LOUISVILLE COURIER JOURNAL: “A grand opening for this new distillery in NuLu is set for Kentucky Derby night”

RabbitHole Pic.png

By Kirby Adams

We don’t know who but we do know where — 2018 Kentucky Derby celebrities may choose to party after the races at a new distillery in downtown Louisville. he Rabbit Hole Distillery, 711 E. Jefferson St., will celebrate its grand opening  Saturday, May 5 with an invitation-only event…

…The new multimillion-dollar distillery in Louisville’s historic NuLu neighborhood is designed by award-winning architect Doug Pierson and will also showcase the identity, tradition, and legacy of bourbon making in Kentucky. VIEW THE VIDEO AND READ MORE


Day and Night: Pod Architecture + Design To Display Work in NCSU Exhibition

Demonstrating the perception of space from day to night.

Carrboro modern architects
Exhibition board showing Connie & Ted’s restaurant by day (top) and night (bottom).

February 12, 2018 (Carrboro, NC) — How structure is perceived from day to night is the theme of the presentation that pod architecture + design (pod a+d) in Carrboro is contributing to the upcoming N.C. State University School of Architecture Alumni Exhibition. The exhibition will be on display in the Brooks Hall Gallery on the NCSU campus during the School’s accreditation review in mid-February.

Juxtaposing a photograph of each project taken in bright daylight with a photo captured against a darkened sky, pod a+d’s presentation includes an adaptive re-use project in Louisville, KY, an educational facility in Goshen, IN, an iconic restaurant in West Hollywood, CA, and a large-scale experiential graphics project in Qatar.

Pod a+d is a hybrid firm owned and operated by design principals Douglas V. Pierson, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, and Youn Choi, an environmental graphics designer. The couple relocated their firm from Los Angeles to North Carolina in 2016.

Carrboro Modern Architects
Qatar experiential graphics project by day (top) and night( (bottom).

“Doug and I always consider the day and nightlife of a design because the perception of the space changes as the light changes – from day to night and from natural to electric lighting,” Choi explained. “We also consider when the use of the space will be the liveliest. Perhaps the users are more productive during the day when the sun is shining. Some rejuvenate in the evening as the sun goes down. This is an integrated, repeating process that we always consider.”

According to David Hill, head of the School of Architecture, NCSU College of Design, “This will be an important show of work that will be seen by visitors from the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), faculty, students, and other visitors. Perhaps this exhibition will allow the school to reconnect with a great number of alumni throughout the world.”

For more information on the upcoming exhibition, email david_hill@ncsu.edu.

For more information on pod architecture + design, visit www.podand.com.

About pod architecture + design:

pod a+d offers all architectural design services that connect building, environment, and identity because we believe in the integration of architecture and design disciplines throughout our projects.  Exteriors, interiors, engineering, furnishings and finishes, equipment, financial feasibility, scheduling, construction, and the environmental context – these are the contributing elements that inform our integrated approach to each architectural project’s design.  More information: www.podand.com.


Scuppernong Books Hosts Frank McNair, Author of “Life on the Line: Football, Rage, and Redemption”

Life-on-the-LineWinston-Salem-based author Frank McNair will appear at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro on Saturday, October 28, at 3 p.m. for a book signing to promote his new award-winning football novel Life on the Line: Football, Rage, and Redemption (featured in Yes!Weekly June 29, 2017)      

Published by Bagpiper Press, the novel was named Best Book in the Young Adult category during the Spring 2017 Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards.

Frank McNair is a veteran author of business-oriented books but this is his first work of fiction.

The book revolves around two boys on the same middle school football team who despise each other as soon as they meet on the practice field. Their animosity simmers throughout the season until it finally boils over in a “dramatic confrontation” that Forsyth Family Magazine’s Vonda Henderson describes as “swift, surprising, and rattles and shocks them and those around them.” She adds: “The outcome illustrates well that stage between boy and man.”

As a former football player himself, McNair offers his readers authentic, play-by-play gridiron action. Yet Life on the Line is about much more than football

“I thought football was a good petri dish in which to tell a story about adolescence and coming of age,” McNair told the Winston-Salem Journal recently. “My book is a good yarn about two young men living regular lives in a small Southern town. The story looks like it’s about is. But it’s also about boys trying to figure out what it means to be authentically male. It is about class differences, religion, grief, and coming of age. And  ultimately it is about rage, reconciliation, and redemption.”

Intended for middle- and high-school readers, Life on the Line: Football, Rage, and Redemptionis receiving a steady stream of positive reviews among Amazon Customer Reviews from parents of teenagers. One wrote, “Outstanding! Don’t let your sons (or daughters) miss this gripping story of boys growing up in the world of football.” The mom of now-grown boys said, “I wish Frank had written the book 10 years earlier when my son and his friends were this age.”

After reading selections from the book, McNair will take questions and sign copies that will be available for purchase.

Scuppernong Books is located at 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro, NC 27401.  For more information and directions: www.scuppernongbooks.com.

For more information on Frank McNair and Life on the Line: Football, Rage, and Redemption, including sample chapters, visit www.lifeonethelinebook.com.

Pamlico Writers Group Welcomes Frank McNair for Workshop, Book Signing


The author of the award-winning new novel Life on the Line: Football, Rage, and Redemption will join the group on October 24th

The Pamlico Writers’ Group in Washington, NC, will welcome author Frank McNair of Winston-Salem and Bath, NC, as Featured Author on Tuesday, October 24, from 7 to 9 p.m.  McNair will read from his new, award-winning novel Life on the Line: Football, Rage, and Redemption, sign copies of the book, and conduct a mini-workshop on “Plotting and Keeping Up with Characters.”

Open to the public, the event will be held at historic Turnage Theater, 150 West Main Street, Washington, NC. 27889.

Set in the rural South in 1965, Life on the Line is the story of two middle school boys struggling to understand themselves and the world around them as they meet on the football field and immediately despise each other.

A former football player himself, McNair draws his readers into play-by-play action during grueling practices and often violent, bloody games as the boys lead their team towards an undefeated season — despite the tension and animosity that escalates between them.

LOTL Section

McNair’s novel is built around football, but it also contains themes of family and faith, love and loss, and how all of that leads the boys to hard-won reconciliation. Earlier this year, it was named “Best Book” in the Young Adult category for the Spring 2017 Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards.”

Frank McNair grew up in Laurinburg, NC, where he was a member of the Scotland County High School “Fighting Scots” football team. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Morehead Scholar, he received his MBA degree from Wake Forest University. He has published successful non-fiction business books but Life on the Line is his first venture into fiction. He is currently working on a second novel, this one exploring the life of Christian faith, entitled A Creeping Certainty.

McNair and his wife Laura are active members of their church community, where they teach and contribute in other ways. They live with their beloved lab, Buddy Brown, in a house overlooking the woods in Winston-Salem when they’re not in residence at their coastal home in Bath overlooking the Pamlico River.

The Pamlico Writers Group is affiliated with the Arts of the Pamlico and meets twice a month. Its mission is “to help other aspiring writers accomplish their goals in writing.” For more information on the October 24th book signing and workshop: https://pamlicowritersgroup.wildapricot.org/event-2671367.

For more information on Life on the Line: Football, Rage, and Redemption, go to www.lifeonthelinebook.com.



Sunrise Books in High Point hosts a book signing event for Blueplate PR client Frank McNair, author of a new award-winning sports novel…

Frank McNair reads from his football novel
Frank McNair’s promotional poster and Sunrise Books in-store sign inviting customers to the reader/signing.
football novel, Sunrise Books
Author Frank McNair reads from LIFE ON THE LINE: FOOTBALL, RAGE, AND REDEMPTION in Sunrise Books.

Making History: Katherine Hogan, Vincent Petrarca Receive Kamphoefner Prize for Modern Architecture


The first husband-wife partnership 

VandK Portrait

Katherine Hogan, AIA, and Vincent Petrarca, partners in life and in the award-winning Raleigh firm Tonic Design, were honored to receive the 2017 Kamphoefner Prize at the AIA North Carolina Design Conference held in Wilmington September 13-15.

Named for the founding dean of NC State University’s School (now College) of Design, Henry Kamphoefner (1907-1990), the $10,000 Prize is one of the highest honors for practicing architects in the state.

This marks the first time the Prize has been awarded to a husband-wife partnership.

“Everything we design, we design together,” Petrarca stressed. “So the only possible way we could receive this incredible honor or any other award is together.”

“It is an honor to be recognized among those who are dedicated to forwarding the modern tradition in our place,” Hogan added. “We have many mentors on this list of past recipients, who we have followed and been inspired by over the years. We are honored to be recognized as part of this group.”

Among past Kamphoefner Prize recipients are AIA Fellows Arthur Cogswell, Frank Harmon, Jeffrey Lee, Kenneth Hobgood, Ellen Weinstein, Phil Szostak, and Roger Cannon.

Tonic Design
Vinny and Katherine accept the 2017 Prize during the AIA NC Conference in Wilmington, NC

The Path Leading to The Prize

Over the past decade, Hogan and Petrarca have amassed an array of awards and honors:

  • They’ve already received 41 design awards, including 27 awards sanctioned by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
  • Their work has been published over 40 times in magazines, professional journals, architectural websites, and blogs.
  • They’ve lectured at architecture schools and design conferences since 2007, including the AIA National Convention.
  • They’re served their profession in various capacities through AIANC, AIA Triangle, and both NC State and Syracuse universities. They’ve also served on numerous professional awards juries.
  • Since 2011, they have been adjunct professors at North Carolina State University’s College of Design and Visiting Critics at Syracuse University. They’ve also served as guest jurors for architectural studios at five different universities, including the University of Illinois in Chicago.
  • In 2013, they were named Residential Architect magazine’s “Rising Stars” out of all young firms in the nation.
  • In 2014, Hogan received Triangle Business Journal’sWomen In Business “Future Star” award.

Kamphoefner Prize winners must be currently practicing in North Carolina and must have consistently contributed to the development of modern architecture for at least 10 years “without yielding to any of the undesirable current clichés, neo-modernistic mannerisms or artless historicism that have flawed the building culture of today,” as Dean Kamphoefner wrote when he and his wife, Mable, established the Prize in the 1980s.

Attesting to the Tonic duo’s consistent contributions, Will Bruder, FAIA, of Will Bruder Architects, Phoenix, AZ, wrote in his Letter of Support, “Their design solutions have become both distinctively original and memorably relevant. Their work exemplifies not only the best traditions of modernism but also an abiding respect for the clients and communities they serve,” he wrote.

“Katherine and Vinny both honor the architectural tradition that Dean Kamphoefner envisioned,” Michael Speaks, Ph.D., Dean and Professor, Syracuse University School of Architecture, noted in his letter.

And J. Patrick Rand, FAIA, a Distinguished Professor of Architecture at the NCSU College of Design, asserted his belief that their work “transcends necessity and moves toward poetry, but does so with a language that is the fusion of conceptual ideals and practical circumstances. [Their] buildings show that proportion, materiality, space and experience are the essential contents of architecture.”

For more information on Tonic Design: www.tonic-design.com.

For more information on The Kamphoefner Prize, visit www.aiancawards.org.


“The Professor’s House” Will Be Open For Public Touring in September


Designed by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, this small, modern, age-in-place house is part of the Fall 2017 Modapalooza Tour.


July 19, 2017 (Chapel Hill, NC) — “The Professor’s House,” a small, sustainable, age-in-place house overlooking Morgan Creek in Chapel Hill, has been selected for the Fall 2017 Modapalooza Tour on Saturday, September 16, sponsored by North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH).

Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, designed the house for a retired professor of Native American Studies. A widow now, she wanted to downsize from her 3200-square-foot house and live with her dog in a modern, age-in-place house in a quiet, wooded neighborhood in Chapel Hill, NC.

She contacted Schechter because she’d heard about the Micropolis Houses®, a collection of modern “tiny house” plans Schechter designed that range from 150 to 1500 square feet and can be customized to meet specific buyers’ needs and preferences. In this case, the professor wanted to add a third bedroom/office and an extra bath to the Micropolis® plan she chose.

modern, age-n-place house Chapel Hill
A bridge from the parking area to the front door means guests won’t have to maneuver any steps.

“A small house meant she could have things like a swimming pool, a Japanese soaking tub, and choose nicer elements for her money,” Schechter noted.

The final design is nearly half the size of the professor’s previous house. Yet at only a little more than 1600 heated square feet– almost 1000 square feet less than the average American house, which is now 2500 square feet — it packs in all of the professor’s spatial needs in an open, fluid floor plan with age-in-place functionality. Schechter calls it a “Custom-opolis.”

The Professor’s House is one of seven houses designed by award-winning architects on this year’s Modapalooza Tour, including projects by Frank Harmon, Phil Szostak, Tina Govan, Jason Hart, and in situ studio. (For all the details about the tour, visit http://www.ncmodernist.org/palooza17.htm.)

The Professor’s House is also in the running for a 2017 George Matsumoto Prize, which recognizes excellence in North Carolina modernist residential design sponsored by NCMH. Winners are selected by both a professional jury and public voting. (Public voting at https://ncmhcompetitions.squarespace.com ends July 20.)

For more information on The Professor’s House and architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, visit www.acsarchitect.com.

About Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA:

Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, is a licensed, registered architect based in Chapel Hill, NC, who specializes in Modernist, energy-efficient buildings with a focus on passive houses, NET ZERO houses, and her new tiny house plans, the Micropolis Houses™. She is a lifelong environmentalist and began practicing green design long before it became mainstream. She is also a lifelong animal advocate who lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Arnie, and an assortment of foster animals in the Modern, sustainable house she


Bluebird Hill Farm Owner Extends Essay Deadline

Aspiring farmers have until August 1 to vie for this small enterprise in North Carolina.

June 29, 2017 (Bennett, NC) — Norma Burns, the architect/farmer who intends to gift her 13-acre organic farm in Bennett, North Carolina, to another aspiring small farmer through a convincing essay, has extended the deadline for submissions to August 1. (Background information to follow.)

June 1 was the original deadline. As that date neared, however, Burns received a flood of questions and comments on the farm’s Facebook page from people who had only recently learned about “The Gift,” as she calls it. And because she has not yet received the number of submissions/entry fees needed to pay off her mortgage so she can gift it to another aspiring farmer, she decided to extend the deadline — in accordance with the rules set up on the website www.essaybluebirdhillfarm.com.

Norma Burns introduces a young visitor to freshly grown lavender.

“Preserving Bluebird Hill Farm is an important part of The Gift,” she said recently, noting that a general sale would not guarantee it. “I want to preserve this small farm for future farmers. I want to preserve the opportunity for those who dream of farming to obtain their dream.”

Through the Agricultural Conservation Easement that Burns just signed this month, she’s “also assuring that the natural resources, wildlife habitat, and scenic values of this property will be preserved.”

The rules and requirements for submitting a single-page essay that, along with other criteria, will determine Bluebird Hill Farm’s future owner,  are available at www.essaybluebirdhillfarm.com. Questions and comments may be directed only to the farm’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BluebirdHillFarmNC.

Aerial view of Bluebird Hill Farm from the farmhouse (top) to the bright red barn (bottom).


In January 2017, Norma Burns announced that she is inviting committed couples of any type who are also aspiring small farmers to submit an essay on “Why We Want to Own and Operate Bluebird Hill Farm.” Along with meeting certain other criteria (such as a resume indicating experience), a Selection Committee will determine the writers of the best essay who will receive her 13-acre farm in North Carolina’s bucolic Chatham County as a gift with title free and clear.

The farm and all its components is valued at around $450,000. Along with the land, The Gift includes outbuildings, equipment, and the farmhouse that Burns, as an architect, renovated years ago. Furnishings and accessories that are listed on the website also go with the house. Everything The Gift entails can be seen on the dedicated website: www.essaybluebirdhillfarm.com.

Burns chose to pass her beloved Bluebird Hill Farm on to a new owner in this manner because she wants to give aspiring small farmers who can’t afford to buy property the chance to have their own farm and to preserve and cherish it as much as she has.

“After nearly 18 years of work, love, and care, the farm has become what my late husband and I envisioned it to be when we bought it,” said Burns, who is ready to retire from the hard work of farming and enjoy a more urban lifestyle. “It would mean so much to me to see it in the care of someone committed to its continued improvement.”

She calls her effort to transfer ownership “A Gift of Good Land” in homage to American novelist, poet, and environmental activist Wendell Berry. For more information: www.essaybluebirdhillfarm.com

About Bluebird Hill Farm:

Owned and operated by Norma DeCamp Burns, Bluebird Hill Farm is a small farm that specializes in growing herbs, specialty vegetables, cut flowers, and native plants, along with value-added farm crafts and food products. The farm incorporates the principles of permaculture to maximize the use of space in its raised beds. Burns has grown many types of fruits and vegetables, emphasizing diversity and quality over quantity. The farm is located in Bennett, NC.


Award-winning Novelist Mark Spano Joins 2017 “Meet The Author” Series June 25th

NC Author, lNC Filmmaker

Chapel Hill novelist Mark Spano will read from his new book Midland Club. 

June 8, 2017 (Raleigh, NC) — As part of the Raleigh LGBT Center’s 2017 Sizzling Summer “Meet the Author” Series, novelist Mark Spano of Chapel Hill will read from his critically acclaimed and award-winning novel Midland Club on Sunday, June 25th, beginning at 1 p.m.

After the reading, Spano will sign copies of the 120-page book that GayBook.Reviews.com critics have called “a dark and cynical tale that reads like a film noir classic,” “…a small jewel…melancholic, lyric, flawlessly smooth and realistic,” and “…more than just a murder mystery. It speaks to the human condition.” Most recently, ReadersFavorite.com reviewer Romualdo Dzemo praised the book as a “pure delight, composed of beautiful social commentaries and wonderful themes.”

Published by Thunderfoot Press, Midland Club has maintained a 4.2 (out of 5) rating on Amazon since it appeared there in December of 2016. Earlier this month, Midland Club received a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award from the National Association of Book Entrepreneurs (NABE), one of only two books honored for Winter 2017 in the Mystery category.

Set in a midwestern city in 1958, Midland Club has all the elements of a good mystery: vibrant characters, a familiar setting, and a plot in which the solution to the mystery is ultimately revealed. Beyond a good mystery, it also addresses the pain of one gay man, alone in a town that despises him. And if the reader is paying attention, that pain foreshadows the conclusion.

Midland Club is now part of the LGBT Center of Raleigh Library.

This and all other “Meet the Authors” events this summer are free and open to the public.

The LGBT Center of Raleigh is located 324 South Harrington Street in downtown Raleigh. For more information: www.lgbtcenterofraleigh.com.

For more information on Mark Spano and Midland Club, go to http://blog.markspano.com.

About The Author:

MARK SPANO is the author of five works of fiction and a memoir. As a filmmaker, his work includes The Quality of Light: A Biography of Claude Howell and the definitive documentary on Sicily, “Reimagining Sicily.” He holds advanced degrees from Marymount University of Virginia and the American University in Washington, D.C., and now resides in rural Orange County, North Carolina.


Trig Modern Raises Nearly $5000 for SAFE Haven for Cats During “The Cat’s Meow” Auction

The Dwell House by Grant Newton

Dubbed the “Dwell House,” a sleek composition of intersecting cubic volumes rendered in white laminate and natural wood, was one of six Modern cat houses created by architects and furniture designers to benefit SAFE Haven for Cats during The Cat’s Meow Cocktail Party and Auction sponsored by Trig Modern design center and showroom in Raleigh.

For the auction, the six imaginative houses were joined by a mixed-media painting by Louis St. Lewis of Raleigh and New Orleans, a large neon tabby cat sculpture perched on an old radio by neon artist Nate Sheaffer of Raleigh, and an iconic mid-century modern chair from Modernica donated by Trig Modern’s owner Bob Drake.

Under The Sea by i.S. Design

Approximately 100 cat enthusiasts attended The Cat’s Meow, along with

For Perching, Playing, and Napping by Little Associates.

two three-month-old kittens that SAFE Haven’s founder and director, Pam Miller, and a few volunteers brought to the event. Trig Modern provided an abundance of party food, wine, beer, and chilled water for the crowd as they perched on modern sofas and chairs throughout the showroom.

Mixed-media painting by Louis St. Lewis

With entertaining encouragement from professional auctioneer Ben Farrell, who donated his services to the cause, every item sold for prices that exceeded their designers’ expectations. Proceeds went directly to SAFE Haven for Cats in Raleigh, a non-profit, no-kill cat shelter and clinic that, to date, has found homes for nearly 8500 formerly stray and abandoned cats and kittens.

The auction itself netted $4525 with the “Dwell House” by Greensboro furniture designer Grant Newton commanding

The Cat Cave by Corey Baughman

the highest winning bid at $1150. Other donations brought in $274 and SAFE Haven sold $59 in retail items, making the grand total for the evening $4858.

Neon sculpture by Nate Shaeffer

“We want to thank Pam and the SAFE Haven volunteers; our delightful auctioneer Ben Farrell who made the auction entertaining as well as profitable; the architects, designers and artists who contributed their time and talent to the cause: and everyone who attended, especially all of the enthusiastic bidders,” said Bob Drake. “It was a wonderful evening and we’re looking forward to another Cat’s Meow next year.”

Background: This past February, Drake and Trig Modern’s interior designer Ann

Marie Baum, a SAFE Haven volunteer, invited architects and other designers throughout the Triangle to create “cool, modern” houses for indoor cats for the fundraising auction. According to guidelines, the houses had to be modern in style and of such quality that potential bidders would welcome them in their homes. They also had to be small enough to fit through a regular residential door and light enough for two people to carry them.

Multi-Use Play Tower by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA

The following designers created the cat structures:

The “O” by Bret Page Architecture

For more information on Trig Modern, visit www.trigmodern.com

For more information on SAFE Haven for Cats, visit www.safehavenforcats.org.

About Trig Modern:

Founded in December 2012, Trig Modern is owned and operated by furniture and lighting designer Bob Drake. Through its combination of modern and mid-century-inspired furniture, lighting, wall and floor coverings, and accessories, as well as Modern kitchen and bath remodeling services, Trig Modern’s mission is to present a realistic portrait of sensible living and offer an antidote to excess, formality, and convention. For more information, visit www.trigmodern.com, call 919.516.8744 and find Trig Modern on Facebook. The showroom is located at 1053 East Whitaker Mill Road, Suite 109, Raleigh, NC 27604.

About SAFE Haven for Cats:

SAFE Haven’s mission is to ensure the well-being of every cat through adoption, affordable spay/neuter services, community outreach and adherence to no-kill principles. The shelter receives no government funds and relies solely on private donations for 84% percent of its budget. Visit safehavenforcats.org for more information.