ralph lauren polo bear One house on the Tacoma Historic Homes tour is the perfect marriage of architecture
One of seven North Proctor/Stevens houses on the fundraising tour (along with Bethany Presbyterian Church), the Gray House is, in fact, anything but gray in the story it has to tell. It was built in 1908 by Albert Gray, a voice professor at Whitworth College then located in Tacoma and a graduate of Harvard and the University of Paris. Designed by Harry Bingham Spear, the house was modeled after Longfellow House in Massachusetts and included a living/concert room that ran the length of the house from front to back. After the Grays moved with Whitworth to Spokane, the house had a succession of interesting owners: Eugene White, manager of the Tacoma Smelter, and his wife, Nellie, an accomplished pianist; magician John Hreha and his wife, LaMoyne, restaurateur and performer.
A refurbished butler’s pantry and kitchen combine modern fleur de lis floor tiles and pressed metal backsplash with antique European lamps, including two huge brass church chandeliers. Doing a lot of the renovation work themselves, Santiago Cummings and Sawyer spared no details: an island topped with a blond maple slab they hand sanded; two gold and green stained glass windows from Metz, France, which Sawyer learned how to repair and now rest in their own custom built glass frames. There’s even a couple of beer taps that connect to a keg in the basement, backed by a mahogany plate carved by Santiago Cummings.
Where: Seven North End homes with reception center at Bethany Presbyterian Church, 4420 N. 41st St., Tacoma. Other addresses provided with ticket purchase.
Tickets: $25 from Tacoma Historical Society Museum, 919 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; Pacific Northwest Shop; Stadium Thriftway and Columbia Bank branches (Pearl Street, Fircrest) and online.
Also: Complimentary food and drink at Bethany Presbyterian during tour. No food, drink or photography allowed in homes. Tour supports the Tacoma Historical Society. Wear walking shoes.