Embracing Mostly Hall’s history

Published 5:18 pm Friday, June 22, 2012

Those who recently attended an open house at Mostly Hall included, left to right, Happy McLeod, broker/owner of New View Realty; Dan Ferebee, new owner; and Linda Merrick Frieze, former resident of Mostly Hall. (photo by Chris Bartol)

Dan Ferebee loved the home he was renting in Tryon, but he wanted something of his own to cherish and lovingly restore.
Ferebee is an interior designer, after all, the owner of Bravo Interiors in Tryon. And what interior designer doesn’t love a project?
Ferebee said after scouring the area and not finding exactly what he was looking for in a home, his broker Happy McLeod showed him Mostly Hall, off Fox Trot Lane in Tryon.
“It was immediate. It was like when I walked in, the house hugged me,” Ferebee said.
McLeod said she knew it was the right home for Ferebee – something an interior designer could appreciate with all of its historic and unique features.
“His face lit up,” McLeod said. “He walked in the house and he said, ‘This is it.’ Sometimes you just know that about a home.”
This home in particular, with its 4,000 square feet spread across three floors, involves many historical connections to local families.
The home was built in 1912 for photographer Chris Bartol’s great-grandmother, Emma Payne Erskine, a nationally known author. Anson and Joy Merrick purchased the home from Faye and Carter Brown in the 1950s.
Ferebee held an open house in late May inviting a number of his friends and community members to view the home. Those guests also included one very special attendee – Linda Merrick Frieze.
Frieze, daughter of Anson and Joy Merrick, grew up in Mostly Hall.
“She walked through the house and told me stories of living here – where her bedroom was and how they would get back into the house through the laundry chute in the basement whenever they forgot keys,” Ferebee said. “That was such a treasure to have her visit.”
Frieze was 9 years old when her family moved in, and she lived there until she left home for college. She had not visited the home since her parents sold it back in the 1980s.
Frieze said she was overjoyed to visit.
“It brought back a lot of memories,” she said. “Christmas was beautiful there and I remember the snows, which were always so enjoyable.”
Frieze said the visit also evoked memories of the tire swings her father constructed and camping out on the sleeping porches in the summer.
The 1900s sleeping porch once ran the entire front length of the home with several other porches connected to bedrooms on the backside. Those sleeping porches will eventually transform into sitting rooms, a laundry room and a master bathroom, Ferebee said of his plans.
Instead of replacing the old windows in the home, of which there are more than a dozen across the front alone, Ferebee said he wants to have them painstakingly restored. This is no small feat, as only a skilled artisan can work on the historic beveled glass, Ferebee said.
Ferebee wasted no time getting started, completing a lot of work even in just the first three weeks of owning the home. He had crews reshape the once-round columns in the open living area downstairs and restructure an opening from the kitchen to what will become his main living room.
He selected cool blue grays to coat the main walls. The floors will receive a Jacobean stain to complement the blue tones of the walls.
Ferebee said his hope is to create a cool and inviting atmosphere in the home once again. Frieze said inviting and festive is exactly what she remembers the home being in her youth.
“It was a beautiful home – such a grand old lady,” Frieze said. “My parents used to have wonderful parties there. They would roll up the rugs and there would be dancing, while many of the adults who loved to sing would gather in the kitchen and sing.”
Bartol said his parents were good friends with the Merrricks, so he too remembers many a Christmas or cocktail party spent there. McLeod enjoys a personal connection as well, having spent much time at the home through high school and college because she and Merrick were such good friends, she said.
“To go back and be a part of it with so many connections was a fun thing to do,” McLeod added.

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