Before Dilworth Tasting Room settled into its home in a historic 1947 building at the corner of E. Tremont and Cleveland avenues, Eric Sprouse ran legendary pool hall Dilworth Billiards in the space for 35 years.
Sprouse bought the two-story building in 1983 and made the second floor his residence. When he closed the pool hall in 2015 for retirement, he set out on an exceedingly thoughtful search for a new tenant on the main floor.
Sprouse says he turned away 10-15 potential lessees in the search for the perfect successor that would not only be a good business for the neighborhood but a good neighbor for him as well. Jaffer Kovic’s Dilworth Tasting Room was exactly the fit he was looking for – the kind of place with staying power where, like at the old pool hall, strangers become regulars.
Related Agenda story: Inside Dilworth Tasting Room, the neighborhood’s new communal backyard wine bar
Today, the popular wine bar and enchanting courtyard garden is buzzing with young new patrons who frequently ask about what’s located on the second floor. Sprouse rarely showcases his home, but he agreed to open the door for us.
Come upstairs for a look inside his one-of-a-kind 2,800-square-foot merchant’s loft above Dilworth Tasting Room.
Who: Eric Sprouse and his cat Foster
Job: Retired. Owner of Dilworth Billiards, 1979-2015.
The Story: Sprouse opened Dilworth Billiards on Halloween night in 1979. In 1983 he purchased the historic 1947 building and made the second floor his residence. Walls dividing four smaller 700-square-foot apartments came down to open up a sprawling 2,800-square-foot open floor plan loft with two bedrooms, an office and 2.5 bathrooms.
The Home: The main staircase opens to a grand open floor plan divided into a comfortable living room with fireplace, a kitchen and, of course, a pool table. A hallway leads to two bedrooms, Sprouse’s office and a back door landing and outdoor staircase overlooking the property’s charming courtyard bar and koi pond. Ed Springs Interiors designed the space.
Pool Hall History: Sprouse’s home is dripping in pool hall memorabilia, including a $25,000 1890 Brunswick table and a historic “Billiards” transom that now hangs in his office.
Wooden Accents: Rich mahogany beams and doors, African red paduak inlay on the floors and original pine flooring in the master add depth and warmth to white walls and ceilings.
Anti-Bachelor Pad: Sprouse rejects the notion that his home is a “bachelor pad,” as it cheapens the history and intimacy of the mature, cozy space.
Shops and Inspiration
Statement Rugs: Ornate rugs from Dilworth Oriental Rug Company (closed) define individual spaces in the large open area with reds and greens that play off the mahogany accents and green felt of the pool table.
Art and Memorabilia: Sprouse’s home is adorned with a number of beloved collectibles, including a guitar signed by musicians from Dilworth Billiards and presented to him at his retirement and a full spread in The Charlotte Observer written by his friend Tom Sorensen announcing his retirement. Several pieces of oil on canvas artwork were sourced from Picture House Gallery.
Custom Dressing Room: Don’t call it a closet. Sprouse’s custom dressing room by SJ Hilger Interiors is adjacent to the master bathroom and features walnut cabinetry, a television and a washer and dryer.
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