I’m am just beyond myself with today’s engagement session. Stephanie and Kurt joined me at the historic Carr Mansion on Galveston Island for a quiet afternoon engagement session. Proprietress Joellyn welcomed us into the bed & breakfast with open arms.
This place is pretty much a manifestation of all of my house dreams! Interior designer Shannon Eddings did such an amazing job marrying the home’s history with a modern, coastal beauty.
Carr Mansion is a mid-nineteenth century Greek Revival mansion constructed in 1866 by Lewis W. Carr. Just a few short years after it’s building, the mansion was sold to former Texas Governor Richard Coke in 1870 to be used as his family’s summer home.
Fast forward a few years and the latest owners John and Ida Gross have big plans for the home. They bring architect Nicholas Clayton in on a project to expand the house to include a Queen Anne style ballroom and two additional bedrooms. The ballroom at the from of the mansion included a grand looking turret and bay windows. Two fireplace mantels where imported from Europe for the new ballroom and the dining room.
After the initial expansion and remodel, the Gross family embarked on a second project which included the addition of indoor plumbing, electricity, a remodeled dining room, extra bedrooms and more.
The Carr Mansion, surely by some stroke of luck, survived the 1900 Galveston hurricane known simply as The Great Storm. The hurricane still remains the deadliest natural disaster in United States history. In 1902 during grade raising around the island, the mansion was elevated 8 feet, stairs were added, as well as a pair of lions to mark the entrance.
In 1950 the Gross family sold the home and for the next six decades it would see multiple owners and multiple purposes including use as a private residence, a church, a boarding house and a lodge. In 2017 a new investment team, with lofty goals for a thoughtful revitalization, began restoration on the Carr Mansion.
I think my favorite part is that each room is named in honor of a previous owner. For instance The Governor room pays homage to Texas’ 15th governor Richard Coke who briefly owned the home in the 1870’s. It’s hard to declare a favorite room, but I think I might be most drawn to the The Grocer and The Church Lady. If I was feeling particularly moxie, I’d choose The Merchant.
We photographed in the main areas of the mansion and just a few of the bedrooms. I wanted to create scenarios in each room that matched the vibe. For instance, the very mid-century looking mustard yellow couch in The Grocer reminds me of 1950’s entertaining, so I prompted Kurt and Stephanie with that vision. I LOVE the photos of them looking so classic yet relaxed. Meanwhile, in “the pub” with it’s rich, dark wood and floor to ceiling glass door cabinets they sipped sparkling wine as if in a cafe in Paris.
If you’re looking for a unique location for your engagement session, or searching to book a venue for an intimate wedding (check out this fall Galveston wedding inspiration), I can’t recommend this place enough.
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