Carol Sawdye & Johno Morisano
In the spring of 2010, thanks toan Icelandic vol cano, a can celled vacation to Italy an d a hastily put toge ther trip
exploring the American Sou th, Johno Morisano and his wife, Carol Sawdye, spent a memorable thi rty-six hou rs in
Savannah,Georgia. A year later, during a fol low up, weekend visit, the Morisano’s bought a home there.
With a primary residence in The National Arts Club (NAC) on Manhattan’s Gramercy Pa rk, whe r e Johno spent
almost a decade deeply involved in the ar ts, the rene wal of the Club and as an active member of the Board of
Governors, the Morisano’s love of art , aesthetics, architecture and design grew to the point that Savannah, in
many ways, became the pe rfect second city for them. Johno then sought a way to combine these passions with
his love of fo od and wine.
In March of 2013 he purchased an abandoned Greyhound Bus termi nal and in December 2014, after a near two-
year preservation, he opened, wit h his bus iness partner and Chef , Mashama Bailey, The Grey, a res taurant in
Savannah’s Histor ic Distr i c t . In its first year, The Grey received a nom inat ion from the James Bea rd Foundation
(JBF) for best designed restau rant in America, won a varie ty of arc hitectural, prese rvat ion and design awards and
was, in 2018 added to National Registe r of His toric Places. The Grey is curr ently Ea ter’s Restau rant of the Year,
Mashama just rece ived her first JBF Nomination for Bes t Chef – So utheast and The Grey has bec ome a Savannah
icon, firmly rooting it and the Morisano’s in the Savannah social and cultur al communities.
While Johno became a restaura teur after a career in media, entertainment and the arts, Car ol was also
transitioning into a global role at PwC wher e she is curr ently the Chief Ope rating Officer of the firm’s global
network. In this role, Carol is either on the road, prima rily in Europe, crashi ng at thei r apar tment in NYC or, as
often as practical, wo r king from he r home off ice in Savannah whe re he r companions are the co uple’ s pair of
Rhodesian Ridgebacks – Flounder and Otter.
With Savannah becoming the nexus of the couple’ s life , a lar ge r home that would accommodate frequent visits
fro m family and friends,as well as the space to enterta in, was in order. The house at 19 Ea st GordonSt reet met
every need and fill ed every fantasy Carol and John o had for living in Histor ic Savannah and the South.
A step off of Monte rey Square, the ho use is unquestionably unique for Downt o wn living. It’s side garden and
multiple side porches capture the imagina tion of all who pass by. A hidden courtyar d and lap pool, ma ster
bedr oom screen por ch and a roof terrace that overlooks Forsyth Park complete the exterior living spa ces.
The interior spaces tell a story of each of the few residen ts who lived in this historic home prior to the
Morisano’s. From the grandmid 185 0’s Bosend orfe r pian o that commands the music parlor and was contributed
to the home by a convenience store magnate who raised his children there, to the ar chway s of the gou rmet
kitchen constructed by a previous owner obsessed with al l things Italian ,to the original, soft pine floors tha t bear
the gro ov es, thumps and divots of all the pr evious reside nts, dogs and (alleged) ghosts tha t have roamed the
home since the 1870’s, 19 East Go rdon is living his tor y. And that is jus t the way Carol and Johno like it. They
purposely retained this history when they we r e redesigning the home with thei r good friend Ch uck Chewning as
they felt deeply that, as stewar ds of this home , it was appropriate to add to wha t they inhe rite d ra ther than
overwrite the past.
In 19 Ea st Gordon, Johno and Car ol have found their home. They have, thanks to the geni us of Chuck, made it
theirs whil e still paying homage to those who came befo r e them. There is a th oughtfu l and eclectic nat ur e to
their home that ref lects everything they are about – the local art community, family, frie nds, food, wine, his tor y,
their love of New York and Paris, a desire to make thei r guests feel at-home , and the genuine comf or t they take
in living in their own skins. They are proud and humbled to take car e of this piece of Savannah histo r y for some
per iod of time.