By June Naylor
Photos courtesy of Carr Mansion
When Joellyn Moynahan became an innkeeper on Galveston Island two years ago, her mission was infusing a yesteryear bed and breakfast with new life. In refashioning the 1866 Greek Revival structure now open as Carr Mansion, she enlisted Austin-based designer Shannon Eddings to roll out a blend of period antiques with midcentury and contemporary styles to create a best-of-all-worlds lodging. The grand home has become a getaway destination that we love as a luxurious winter escape.
In common areas and each of the eight guest suites, the fresh look is achieved by a mix of vintage furniture and rugs found at Houston resale shops, new rugs from West Elm and Wayfair, paintings discovered in island antique stores, and prints found online. Assorted tables, light fixtures and objets d’art rounded up from vintage stores and online shops share often mysterious origins and diverse pedigrees.
“We wanted a modern, elegant design that works with the character and history of the home,” Moynahan says of the inn, where half the rooms have big, ornate beds now outfitted with contemporary bedding. “The idea was to mix colors, styles and textures of new and old. Each room is different, with its own personality.”
Just inside the front door, beyond the veranda equally suited to a morning cup of coffee or an afternoon glass of wine, the front parlor offers a representative tableau. Through an elegant archway, seating options include a newly upholstered antique settee dating from the 1920s and two re-covered midcentury modern chairs matched to a pair of new chairs complementary in style and color. A new retro-inspired coffee table in an egg shape anchors the seating arrangement. Two super-comfy vintage leather chairs that recline a bit were happy finds that Moynahan had restored.
Sunlight spills into the room through soaring windows, across the mix of old and new rugs that echo the blue, rust and caramel color palette. Amplifying the natural light, an antique brass chandelier hangs from an original ceiling medallion, while a midcentury table lamp sits between the leather chairs. Walls are hung with assorted nautical prints and paintings as well as art of water birds.
The downstairs suite, The Governor, is named for Richard Coke, the Texas governor who called the mansion his summer home long ago. The room’s ornate 1866 fireplace commands attention, and its adjacent sitting area, furnished with 1960s chairs in mustard-colored brushed velvet, invites settling in for a happy hour cocktail that Moynahan can provide. The enormous Serena & Lily Ryder Denim Rug, in wool and denim, was found in a resale shop but is still available new online. A silver tea service on a wicker trunk is a Moynahan family heirloom.
Upstairs suites include The Merchant, with its carved mahogany bed set within the home’s turret. One of the house’s clawfoot tubs is tucked away in its own alcove, hidden by a folding rattan screen next to two deeply comfortable leather pub chairs. The Grocer suite features another footed tub in an alcove and a 1950s rug from Poland spreading out in front of the original fireplace. The sunny sectional sofa was plucked from a 1960s-era lanai.
Each suite has its own special place for enjoying a flute of bubbly and hors d’oeuvres before setting out for dinner. But do plan on lounging around the mansion plenty; honestly, leaving these cozy environs isn’t easy.