Lisa Mende

Lisa Mende

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The Makings of a Savannah Dream Home

Jay Gould, President and CEO of American Standard Brands has spent years building value for such storied brands as General Mills, Coke, and Newell Rubbermaid. While orchestrating a historic turnaround of American Standard from his home in Princeton, NJ, Jay has simultaneously undertaken a detailed remodeling project to create a second home in historic Savannah for himself and his wife, Arlene Warsaw Gould, a Savannah native.

Lisa Mende of Lisa Mende Design will chronicle design and material choices as Jay and Arlene make their dream home come to life on the banks of the Savannah River.  “I am always fascinated to discover someone who has a vision and interest in restoring properties such as the homes and buildings of Savannah,” says the Charlotte, NC-based interior designer.  Lisa will be contributing posts on a regular basis for the next few months. We invite you to follow along!

In her first two posts, Lisa introduces us to the seductive beauty of this historic Southern city, its architecture and its history. We invite you on a journey through the past and into the conceptualization and design of one of Savannah's newest and finest homes.

Savannah Georgia Spanish moss

One of the most interesting cities in America due to its history, architecture and design is Savannah, Georgia.  

Pass through the modern Talmadge Memorial Bridge  into the historic streets of Savannah, and a heightened sense of history and culture washes over you.  

Talmadge Memorial Bridge

The bridge serves as a gentle transition from modern culture to a place which feels as though you have traveled back in time and are experiencing a living museum.   Savannah may have been the 13th and final colonial capital established by Britain in the United States, but it is certainly one of most important noted today by historians due to its many historical attributes.     

Savannah Historic District

Savannah's rich history centers on its historic district.  The best way to experience the city of Savannah is on foot, largely because of its original design, created by founder James Oglethorpe.  Oglethorpe was a visionary.  His plan was several years in the planning prior to setting sail from London.  The Oglethorpe Plan is the earliest example of urban planning in the United States and continues to be studied by urban planners today.  The design consists of park squares offering pedestrian friendly walking which is conducive for leisurely strolling.    

Savannah is considered one of the most beautiful cities in America, because of its park-like settings centered on statues and landmarks, bordered by beautiful tree and floral plantings.  

statue of John Wesley, Savannah

Each ward, named in memory or honor of a famous person or event centers around a park-like square. A statue of John Wesley marks his contribution as the founder of Methodism in Reynolds Square.  The first four squares in Oglethorpe's plan were named Johnson, Ellis, Telfair and Wright.  .

Reynolds Square Handmade Bricks, Savannah


Every street and building in Savannah gives hints of historical reference.  On Reynolds Square, the handmade bricks on the sidewalk are stamped with the letters "Reynolds Square."   

Horse drawn Carriage, Savannah

Savannah Trolley Tour

There are also tours of Savannah provided by romantic horse-drawn carriages and trolley cars that pass across cobblestone streets lined by large oak trees draped in Spanish moss, wrought iron gates, and second-story balconies of iconic architectural buildings that are all elements that create the beauty of Savannah.  To think, all of this beauty created by the vision of one man.  James Oglethorpe, who was a visionary and a dreamer.

I am thrilled to have you join me while I chronicle The Gould's renovation of their Savannah residence. I immediately thought of Jay as a modern day Oglethorpe.   Like Oglethorpe, Jay is a visionary and innovator.  He is a leader who wishes to bring growth and leadership to the brands he serves, much like Oglethorpe did in the early days of Savannah.          

Jay’s latest venture is establishing a new brand for American Standard, called "DXV" which embodies classic designs from the past.  Interestingly, this concept exudes the modern essence of Savannah.  What better way for Jay to test his new product than in a place known for the very best in classic design? His new project is proof that Jay does more than create branding for companies. He puts his heart and soul into them. The residence is said not to have any specific historic or architectural significance, but I'm sure with The Gould's vision, the result will be an asset to Savannah's architectural landscape.