Calling the Adamsleigh estate “private” is like calling Tiger Woods “famous.”
The words are accurate but insufficient.
The 17,000-square-foot mansion at Sedgefield Country Club is nearly as elusive as Woods, who is in town for Sedgefield’s Wyndham Championship. The golf tournament, where Woods is tied for seventh place, continues through Sunday.
Adamsleigh sits so far back on Alamance Road, and is surrounded by so many mature trees, that passers-by can catch only a glimpse of its brick Tudor glory. It is visible only from the golf course itself — the front from the 12th hole, and the back from the 14th and 15th.
People might not even know the mansion was there if not for the giant “For Sale” sign on Alamance Road perched near the entry gates, made of hand-forged wrought iron.
The price is $4 million, making it the highest-priced home for sale in Guilford County. It has been on the market for a decade, occupied only by a caretaker.
It’s owned by the heirs of Allen Watkins, who lived there until his death in 2003.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Katie Redhead, the broker selling the estate and an owner of the real estate firm Tyler Redhead and McAlister.
That’s not a marketing slogan. Earlier this week, Redhead took News & Record photographer Lynn Hey and me on a tour of the estate and some of the 13 acres on which it sits.
The size alone makes Adamsleigh impressive: 33 rooms (including 11 bedrooms, 11 full bathrooms, five half-baths) on four stories, two pools, a six-stall stable, a stone gazebo and a five-car garage.
But the mass can distract you from the mansion’s real selling point: craftsmanship.
Workers constructed Adamsleigh from 1929-30 for John H. Adams, co-founder of hosiery maker Adams-Millis Corp. in High Point, which is now part of Sara Lee Corp. Adams also owned the land that became the Adams Farm subdivision on the other side of Gate City Boulevard from Sedgefield.
“I’m telling you, this was the day of the textile barons,” Redhead said, noting Adams’ prominence in Guilford County. “People in High Point couldn’t understand why they left the big house (near Emerywood) to come to the country.”
Adams was determined to build the finest home he could afford. And he could afford any feature he dreamed.
He hired Winston-Salem architect Luther Lashmit, who designed Graylyn mansion for the Bowman Gray family.
He adorned the library with hand-carved wood and the fireplaces with hand-carved stone.
He lined the winding driveway from Alamance Road with iron lanterns, each one mounted on a cement post.
He even put clay tiles and copper gutters on the roofs.
“Copper gutters on the stables,” gushed Redhead, who has been in the house 100 times or more. “On the stables, Margaret,” she said.
“I mean, come on.”
There’s history contained within the walls, too. If HGTV had existed in 1930, the network surely would have seized upon features considered state of the art for the time:
- An outdoor grilling area wired for electricity.
- A walk-in safe in the kitchen to protect the silver and china, which contained an alarm inside in case staffers locked themselves in.
- A electric warming drawer in the kitchen.
- A trash incinerator.
- Firewalls between the rooms and the stories — built to combat Adams’ fear of fire, Redhead said.
Hollywood has come calling. Last September, Adamsleigh was used as a set for “The Disappointments Room,” a thriller starring Kate Beckinsale.
The movie is scheduled for release this year, but no date is listed on imbd.com.
Rather than use the existing attic, director D.J. Caruso had a fake one built onto the stables. It remains.
And yes, there’s a hidden passage in the main house — a spiral staircase tucked behind what looks like a closet door in Adams’ office, leading to his five-room bedroom suite.
Only fitting for a house that is as hard to find as Tiger Woods in Greensboro.