Monday, April 23, 2012

Can a house be historic and new? — Linbrook Hall

Linbrook Hall
Every year, Jerry Neal performs a tribute to Guglielmo Marconi (inventor of the telegraph) at his lovely Linbrook Estate in Randolph County, North Carolina. I'd always thought the show sounded interesting, but had never seen it. When I found out that Neal planned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic in this year's rendition, I especially wanted to go.

I love this grand staircase!
I got to tour the main floor of Linbrook Hall before the show. The house, with its 18th-century architecture and furnishings, is only about eight years old. Jerry and Linda Neal wanted to build a home with a classic, timeless feel, near the land where Jerry's ancestors have lived for the past 250 years. (You can see more photos here.) But they don't live in it — the Neals live nearby and use the grand house for charity and private events.

Small signs told about particularly old antiques and family mementos. The large kitchen is modern, with walk-in refrigerators, but the stone counters and antique-style ovens fit right in with the rest of the house. I noticed that every room had at least a few books as part of the decor.

Notice the rolling staircase on the right.
Of course, my favorite room was the library. I just had to walk around the room and peruse the titles. I especially liked the moveable staircase, complete with decorative railing at the top.

Linbrook Hall at night
The event included wine and cheese on the patio outside the breezeway, and the evening air was perfect. 

I shyly sat next to a couple and we introduced ourselves. They turned out to be my mom's long-time neighbors! I had heard their names mentioned for years, but rarely met them because of their travels. We had a lovely time talking about their recent trip to Asia.
Just before dusk, we went inside to see Jerry Neal's presentation of "Marconi Speaks," which I wrote about here.

Interior photos courtesy of Linbrook Heritage Estate.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary ticket to this event through my chamber of commerce membership, with no obligation to write about it.

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