On Thanksgiving Day, Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham will gather around a bountiful buffet with his wife Carlyne, their relatives and assorted teammates. “We say the blessing, then go around the circle and say what we’re grateful for,” Carlyne says. “Family, health, having food—and being able to give food to others.”
The Grahams also are thankful for their new home, a new 9,500-square-foot beauty in Haverford. It’s a place they enjoy sharing with others, from game nights with old friends to a brunch for Eagles wives. “Once when we had our families visit, I wondered if we’d have enough room for everyone,” Graham recalls. “As it turns out, it was perfect.”
Now in his 13th season, Graham is currently the longest-tenured member of the Eagles—and of any Philadelphia sports team. He’s tied for the second-longest tenure in franchise history. He won a permanent place in the hearts of Eagles fans when he strip-sacked quarterback Tom Brady with 2:21 remaining in Super Bowl LII, forcing a fumble recovered by teammate Derek Barnett. That led the Birds to a stunning 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots.
On the field, the defensive end is a fierce competitor. Off the field, he’s a devoted family man. “Being settled feels great,” he says.
For years, the Grahams rented in Philadelphia, spending the off-season back home in Michigan. They decided to put down roots on the Main Line when their two children came along. “This is home now,” he says.
Carlyne was attracted to the massive chef’s kitchen and the elaborately carved fireplace that separates it from the formal living room. To tailor the house to their personal style, the Grahams turned to Manayunk-based interior designer Christina Henck.
Rather than starting from scratch, they incorporated a few high-quality pieces from their previous home. “It was important to me that we had a designer who understood my need not to be wasteful,” says Carlyne.
Combining contemporary and traditional aesthetics, the designer and her eight-member team achieved a balance that suited the needs of a young family and frequent guests. Henck blended organic textures and materials like marble, light woods and antique mirrors to maintain a layered, natural feel. Custom furnishings with contrasting fabrics, floor-to-ceiling velvet draperies and a mix of curvy upholstered pieces combine for a feeling of relaxed elegance.
The kitchen features professional-style appliances, two islands, contrasting counter materials and detailed tile patterns. The first island is topped with mitered-edged Calacatta marble; the second is butcher block, mirroring the traditional wood floor. Decorative pendant lights, framed with stonework applied to the ceiling, add a classical feel.
For the past 10 years, Henck has been known for her work with vibrant color and contrasting black-and-white palettes. Recently, she’s become immersed in the nuance of neutrals. A perfect example is the Grahams’ living room, which is awash in tranquil creams and whites. A bespoke ottoman echoes the tones of a textured faux-ostrich chair, a linen-look chaise lounge and a two-toned oversized cream sectional sofa—one of the pieces the Grahams retained from their previous home. Ripple-fold draperies, the serpentine edges of the Italian-style stone fireplace and a voluptuous chaise add to the sense of softness and comfort. “Layering light neutrals is something I’ve become quite passionate about in recent years,” Henck says. “It’s a new wave of inspiration. This project was all about creating layer after layer in the rooms, with soft white tones and texture on top of texture.”
The living room is Carlyne’s favorite spot in the home. “Sometimes, I just sit here and enjoy the quiet,” she says. “There are no TVs, no loud noises anywhere on this floor of the house. Just peace and calm.”
The dining room is sumptuous, with a wet-look Venetian plaster ceiling in a half-dozen soothing tones from caramel to cream. Custom burnt-orange velvet draperies with artisan-made hardware flank each window. Smooth and shiny textures contrast with hand-finished stonework, while gold accents amp up the glamour quotient. The comfy and elegant chairs the Grahams brought with them have been reinterpreted with new upholstery.
In the playroom, dry-erase and chalkboard areas allow the couple’s two young children to express their creativity. Floor-to-ceiling custom millwork displays the kids’ art and toys, with the bonus of organized storage. Subtly patterned wallpaper on the ceiling adds a bit of whimsy. “It’s definitely the room I was able to be most creative with,” Henck says. “I never get tired of making playrooms, and they’re particularly fun to work with when the proportions are a bit larger. There’s more freedom and less rules I have to follow.”
Graham has a playroom, too. The lower level of the home is devoted to his man cave. Complete with projector, screen, full bar and kitchen, the four-zone space can host more than 50 guests. Custom wall-to-wall built-in cabinets house his Super Bowl trophy, favorite playbooks, game balls and collection of NFL jerseys.
With its darker hues, masculine materials and warm textures, the man cave contrasts with the pale palette of the rest of the house. Henck incorporated mushroom wood from Kennett Square to create rustic pillars and accent panels, and she commissioned a local billiards company to build a pool table with inlaid mother-of-pearl detailing. For game night, there’s a round game table outfitted with six large leather chairs, ideal for playing card and dice games. “It’s a space I really enjoy, whether I’m hanging out with the guys or playing with the kids,” says Brandon. “We love this house, and we love living on the Main Line.”