News & Observer: “The Kamphoefner Prize”

Katherine and Vinny with the Kamphoefner Prize certificate.

By J. Michael Welton

(Following a tribute to the late Brian Shawcroft)

One of the most coveted prizes in North Carolina architecture is the award for modern design established by Henry and Mabel Kamphoefner in 1988. It was first given to Norman Pease Jr. – and to Shawcroft in 1991.

The Kamphoefners set a high bar, seeking an architect or firm that “demonstrated a consistent integrity and devotion over an acceptable period of time to further the development of the modern movement in architecture without yielding to any of the undesirable current clichés, neo-modernistic mannerisms or artless historicism that have flawed the building culture of today.”

Lofty? Yes. Opinionated? Absolutely. But North Carolina’s modern architecture is built upon these standards. This award is designed to encourage great work – no matter the age of the winners.

In 2017, it went to Raleigh’s Tonic Design – and partners Vinny Petrarca, 45, and Katherine Hogan, 36. READ MORE…

Advertisements “Award-winning LA Architecture Firm Relocates to Carrboro, North Carolina”

pod_Doug at desj          pod_Youn standing

December 4, 2017 (Carrboro, NC) – Architect Doug Pierson, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, and environmental graphics designer Youn Choi —  partners in life and in pod architecture + design (pod a+d) — have joined the flurry of businesses relocating to the Triangle region. They’ve moved their architectural firm from Los Angeles to Carrboro, where they’re currently settling into new offices in The Station, the town’s 1882 train depot. READ MORE…

Quail Ridge Books Stars Holiday Season with “Chanukah Tales from Oykvetchnik”

A book signing event with author Scott Hilton Davis

1.chanukah-tales-from-oykvetchnik-cover-300dpi copy


November 6, 2017 (Raleigh, NC) – Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh’s oldest independent bookstore and a mecca for Triangle-wide bibliophiles, will start the holidays off this year with a book reading/signing event for Jewish storyteller Scott Hilton Davis on Sunday, November 26, starting at 2 p.m.

The founder of Raleigh-based Jewish Storyteller Press and a seven-time Emmy Award-winning public television producer, Davis will introduce the Quail Ridge crowd to his newest book Chanukah Tales from Oykvetchnik. The event is free and open to the public.

The 118-page book is a collection of eight short stories by Scott Davis  – one for each night of Chanukah —  that celebrate Jewish history, culture, and values. The stories take readers into “Oykvetchnik” (Oy + kvetch + nik), a tiny shtetl town in Eastern Europe. And for those who may not be familiar with the Jewish/Yiddish terms that appear in the stories, Davis includes a glossary.

“We recommend this book for children and adult of all ages,” the venerable bookstore notes on its Events Calendar.

Chanukah Tales from Oykvetchnic
Illustration for “The Pawnshop Menorah” by Amy Levine

Jack Magnus, a book critic with Readers’, writes, “Laced through the collection is humor, faith, miracles and love, and freshly fried latkes that had my mouth watering as I read.”

After he reads a tale or two and takes questions from the audience, the author will sign copies of Chanukah Tales from Oykvetchnik that will be available for purchase (paperback, $9.95; hardcover $16.95).

In its new two-story, 9000-square-foot space in North Hills Shopping Center, Quail Ridge Books is located at 4209 Lassiter Mill Road, No. 100, Raleigh, NC 27609. For more information, visit

For more information on Scott Hilton Davis and other titles from Jewish Storyteller Press, visit

SDHeadshot thumbnailAbout the Author

Scott Hilton Davis is a lifelong storyteller, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, and collector of Jewish short stories from 19th-century Eastern Europe. He is the author of Souls Are Flying! A Celebration of Jewish Stories and the editor of the first English translation of Jacob Dinezon’s collection of autobiographical short stories, Memories and Scenes: Shtetl, Childhood, Writers. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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:

For more information on Life on the Line: Football, Rage, and Redemption, go to



Modern Home in Raleigh’s Historic Cameron Park to be Open for Public Touring September 6th

During the evening “ModHop” Tour

of private homes in Raleigh, NC

Hawthorne Interior

The Hawthorne Residence, a modern, award-winning home in Raleigh’s Cameron Park neighborhood, will be open to the public during the “ModHop” Tour, an evening house tour on September 6th from 6  –  8:30 p.m. hosted by North Carolina Modernist Houses in association with the 2017 Hopscotch Design Festival.

Designed by Tonic Design principles Katherine Hogan, AIA, and Vincent Petrarca, this single-family residence replaced a dark, cramped, early 20th-century bungalow to give the homeowners modernist light, space, and form and a strong connection between indoors and outdoors.

To achieve the indoor-outdoor connection, the designers dropped the back elevation to grade and used floor-to-ceiling glass on the exterior wall to expand the view and living space into the backyard. A single-tilt roof with deep, cantilevered overhangs reference the covered porches of neighboring houses. Operable windows and extensive glazing throughout the house allow for daylight and natural ventilation, greatly reducing the homeowners’ reliance on electric lights during the day. A geothermal ground-source heat pump, fiber-cement rain-screen panels on exterior walls, locally available wood detailing, and Energy Star appliances make it 50 percent more energy efficient than a standard new home and 80 percent more efficient than the average resale home.

Hawthorne Exterior_Streetview.jpg

The two-story house is transparent from the front door through the main living area and on through the kitchen and dining space to the backyard. A sleek staircase composition makes the vertical circulation a sculptural presence at the center of the interior while leading to the children’s bedrooms and central play space upstairs. Crisp white walls and warm wood flooring throughout the house underscore the simple, modern interior.

Hogan and Petrarca will be on hand to answer tour participants’ questions about the house during the ModHop Tour.

For more information on the tour and to purchase tickets, go to

For more information on Tonic Design, visit

About Tonic Design:

Tonic Design is a multi-award-winning design-build firm in Raleigh, NC.  Among many accolades throughout their careers, principals Katherine Hogan and Vincent Petrarca were named 2013’s “Rising Stars” by Residential Architect magazine. Their projects have been featured in a host of national publications, including Architectural RecordResidential Architect, DwellCustom Homes, Inform magazine, and Metal Architecture, and locally in the News & ObserverWalter magazine, and Urban Home.  For more information:

Photos by Raymond Goodman



NC Author Awarded Residency To Create Screenplay

NC Author, lNC Filmmaker
Author Mark Spano

August 16, 2017 (Chapel Hill, NC) — Mark Spano, the Chapel Hill-based author of the critically acclaimed murder mystery, Midland Club, has been awarded a month-long residency at Escape to Create in Seaside, Florida, to turn his award-winning novel into a screenplay.

author Mark Spano
E2C cottages in Seaside, Florida.

Escape to Create (E2C) is a nationally recognized, non-profit, multidisciplinary artist residency hosted by the Seaside community since 1993. Over 150 writers, musicians, visual artists, and scholars have been awarded month-long retreats as emerging and mid-career artists.

Mark Spano is an accomplished filmmaker as well as author. His works include “The Quality of Light: A Biography of Claude Howell” and the definitive documentary on Sicily, “Sicily: Land of Love and Strife.” As a result, he admits that he visualized Midland Club on the screen as he wrote it.

“First of all, I want to express my deep appreciation to the selection committee, board, staff, and volunteers at Escape to Create,” Spano said. “I am truly honored and overflowing with gratitude for this opportunity.

“Since I work as both a writer and a filmmaker,” he continued, “when I’m working on any project in one medium I’m always considering, consciously or not, the possibilities of the other media. With new technologies, it seems ideas can have many different lives. My colleagues and I have more than once discussed adapting Midland Club to film. This residency has set these wheels in motion.”

To some of his admiring critics, the adaptation of a screenplay is a natural progression.

fiction/mystery/gay literatureMidland Club is a dark and cynical tale that reads like a film noir classic,” wrote one reviewer for, who also noted, “There’s a bit of ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ amidst the melancholy…”

Two of the many positive Amazon Reader Comments call the book “an engaging work of noir fiction” and: “The writer of Midland Club is a filmmaker, a fact that comes through in the clarity and imagery of his writing. He captures, in a ‘noiresque’ manner, the atmosphere of the period and the location.”

A Page-Turning Tale

Published in May of 2016, Midland Club is a page-turning tale of corruption, love, lies, and murder set in a Midwestern city in 1958. Puce Bordeaux, the only “Negro” waiter at the exclusive Midland Club downtown, dies suddenly and the sheriff immediately declares it a suicide.

Yet one man refuses to believe the death was suicide. That man is the protagonist, Rich St. Pierre, a member of the city’s wealthy, white, First Family. Rich has known the now-elderly Puce since Rich was a child and dined at the club with his wealthy father. Rich and Puce also spent a night together in jail after a raid on a local dive bar where the town’s otherwise hidden gay community gathers for drinks and jazz. He’s certain that Puce was murdered to make sure a scandalous secret goes to the grave with him.

Ostracized by his family since the raid, Rich St. Pierre is just as certain that his own life will be in grave danger if he attempts to reveal the truth.

E2C Residency

Spano will spend January 2018 at E2C in Seaside. Afterward, he’ll join an impressive alumni club that includes nominees and recipients of The Pulitzer and Pushcart Prizes; National Book Awards; scholarships at the American Academy of Arts & Letters and The American Academy in Rome; ASCAP and Aaron Copeland Awards; Guggenheim Foundation scholarships; James Beard and Grammy Awards; and more.

E2C residencies are made possible through the generosity of Seaside homeowners, merchants, and donors. For more information on E2C visit

For more information on Mark Spano and Midland Club, visit blog.markspano.comGoodreads, and BookLife.

Midland Club is available as a paperback book and in digital format on Amazon.


Extended Opportunity: “PR on a Platter” Package for 2017

A public relations opportunity for small businesses with big PR goals (exposure), big PR dreams (media coverage), and not-so-big 2017 PR budgets.

What’s included on the Platter?

o   Professional press releases that are written by a former newspaper and magazine editor on all the news your firm generates (new projects, completed projects, awards, new hires, etc., etc.) You’ll be surprised how much news you have to report.)

o   Manual press release distribution to relevant media sources, both online and traditional.

o   Project submissions to appropriate online journals, e-zines, and blogs to immediately raise your Internet presence (very important since we all “Google” information now – including potential clients’ searches for architects)

o   A limited number of direct pitches to appropriate media sources.

o   An experienced and committed PR professional who delivers results.

Since 2004, Blueplate PR’s message has been simple: “Get a lot for a little.”  With the new “PR on a Platter” package, we continue to deliver on this concept:

For a flat-fee of $500 per month (with a commitment of six months or more), you’ll enjoy Blueplate PR’s “no billable hours, no surprises” promise and achieve the PR results you need from a professional public relations expert with a track record for securing tons of media attention for her clients.

So – ready to Order Up?

Call or text Kim Weiss today at 919.819.0064or email


NOTE: This offer expires February 17, 2017, is available for new and returning clients, and requires at least a 6-month commitment, payable on or before the first day of each month.

Trig Modern Expands Textiles Offerings with Two Custom, Couture Rug Lines

Customer demand for modern floor coverings makes

high-end options a viable alternative.

Emma Gardner Designs area rug. (Photo from EGD gallery)
Emma Gardner Design area rug. (Photo from EGD gallery)

Trig Modern in Raleigh, the design center and showroom in Dock 1053 on East Whitaker Mill Road, has announced that it is now offering two new high-end modern, custom area rug collections from California: Emma Gardner Design, LLC, of Petaluma and Savnik & Co. of San Francisco.

“We’re always in search of fresh, unique products,” said Trig Modern owner Bob Drake. “Emma Gardner and Savnik are not widely distributed and they are on the high end, price-wise. But both companies offer such beautiful, unique options that we felt compelled to make them available to our showroom customers and interior design clients.”

Established in 2002 by Emma Gardner of Kyoto, Japan, Emma Gardner Design’s primary products are couture area rugs that are hand-made and GoodWeave-certified* in Nepal. Based on original copyrighted designs, the rugs are hand-knotted using hand-carded, hand-spun, pot-dyed Tibetan wool, and fine Chinese silk. Each one is made to order. Categories include Floral/Asian, Geometric, Organic Natural, and Signature, among others.

Savnik & Co. pure wool rug. (Photo from Houzz)
Savnik & Co. pure wool rug. (Photo from Houzz)

Savnik & Company is a family-owned business founded over 50 years ago. Its rugs and carpets are made of 100 percent wool that is skein-dyed for pure, even color. Its extensive line of textures can be augmented by custom treatments including shapes, sizes, over-tufted patterns, borders, and fringe. In addition to its 80 standard color palette, Savnik can also custom-match yarns to paint samples, fabric swatches, etc.

“There’s something wonderful about having a gorgeous rug customized to your specific design vision,” Drake said, “whether that means colors, motif, or a unique size. We’re confident that Trig Modern customers and clients are going to find these lines very exciting.”

For more information on Trig Modern, visit or call 919. 516.8755.

*About GoodWeave Certification:

The handmade carpet industry exploits nearly 250,000 children. GoodWeave is helping to combat this problem and transform the rug industry by certifying child-labor-free rugs and by providing education and other opportunities to rescued- and at-risk children. GoodWeave certification assures that no children were involved in the making of a rug.

logo_smAbout 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, 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.

Metro Magazine Joins “Colossus” Archive of Architecture Magazines


George Smart, Executive Director of the non-profit organization North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) and Bernie Reeves, Co-Founder and Publisher of Metro Magazine, have announced that NCMH’s Colossus Architecture Magazine Archive is now the official historical archive for Metro Magazine.

Inspired by senior editor and architecture enthusiast Kim Devins Weiss, Metro Magazine’s editor and publisher Bernie Reeves began covering the built environment in 1978 in his initial publication, Spectator Magazine, the first alternative weekly publication to cover the Triangle. According to Reeves, he wanted to convey “a sophisticated perspective on the emerging Triangle. I had a modicum of architectural DNA from my father, [the late architect] Ralph B. Reeves, Jr., but Kim made it happen. As a result, Spectator acknowledged that the built environment was of great interest to the intelligent reader.”

Reeves continued that tradition in Metro Magazine, a full-color monthly publication that covered a 22-county region from the Triangle to North Carolina’s coast. Established in 1999, Metro generally published monthly until April 2013 and enjoyed a circulation of 40,000.

Two writers covered architecture for Metro: design editor Diane Lea, who wrote features on residential design from historic preservation to Modernist houses; and Michael Welton, author of the online journal and the Raleigh News & Observer’s architecture critic.

“Metro exuded quality on every page, including Diane’s excellent coverage of area architecture,” aid Katie Reeves, Metro co-founder. “Now, through George Smart and Colossus, the homes and buildings covered will be available in a first-class environment.”

“Metro and the other publications in our Colossus archive chronicle the best of Modernist houses along with the talented, progressive architects who created them,” said George Smart, who recently received the American Institute of Architects’ 2016 Collaborative Achievement Award.

Once complete, Colossus will be the largest open digital architecture publication collection in the world.  We’re honored to continue Bernie Reeves’ advocacy for architecture through having Metro as part of Colossus.”

Colossus can be accessed at

redchair smAbout NC Modernist Houses:

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) is an award-winning, 501C3 nonprofit organizations established in 2007 and dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential design. The website is now the largest open digital archive for Modernist residential design in America. NCMH also hosts popular architecture events every month and frequent home tours, giving the public access to the most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours and events raise awareness and help preserve these “livable works of art” for future generations. For more information: Find NCMH on Facebook. Follow NCMH on Twitter and Instagram.

James Taylor’s Modernist Childhood Home Opens for Public Touring for the First Time


May 16, 2016 (Chapel Hill, NC) — The 1952 Trudy and Isaac M. Taylor House in Chapel Hill — the Modern childhood home of legendary singer-song writer James Taylor — will be open for public touring for the first time ever on Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., sponsored by North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH).

The Taylors initially hired multi-award-winning architect George Matsumoto to design their Modernist house. Yet as the project progressed, Trudy didn’t warm to Matsumoto’s ideas. So she fired the illustrious architect and immediately hired Durham architect John Latimer (1916-1996) to finish the job.

Nestled against a hillside to reduce its impact on the wooded lot, the three-level house features horizontal cypress siding on the exterior and a large, flat roof with deep overhangs to shade the house’s abundant glazing and to provide covering for a wrap-around deck. On the interior, Latimer used both cherry and oak wood.

The Taylor children’s bedrooms are on the ground-level floor. The master bedroom and living room are on the upper-most level. The kitchen, renovated by Chapel Hill architect Arthur Cogswell (1930-2010) in the late 1960s, is on the mezzanine level.

Along with the main house, NCMH tour-goers will visit the two-bedroom guesthouse where “Sweet Baby James” and his siblings played music during the early 1960s.

Ike and Trudy Taylor divorced in 1972 and moved out of the house. They rented it for two years before selling it to Pat and Jim Johnston in 1974. It was deeded to Johnston heirs in 2014.

Today, the house and accompanying 23 acres are about to be sold at auction. An auction agent will be on hand to answer any questions.

Due to limited parking around the Taylor house, advance timed tickets ($7 per person) are required for admission.  For more tour details, to purchase tickets, and to select a tour time slot, go to Tickets sell out quickly.

The house is located at 618 Morgan Creek Road (set GPS to 100 Coker Lane) in Chapel Hill).

Proceeds from ticket sales benefit North Carolina Modernist Houses, a nonprofit dedicated to archiving, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential design across the state. For more information:

About NC Modernist Houses:

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) is an award-winning, 501C3 nonprofit organizations established in 2007 and dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential design. This year, the American Institute of Architects awarded NCMH founder and director George Smart its Collaborative Achievement Award for his work with NCMH. The website is now the largest open digital archive for Modernist residential design in America. NCMH also hosts popular architecture events every month and frequent home tours, giving the public access to the most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours and events raise awareness and help preserve these “livable works of art” for future generations. For more information: Find NCMH on FacebookFollow NCMH on Twitter and Instagram.