Page 76 - Montecito Journal Glossy Edition Winter Spring 2012/13

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spr ing
design a Mission-inspired home with expansive views for David Gray.
He laid out a sweeping driveway that twisted from its entrance at Alston
Road and Camino Viejo to the crest of the hill where, according to local
writer Rosario Curletti in a 1951 article, a “princely abode of native stone
emerged from the solid rock of the hillside.” The
Morning Press
of 1921
related, “Not a tree in a group of oaks was disturbed by the big house.
Some seem to spring from beneath its very walls, and that is one thing
which gives it a permanent, settled and aged air.”
Cutting and trimming of the stonework of the foundation and fascia
of the house and walls were done from the rear so the stones retained the
lichens and brown stains of great age. The courtyard added to the illusion
of antiquity by the use of rocks and slabs of cement of irregular shapes
where threads of grass grew “like the vegetation between the flags in an
ancient monastery.”
North of the entrance gates, Sauter built a combined garage and
service quarters of brick with a cement finish and stone foundations. Five
stalls for cars were flanked by suites of service quarters.
the house
boasted a number of master
bedrooms, five bathrooms, and four servants’ bedrooms with two
bathrooms. Much of the flooring was of handmade Batchelder tile. On the
main floor, heavy exposed beams dominated the music room. Wrought
iron grills, screens, window latches, hinges and gates designed by Sauter
took six years to complete. There was also a library, living room, billiards
room, several galleries, and an entrance cloister. The basements contained
a wine room, machinery room, laundry with ironers, dye vats, range, rubs
and dryers as well as a shooting hall.
As the house neared completion, the Grays embarked on a shopping
expedition to Europe. They returned with a treasure-trove of antiques
and objets d’art to furnish their new residence. On a visit to the home
in 1951, Rosario Curletti noted “vestments stiff with gold and silver,
statues prized for centuries, tapestries that are the true art of Europe,
carved chests of polished woods, sculptured fountains of Italian marble,
and such saints’ statues as make one pause in prayerful admiration.” The
famed Blue Corner where the entrance cloister and the dining room
met was decorated with “gleaming silver Venetian mirrors, silver copes,
massive silver candlesticks adorned with crowns and coats of arms, and…
a breathtaking Flemish tapestry of blues and silver and beige.” The Grays
had created a living museum of European decorative art, and David Gray
had joined the ranks of the Hill Top Barons.
David and Martha Gray usually spent winters in Santa Barbara and
summers in Nantucket. In between, they traveled extensively and had a
home in Detroit as well. Joining others of his ilk, he installed a pipe organ
in his home and hired the famous organist Dion Kennedy to play on it. A
newspaper account in 1926 reported, “About 100 music lovers enjoyed the
concert in the music room, hall, and billiard room in the home with its
soft and antique finishings and furnishings with the magnificent sweep of
view from the windows out over the green landscape and the shimmering
Photo of the first and the 10 millionth Ford which traveled the Lincoln Highway,
the first transcontinental road improved for automobile traffic, in 1924 (Courtesy of
Library of Congress)
Graholm’s covered arcades led to several courtyards. Roland Sauter designed all
the iron grillwork and fixtures, which took six years to complete. (Photo courtesy of
Santa Barbara Historical Museum)