For 20 years, Sunny Bailey led guests through Naylor Hall’s 19th-century rooms covered in forest green carpet. In between organizing weddings, bar mitvahs and corporate parties, she discreetly lifted a corner of the rug to make sure the original hardwoods were there. They were.
Then three years ago, Bailey finally realized a longtime dream. She and her husband, David, purchased the antebellum mansion that sits on Canton Street, just down from most of the restaurants. One of the first things they did was pull up the carpet and restore the original heart pine floorboards.
Since buying Naylor Hall, Sunny’s job has not changed. She still manages all the events at the house. But now she is making it her own.
“I always felt like it was mine,” Bailey said of Naylor Hall. “When people asked, ‘Is this your house?’ I would always smile and say, ‘Yes, it is my house.’ Because in my heart it is.”
The Baileys have been renovating the historic home – which was built in the 1840s by Barrington King, for H.W. Proudfoot, his bookkeeper at Roswell Mills – from top to bottom. They have added new furniture and light fixtures, painted the walls, swapped out curtains, replaced the roof and repaired the white-columned front porch with Brazilian teak wood. It’s a never-ending process, Sunny said.
“My goal was to really mix the old and the new,” Sunny said. “My goal was to make the house match the feeling people get. They really can’t explain why, but they just love being in the house.”
And now, the Baileys are realizing another dream of theirs. As part of the redesign, they just bought their first piece of original artwork to hang in Naylor Hall. They purchased three modern paintings from MarianneB van der Haar, an artist who is originally from the Netherlands and now lives in Tucker. Painted in bright acrylic, the paintings are hanging in the dining room, above the mantel in the foyer and in a room upstairs called “the bride’s room.”
As chance would have it, the artwork found Naylor Hall first. Van der Haar’s paintings were displayed at the house a few years ago during a Queens Day celebration, held by the Dutch Consulate in Atlanta. The Baileys fell in love, and last week, they brought the paintings back to stay.
It’s a splash of contemporary in the old house. At the time it was built, Naylor Hall was a much more modest home, a simple clapboard cottage. The house reportedly was used to hide Confederate uniforms during the Civil War and was badly damaged by Union troops. Proudfoot rebuilt and continued to live there until he died in 1874. Then in the 1920s, Colonel Harrison Broadwell bought the house and expanded it, adding the front porch and white gothic columns. Broadwell named the home after his wife’s family.
Today, there are more than 100 events a year held at Naylor Hall – from birthday parties to fundraisers and weddings.
Sunny and David both believe they were meant to own Naylor Hall. While David works in financial planning at Berkeley Capital, he has a passion for history.
“To restore it is a dream and [buying] the first piece of original artwork has always been a dream of ours,” David said.
For more information on Naylor Hall, or to book an event, visit the website.