The Story of Greystone Estate
The Story of Greystone Estate
Greystone Estate has a long and rich history, beginning in 1967 when Mr. Willard Robertson, a Volkswagen importer from New Orleans, began building the Estate as a surprise for his wife, Marlyn. Mr. Robertson bought a stone quarry in Missouri which supplied him with the 2000 tons of Ozark Napoleon grey marble that now covers the interior and exterior of the home. For the first five years of the Estate’s 7-year construction, craftsmen lived on the property and hand-cut the rock.
During those early years, Mr. Robertson kept the project a surprise from Marlyn – often remarking that he was building her a little “cabin in the woods.” When she finally discovered that Mr. Robertson’s cabin was actually a 12,000 sq. ft. mansion on 95 acres, she became actively involved in the planning of the house, which was finished two years later in 1974. The luxurious style of the home is a result of Marlyn’s influence, and each room incorporates raw materials, furniture, and decor imported from various countries internationally.
Mr. Robertson passed away in 1983 and resides in the Mausoleum located on the property. Marlyn later moved back to Louisiana, though she visits the Estate often when visiting her sons in Northwest Arkansas.
David Sloan, a local car dealership owner from Fayetteville, bought the Estate from the Robertson family in 1995 and spent 6 months renovating and adding furniture to complement the home’s European style. The Soderquist Family Foundation purchased the Estate from Sloan in 2001 and purposed it for Leadership Development.
The floor in the entry way is made of marble cut in Italy and shipped to Arkansas during the construction of the home. The red walls are a result of eleven coats of red, black and gold paint, and the chandelier is made of Austrian crystal. Take note that the front door does not have a handle that allows outside entry. All guests must be let in. Once you’re out, you’re out.
The Great Room
Floor to ceiling windows line Greystone’s “Great Room,” and the 44-foot high ceiling is made of fine English oak. The six-foot fireplace is made of natural marble onyx – colored green as a result of being sourced from the ocean.
The Formal Dining Room
The Formal Dining area is lined with hand-crafted burled mahogany wood on the walls, imported from Italy and features hand painted wallpaper from France. Two Austrian chandeliers hover over the original Chippendale table and chairs, whichseats up to 22 guests.
A silver room, scullery, and planning area in the kitchen are graced with Italian marble countertops. There are over 124 cabinets and drawers.
The Morning Room
The patio just outside the Morning Room offers a warm-weather option for sitting and dining. Inside, black oak walls and a Sirocco marble fire place surround café-style tables and chairs. An antique brass chandelier from France hangs above the staircase.
The Game Room
Brazilian cherry wood flooring and an old-fashioned soda fountain make up the common area on the lower level. Three bedrooms, converted from the original wine cellar and cedar closet, are off to the left of the staircase. A large outdoor patio and fire place can also be accessed from the Game Room.
The Master Bedroom
The upper level includes three large bedrooms, the most impressive being the Master bedroom with its butternut wood walls. The suite is 1,136 sq. feet, which includes his and hers bathrooms. Mrs. Robertson’s original bathroom incorporates Norwegian rose marble and 18 carat gold fixtures.
The best view of the lake in the entire estate can be seen from The Study. The walls are framed in imported Teak wood, and some of the furniture is imported from England. Prominently displayed in the center of the room is an original Civil War writing desk. While standing by the rail at the northwest corner of the study, the grounds can be viewed from three directions. Mr. Robertson always wanted to know what was going on outside his residence.
The Learning Center
Just a few feet from the main building (and across a walkway of Vermont blue slate) lies the learning center, which was originally a three-car garage. Two apartments frame either side of the learning center; due to security guards on the property 24/7, one was originally a guard house with a heated dog kennel, and the other housed the caretaker.
The Bomb Shelter
Across from the learning center, in the side of the retaining wall, the door to the bomb shelter can be found. At the bottom of a short stairwell a contamination shower, bathroom, 2000 gallon fresh water tank, bunk beds, a manual crank fresh air intake, and a 130 foot long escape tunnel can be found.