A grand home: Graham home opens this weekend for symphony tour

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2008

By Katie Scarvey
Shari and Bill Graham love to open up their home, whether it’s for a Meals on Wheels tour or a fundraising event for the Boy Scouts.
Shari realizes that people might be intimidated as they walk up to the 16,000 square foot French provincial home on Crenshaw Court.
“Is it big? Is it grand?” Shari asks. “Sure it is.”
But she hopes that when people come in, they’ll realize that it’s a home where like any other home, where family members cook and load the dishwasher and do the things that other people do.
“It has its formal areas,” Shari says, “but it’s lived in.”
The stately home, which Bill and Shari share with their two children, Perry, 17, and Caroline, 13, is located in the Crescent development, not far from where they met as students at Catawba College.
“Bill and I come from very humble beginnings,” Shari says. Growing up in a working class neighborhood outside of Philadelphia, she remembers having to share a single bathroom with three brothers.
She loves having a home now that’s large enough to accommodate lots of people ó and has plenty of bathrooms.
“I always wanted to have a big house full of kids,” she says.
A brass sculpture of two children playing hopscotch sits in the foyer near the entrance and “sets the tone for the house,” Shari says.
Visitors will be able to tour the Grahams’ home this Saturday and Sunday, as part of the Salisbury Symphony Guild’s Christmas Homes Tour.
All of this year’s homes are at the Crescent.
One of the attractions at the Grahams’ will be two Diana, Princess of Wales evening gowns on display.
Bill bought them for Shari at a Christie’s auction, and they’ve recently returned from being on display for six months at the Appleton Museum in Florida, as part of the Pink Ribbon Crusade fundraiser for breast cancer research.
Also on display will be Shari’s extensive Santa collection, which includes a Coca-Cola Santa.
Shari’s mother, Margaret Marshall, began giving Shari Santas when she was a little girl, and continued the tradition. She died in May.The house is only 9 years old, but with its large boxwoods and stately hardwood trees, it has the appearance of a venerable home with a history much longer than a decade.
“We wanted to keep the trees,” Shari says. “We tried to keep as many of the hardwoods as we could.”
Designed by architect Christopher Phelps and constructed by builder Alan Simonini, the home took about a year and a half to build, and while the Grahams had been warned that the construction process would be a nightmare, they enjoyed it, Shari says.
“I pinch myself every day when I drive up to this house,” she says. “We’re lucky we live here.”
Also on tour are the following homes:
– Banks and Faye Cline, 3205 Winged Foot Drive
– David and Charlotte Hall, 2805 Byron Drive
– David and Cathy Varner, 504 Sarazen Way
– Mike and Lynn Mills, 205 Hogans Valley Way
– John and Leigh Harlan, 315 Hogans Valley Way
The Crescent Pool and Golf Club, 230 Laurel Valley Way, will serve as the tour hospitality center. Tickets, refreshments and restrooms will be available there.
Strolling musicians will welcome guests to homes. (For a schedule of entertainment, see yesterday’s TimeOut section.)
Advance adult tickets are $12. Student tickets are $10. Tickets can be bought in advance at the Visitors Bureau, Caniche, A Step in Time, Salisbury Emporium, Attractions on Main, Pleasant Papers, Serendipity, Escape the Daily Grind, Crescent Pharmacy, China Grove Drug Co.
On tour days, tickets are available at Crescent Pool and Golf Club and the Visitors Bureau.
For information, call the Visitors Bureau at 704-638-3100.