"When I was a struggling actor in the city, I lived in what would best be described as a 'hole.'" It’s the 1,400 square foot New York City-style loft artist and property manager Greg King could never afford when he lived in the Big Apple… located in the heart of downtown.
In 1996, Fayetteville’s “Marvin Plan” was in action and King had just moved back to North Carolina. “The neighborhood was a little rough around the edges, but I knew things would start to happen and change on Hay Street,” recalled King. A friend of King’s, architect (and neighbor) Eric Lindstrom, already owned a building that he renovated into an eclectic loft space. This alone was enough to inspire the young actor who found himself again in his hometown.
The two-story brick structure has been present through many moments in Fayetteville’s history. It was built in 1901 and was here for many events that have made our city what it is today. From all the great wars to Hay Street’s revamp, it’s been there the whole time. Known for a time as the “Central Café Building,” it was first home to Fayetteville Steam Laundry. Today, House of Hollywood boutique occupies the first floor and King dwells in the refurbished upper half.
Throughout the years, it was also home to King’s Clothiers and New York Café. So, was it meant to be that a certain Mr. King made the building his home? He thinks so.
In 1997, King acquired the now over 100-year-old building and began a massive undertaking of gutting the building plus renovation. There’s a possibility it holds the title of the largest do-it-yourself project downtown has ever seen. By 1999, the space was move-in ready and King began his search for unique furnishings.
Already knowing his own art would adorn the red brick walls, King’s pad features a mixture of old and new. It is complete with prime finds from various haunts in Manhattan to local Craig’s List steals and deals found in our “antique capital” of Cameron. His mother, an interior designer and his father, a real estate developer, both have an influence on their son’s interior aesthetic.
Having grown up around antiques and “old things,” King turned a vintage steel medicine depository into a kitchen cabinet and built the wood shelving around the piece. “It served as inspiration,” he said. Another big city find, a manufacturing cart from a closed factory, serves as a bookshelf.
Mounted on the red brick wall, the schoolhouse clock was once his grandmother’s. His spacious loft also features high ceilings with re-purposed factory windows from the old Coca-Cola factory on Ramsey Street.
Along with King’s paintings that focus on landmarks in Fayetteville from a Fort Bragg officers’ home to Market House, the loft’s showstopper is arguably the steel spiral staircase leading up to the rooftop patio, overlooking the cobblestoned Hay Street. King enjoys entertaining friends and family with wine (a favorite is Argentinean Malbec) and fine cheese spreads.
King usually relaxes in front of his easel located in the corner of his bedroom, painting scenes that he finds beautiful. Frequently, those scenes are in our town. But, don’t ask him what his favorite piece of artwork is. “That’s like asking me who’s my favorite kid!” he exclaimed. However, the one he most enjoys is his King Electric painting.
It’s the business that first brought his family to Fayetteville years ago. Surely Greg King will continue his lofty reign over Hay Street for many years to come.