Georgian on My Mind
A grand home exudes a playful happiness
by Jesma Reynolds
photographs by Catherine Nguyen
“Spitttin’ distance” is an apt Southernism to describe the distance between Pam and George Clark’s house on Clark Avenue and Snoopy’s Hot Dogs & More on Hillsborough Street, but that’s where any connection stops. Take one step through their iron gate, and it’s immediately clear that theirs is a world apart – from everything around it. Cloistered behind a serpentine brick wall, a breathtaking Georgian home with a stately two-story, white-columned porch overlooks a sweeping front lawn bordered with hydrangeas.
The house has been the Clarks’ since 2003, when a need to renovate the house they were living in inspired them to take a look at what was on the market. When they found the Clark Avenue property for sale, they didn’t think twice. The classic residence had been extensively renovated and modernized by notable architects Perry & Plummer, who had used it as their personal home.
One of the house’s most distinct features is its tower, which was salvaged by the architects from Fayetteville’s old high school. As providence would have it, Pam Clark, who is from Fayetteville, has many relatives – including her mother – who attended the school when the tower was still intact. Today, with its large-scale circular windows, carved mouldings, and soaring 12-foot ceiling, the square space has become a favorite room for the couple to spend their mornings.
The classic architectural details of the house itself provide a lofty framework for Pam Clark’s evolving tastes, her love of color, and her mastery of mixing high and low. Within its stately rooms are flea market finds, pithy signs and pillows, quirky vintage wares, and traditional furniture. In the living room, a funky blue bubble-lit mirror (likely a carousel fragment) is a nod to Pam Clark’s fun-loving spirit. And because she loves a deal, she’s proud to share that her guest room is furnished with finds from Ikea, Target, and flea markets.
Gracious entertainers, the Clarks have often opened their home over the years for numerous parties, house swaps with friends, and recently, their daughter’s wedding reception. In 2012, Pam Clark converted their freestanding garage – topped with a weathervane from the same Fayetteville high school – into a business called The Fort at 3512 where she sells “conventional and unexpected” gifts and vintage finds. She announces The Fort’s irregular hours with weekly emails to her customers that note when “the door will be UP,” times that often coincide with happy hour, which gives her another opportunity for entertaining and gathering.
A master gardener, Pam Clark has designed the house’s beautiful formal gardens, too. Around the pool and terrace are trimmed hedges, statues, and topiary echoing the classical style of the house. It is a cool spot where the Clarks often retreat and invite friends. Even in such a refined setting, Pam Clark’s whimsy is still at play: “faux fescue” ottomans serve as extra seating under a canvas cabana, and placemats of the same material rest beneath china and Vietri flatware on an outdoor dining table.
As with any gracious home, the Clarks have imbued their residence with comfort and warmth that is a reflection of their needs and styles. The result is a home that is both exuberant and energetic.