Only one lonely mattress met its end in the construction dumpster outside Graylyn’s Mews. Every other piece of the furniture displaced by the renovations in the building found a new home in another university-managed building, at Kinnamon’s Consignment store, or with a community member through Habitat for Humanity.

The Mews originally functioned as the stable for the manor house. It was not until the late 1980s that the space was transformed into 45 guest rooms, a conference room, and a dining facility when Graylyn became a hotel and conference center.

After nearly 25 years of occupancy, the time had come for an upgrade to the historic property. As part of the renovation, the number of rooms will decrease to 35 to create more spacious sleeping quarters for guests.

Though John Wise, Assistant Vice President of Hospitality Services, and his team will not pursue LEED certification for the renovation, they are trying to make the new space as open, inviting and sustainable as possible.

“We are using LEED principles as much as we can and following the universities initiatives for new building construction practices,” Wise said.

Most of the new furniture that will furnish these larger rooms is sourced from regional manufacturers; the architects tried to incorporate as much natural light as possible, given the constraints of the space.

“We can’t exactly knock holes in the roof and walls of this building. That’s not the right thing to do for a historic place” Wise said. “We are trying to balance current sustainable practices with the responsibility of taking care of this historic landmark.”

Graylyn is registered on the National Register of Historic Places and is a landmark with local historical importance.

Renovations will be completed this April. An open house is scheduled for April 9th. You can follow the Mews renovations on the Graylyn blog.

By Caitlin Brooks, Wake Forest Fellow