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Culture / Travel

Historic Galveston Mansion Saved From Disrepair, Turned Into a New Hotel

Stepping Back in Time to a New Future

BY // 06.15.18
photography Maggie Kloss

Over the course of more than 150 years, Galveston’s historic Carr Mansion has withstood the Great Storm of 1900, been passed from one notable Texan to another, been converted to an inn, and finally fallen into disrepair. But now, the survivor has been transformed into a stunner.

The Carr Mansion is now a picturesque bed-and-breakfast set to open on Monday, July 9. The elegant Greek Revival-style estate sits at 1103 33rd, 10 blocks from the Seawall beaches and just over 12 blocks from the Strand. The 8,000-square-foot residence boasts its incredible original bones and a fresh, contemporary interior fit for today’s travelers.

The eight suites are tied together by Austin-based designer Shannon Eddings’ love of whimsy, respect for the past, and touches of the present. She blended the original molding, woodwork, and fireplaces with refurbished and repainted claw-foot tubs and contemporary fixtures.

Paying homage to the coast’s cultural heritage shaped Eddings’ vision.

“I looked at the design, architecture, and culture of when it was built, and then fused that with where we are now,” she tells PaperCity. She sought to revitalize the space, not recreate it with Victorian furniture and heavy art.

“I’ve always been drawn to big historic homes, townhouses, Brooklyn brownstones, and apartments in Paris,” she says. “Homes with really ornate detailing on the inside. I love the juxtaposition of that with modern furnishings.” The radical remodel was ripe with potential. “I think it was a dream project. I had complete creative oversight.”

Getting started, she pored over pages of her favorite design magazines, dove into Parisian designers’ Instagrams, and performed tireless research into Galveston’s rich past.

The Texas coast opened up a whole new world of inspiration, married with European heritage. Eddings knew early on there was no place for “beach cliche” vibes in this classic place of grandeur in the town by the shore. But the peaceful ocean directed her color palette. “I tried to embrace blues throughout and keep it light and airy, especially in the parlor room in the front,” she says.

The parlor holds a special place for her. “At first I was going for monochromatic in there — blue walls, blue ceilings, blue curtains. But I couldn’t help myself. I got some really cool Belgian chairs. Because of that, I ended up adding some warmth to the space.”

Carr Mansion History

Originally built in 1866 by General Lewis W. Carr, the resilient mansion has been home to former Texas Governor Richard Coke, along with a colorful cast of Texan characters. Eddings named each of Carr Mansion’s glamorous suites for its former tenants.

“We named it to honor the people who had actually lived here,” Eddings says.

 The Socialite is a flight of fancy, a mix of pastels and charcoal grays and black, with pink tasseled curtains over the claw-foot tub and a graphic striped rug.

Carr Mansion church lady room
The church lady lived in Carr Mansion with the preacher.

The Merchant, a rich mix of luxe green with a pastel pink Turkish rug, hearkens back to the era in which the home was built. Although she started off with a masculine feel, Eddings believes the stately rug balances out the big French leather chairs. Several of the room’s art pieces were found in Round Top.

The Preacher is light with seafoam trim and lavender and green accents. The rough-and-tumble map hanging above the bed is a vintage find from Nautical Antiques in Galveston.

Much of the artwork throughout the bed-and-breakfast was picked from consignment and antique shops in Houston, Dallas, Round Top, and as far away as Colorado and Santa Fe.

“There’s nothing quite like finding something that’s unique, that’s one-of-a-kind,” Eddings says. “Some were happy accidents. Kind of grouping things by color and realizing an antique still-life oil painting of flowers worked well with a blue-velvet settee.

Upstairs, the nautical gallery wall showcases all splashy depictions of ships from her vintage voyages.

 A stop in Houston took her to the beloved Guild Shop, where she purchased a pair of antique chairs. They sit beside one of the traditional fireplaces.

Guests can discover nods to Galveston’s rich past sprinkled throughout the bed-and-breakfast, from history books to maps and framed postcards that date back to the early 1900s.

Carr Mansion will open to the public for a preview party on Saturday, July 7.

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