Though the house is but a few years old, it has the regal bearing of a much more venerable structure. That impression is reinforced with Old-World character radiating from each elegantly appointed room, where black-walnut floors gleam underfoot and bespoke doors are made of the same unique wood. Muted Oriental rugs add color and pattern, and the dining room boasts exquisite hand-painted Gracie wallpaper that took more than a year to create, as well as custom-made chandeliers based on some the Paynes once admired during a tour in Europe.
Claire, who served as her own decorator, has filled the interiors with a sophisticated mix of beloved family heirlooms and exceptional antiques discovered on the couple’s trips abroad. One of the loveliest examples of the former is a circa seventeenth-century mirror from George’s late great-uncle’s estate, now the location for Chattanooga’s prestigious Hunter Museum of Art.