When Mayra Lehman-Grimes and her husband, Shawn, were looking for a new home, they knew they wanted something with a large yard for their family to enjoy. Cocktails with friends led to an opportunity to purchase the stately former home of Frances and Wentworth Caldwell. The French Colonial home, built in 1930 by H.G. Hill Sr. for his daughter and son-in-law, is perched atop a rolling hill that leads to a babbling creek below and rests on 15 acres of stunningly restored grounds.

The home, purchased by the couple in 2019, had beautiful bones and was ready for a refresh to bring it back to its original glory while adding elements for a modern family. There were holes in the roof and repairs needed throughout. Mayra — working with her architect, Julie Hay with Hay Design in Huntsville, Alabama, and builder, Mark Tant with The Tant Companies, and using anecdotes from the family — meticulously worked to restore what she could throughout the house while also repurposing elements that might otherwise have been removed.

Throughout the home, floors were restored, while rooms were repurposed to change the flow of the space. Where details needed to be replaced or changed, Mayra carefully chose designs and custom woodwork that echoed the original work throughout the home. The end result is a stunning home with a palate of muted pastels that are soothing, warm and inviting to guests.

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A Grand Entrance

The entrance to the home is a perfect example of staying true to the original design. Little was changed from the design, other than restoration work and the removal of a mural, which was later gifted to a member of the Hill family. The foyer retains the original grand staircase, tile floor, doors and crown molding. The striking tile flooring, which was popular in the 1920s, is a bold entrance before the eye is drawn up the curved staircase.

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The Dining Room

Mayra transitioned the formal sitting room into a formal dining room. Here, she preserved the fireplace and the gilt mirror that hangs above but modernized the palate to a soft white. She preserved the original red oak floors and used a dark stain to make the room pop. Fred Cox art has been used to add dimension to the room.

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The “New Room”

While the dining room was once a beautiful sitting room, no one wanted to sit in it. They all wanted to sit in the “new room,” which has been converted to the family room. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer beautiful views overlooking the expansive lawn and the creek below. Additionally, the room has original and rare pecan wood cabinets that were restored and are used by the family today.

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Bedrooms

Creating peaceful spaces was important for Mayra as she worked through the design of the home. The second floor of the home is dedicated to the bedrooms. Beautiful light fills the rooms, creating a soft, effervescent energy. The wallpaper she chose for the children’s rooms are matching patterns in coordinating colors, with soft touches of white linens for the beds. Mayra combined two bedrooms to create the master suite. The spacious suite includes a bathroom with a deep tub, as well as a separate shower and a Jack and Jill closet.

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The Grounds

When Mayra and Shawn began to explore purchasing the home, they met members of the family to talk to them about the house and listen to their memories. Beautiful stories were told and retold, and photos of the home and the grounds began to surface. “[One of] our favorite part[s] has been trying to re-create the grounds based on a picture from the early ‘50s that Annie and Edward Jackson of the Hill family let us borrow at the beginning of the process,” says Shawn. “The pond that was completely buried now is a beautiful fountain and home to numerous fish. The great blue heron that lives on our property does not seem bothered, as he has plenty to eat in the creek, which is occupied by many turtles, river otters, beavers, ducks and geese.”

Photographs by Daniel Meigs