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WilmingtonBiz Magazine

The Takeaway: The Golden Ceiling

By Staff Reports, posted Jun 28, 2023
(Photo by Madeline Gray)
When Sullivan Anlyan and her brother, Matthew, started on a project to gild the Preston Restaurant’s dining room ceiling, they didn’t know how many hours it would take – and the unexpected turn of events that would keep the results temporarily out of view.

Sullivan Anlyan (Sullivan Anlyan Art), an artist with experience using gold leaf in her work, and Matthew Anlyan (Bearded Owl Studio), a woodworker based in Wilmington, spent three days hand-applying thin, metallic leaf to the fine-dining restaurant’s 13-foot ceiling.

It was one part of a recent extensive, $3.5 million renovation of not just the fine-dining restaurant but also The Graystone Inn that housed it. The historical landmark/bed-and-breakfast at 101 S. Third St. caught fire June 15 – less than a week after the posh restaurant and its golden canopy opened to the public. Wilmington fire officials said the cause was an accidental kitchen fire. 

The smoke and water damage prompted the inn and restaurant to close, but Jamie Alfalla, one of the inn’s owners, said the gold ceiling endured.

“We’re looking to reopen as quickly as possible,” Alfalla said the day after the fire. “We’re talking about probably a six-month renovation to reopen. It is devastating, but we are optimistic.”
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