenters:  Chris Thompson, Details Residential Restoration; Ronnie Morgan, Ronnie Morgan Framing

Kitchen/bath design:  Amy and Lukejohn Dickson, Savannah Kitchen & Bath

Appliances:  Miele, from Savannah Kitchen & Bath

Plumbing fixtures:  Sandpiper Supply and Savannah Kitchen & Bath

Plumber:  Steve Radach, Radach Plumbing

HVAC:  Geoff Morrell, Air Quest

Landscape design: Savannah’s Secret Garde