The gambrel-roofed wooden Queen Anne house with its asymmetrical massing, well-pitched gables, angular projections, and tall molded chimneys resembles some of the houses designed by David S. Hopkins (1834–1918). The noted Grand Rapids supplier of mail-order house plans published his drawings in Houses and Cottages (1889, 1890) and Cottage Portfolio (1886). This house was elaborately finished for the owner of the Berkey and Gay Furniture Company. Lavish decorations and furniture hand-carved by the craftsmen of Gay's furniture company finished the nineteen-room interior of the olive-green wooden house.
Born in New York State in 1839, Gay acquired in 1883 the former Louis Campau house and moved it to the rear of the property to clear the site for his new house. The old Campau house stabled horses, and eventually was demolished.