James Taylor’s Modernist Childhood Home in Chapel Hill Will Open for Second Public Tour

1952 Taylor Home_sm

After the first tour sold out, NCMH has arranged a second opportunity for Taylor fans and Modernist design enthusiasts.

By popular demand, North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) will host a second tour of singer-songwriter James Taylor’s classic mid-century Modern childhood home in Chapel Hill on Saturday, July 2, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Tickets ($7 each) for admission by specific time slots are on sale now at http://www.ncmodernist.org/jt.htm and are expected to sell out quickly.  Nine-hundred people attended the first tour on June 4.  “I can’t tell you how many phone calls and emails I’ve received from folks who didn’t secure tickets for the first tour before it was sold out,” said George Smart, Executive Director of NCMH. “James Taylor is such an iconic figure, locally and nationally. So we’re delighted to be able to offer a second opportunity.”

Modernist architects George Matsumoto and John Latimer designed the three-level house, which was built in 1952 for Dr. Isaac Taylor — then-dean of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine — his wife Trudy and their five children: James, Livingston, Hugh, Alex, and Kate. James lived there until he graduated from high school.

In the 1960s, James and his siblings played music in the two-story guesthouse nearby, which is included on the tour. Participants will see where James carved his initials on the railing around the guesthouse deck.

The house will be auctioned on June 29.

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: www.ncmodernist.org.

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. 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 www.ncmodernist.org 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: www.ncmodernist.org. Find NCMH on FacebookFollow NCMH on Twitter and Instagram.

Two Net Zero Passive Houses Are State-Of-The-Art on the 2015 Green Home Tour

One of the two net zero homes: Happy Meadows Courtyard House.
One of the two net zero homes: Happy Meadows Courtyard House.

There’s “green,” and then there’s GREEN.

When the Home Buyers Association of Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties presents its 10th annual Green Home Tour May 2-3 and 9-10, tour-goers will see several houses that are certified“green” because they use less energy, water and natural resources, create less waste, and are generally healthier environments than a traditionally designed and constructed house.

Two houses on the tour, however, are so green that even LEED Platinum structures pale in comparison. Designed by Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, homes “C6” and “C12”in the tour’s guidebook are “net zero passive houses.”

Net zero means that these houses produce as much energy as they use. “Passive” refers to their ability to maintain indoor temperature with minimal dependence on active HVAC systems.

“Of course, passive houses work well in tandem with active systems like solar panels if the goal is to reach net zero,” Schechter pointed out. “And we did indeed reach net zero and beyond on both of these houses.”

And, unlike traditionally built houses, these net zero passive houses do not emit any greenhouse gases into the environment.

In Chapel Hill, “C6” is the 2289-square-foot, two-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home of Phil and Velma Helfaer, which they have named the “Happy Meadows Courtyard House” because it also features one of Schechter’s signature design elements: a private courtyard.

“I love courtyards because they also add warmth and grace wherever they’re located,” she notes.“They expand living spaces and extend sight lines. And, yes, they’re wonderful places to dine, lounge, and entertain outdoors with complete privacy.  At their most primal level, courtyards provide“sanctuary” and “calm” as an antidote to our overcomplicated world.”

Kevin Murphy, the owner of Newphire Building and a Certified Passive House Builder, built Happy Meadows. “We wanted to create a home that combined the application of the most up-to-date energy modeling and building science with an artful, modern aesthetic,” he says.

A longtime animal advocate, Schechter’s favorite feature just might be the creation of the wildlife habitat in the pond and water feature. “We always try to include a place for wildlife in our designs. The Happy Meadows water gardens provide homes for frogs and other species, which are in critical decline as they suffer from more and more habitat loss from development.”

Designed to be net positive with the addition of more solar panels in the future, the house will produce enough excess energy to charge an electric car.  It’s even third-party certified to the most rigorous energy efficiency standard in the country — Passive House Plus – and follows every EPA recommendation for indoor air quality. For more details on this house: http://www.acsarchitect.com/#!happy-meadows-courtyard-house/c246b.

The "Modern Farmhouse" in PIttsboro
The “Modern Farmhouse” in PIttsboro

“C12,” in Pittsboro’s Laughing Brook subdivision, is the home of Pam and Aaron Fleischauer and their young son, Jack. At 1790 square feet with three bedrooms and two baths, this net zero “modern farmhouse” features ultra-low-maintenance concrete exterior walls, 20 solar panels, a tiny HVAC system, and on-demand hot water, among a host of other net zero and passive house elements and details. Bright in the winter and cool and shady in the summer, it was built by Anchorage Building Corp.

“We are in the house and it is wonderful,” Aaron Fleischauer told the Chapel Hill News in August. “It is so beautiful. I am amazed how clean the air feels.”

The Green Home Tour features a diverse group of newly built or remodeled green-certified homes, giving the public an opportunity to see first-hand the renewable energy and advanced green building practices in home design in the three counties. For more information on the tour, go to hbadoc.com.

For more information on Arielle Condoret Schechter and the green homes she designs, visit www.acsarchitect.com.

About Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, Architect:

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 designs, Micropolis Houses™. She is a lifelong environmentalist and animal advocate who was riding on the green design train long before it became mainstream. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Arnie, and an assortment of foster animals in a Modern house she designed. For more information: www.acsarchitect.com.

Triangle Modernist Houses Hosts Tour of 1959 Carter Williams House

“Blue Haven” will be open to the public for one day.

Inside the Carter Williams House

July 6, 2011 (Raleigh, NC) — The 1959 Carter Williams House Tour, designed by prolific Raleigh architect F. Carter Williams, FAIA, for his family, with landscape design by Dick Bell, FASLA, will be open for public touring on Saturday, July 23, from 10 a.m. until noon.

The tour of this classic mid-century modernist house, nicknamed “Blue Haven” for the distinctive “Carolina Blue Stone” used in its construction, is presented by the Triangle Modernist Houses and sponsored by Eidolon Design.

The two-level house is typical of mid-century modernist houses in many ways. Lower level floors are terrazzo and glass walls flood the spaces with natural light while opening the interior to the exterior. Upstairs, multi-columned stone construction visual divides the entrance hall from the great room beyond, where floor-to-ceiling glazing offers panoramic views of the landscape and forest beyond the house. Built-in casework throughout the house is walnut.

Current owner Jill Maurer has filled the Williams house with high-end mid-century

Entrance, showing landscape design by Dick Bell.

modern furnishings, including a Florence Knoll lounge, chairs and tables by Bertoia and Eero Saarinen, and an Isamu Noguchi coffee table. Her art collection, including abstract paintings by such North Carolina luminaries as Claude Howell and George Bireline, also complements the house’s architecture and ambiance.

Metro Magazine’s Diane Lea called the house “one of Raleigh’s acknowledged early Modernist jewels” in her feature on “Blue Haven” in November of 2010.

Over his 40-year span, Carter Williams and his firm designed more than 600 projects throughout the state. From 1939 to 1941, he was an assistant professor at the NCSU School of Design. The highest honor AIA North Carolina presents each year to an individual for a distinguished career or extraordinary accomplishments is named the

Rear elevation

F. Carter Williams Gold Medal.

In the study Post-World War II and Modern Architecture in Raleigh, North Carolina, author Ruth Little writes, “It is safe to say that Williams’ elegant understated modernism had a bigger impact on Raleigh architecture than any other architect in Raleigh from 1945 to 1965.”

The Carter Williams house is located at 6612 Rest Haven Drive. Tickets are $5.95 in advance until July 16 and $8 at the door. To purchase advance tickets and get directions to the house, go to http://trianglemodernisthouses.com/tour.

For more information on Triangle Modernist Houses, visit www.trianglemodernisthouses.com.

About Triangle Modernist Houses

Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) is a 501C3 nonprofit established in 2007 to restoring and growing modernist architecture in the Triangle. The award-winning website, now the largest educational and historical archive for modernist residential design in America, continues to catalog, preserve, and advocate for North Carolina modernism.  TMH also hosts popular modernist house tours several times a year, giving the public access to the Triangle’s most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours raise awareness and help preserve these “livable works of art” for future generations. Visit the website at www.trianglemodernisthouses.com. TMH also has an active community on Facebook.

Triangle Modernist Houses.com Opens Door To Modernist Marvel

Never-before-seen Modernist House Open on Saturday, June 19.

The 2001 Thompson House, by David Davenport, AIA

June 1, 2010 (DURHAM, NC) — On a serene, 20-acre swath of land between Garner and Apex, NC, overlooking a small lake, rests one of the most remarkable Modernist houses in the entire Triangle region, according to George Smart, founder and Executive Director of Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH). On Saturday, June 19, from 1-4 p.m., this private home will be open to the public for the very first time.

In 1999, Diane and Bobby Thompson commissioned David Davenport, AIA, of Davenport Architecture + Design in Manteo and Cary. Built by Tom Brown of The Splinter Group in Raleigh, the 6000-square-foot, two-story home was completed in 2001.

“This sleek, white, sculptural modern design evokes immediate comparison to the work of master Modernist architects Richard Meier, FAIA, and Charles Gwathmey, FAIA,” said Smart. “Architect David Davenport had the perfect wave of design talent, a sophisticated client, an exceptional site, and a premium budget.”

The Thompson House is engineered with heavy steel and wood and covered in real stucco. Extensive glazing and architectural forms create framed views of the landscape. The interior features sweeping, multi-use spaces including second-floor balconies behind glass railings. Contemporary interior finishes and furnishings are by Lynda Lankford of Room Service in Raleigh. Lighting designer Stan Pomeranz of LightTech Design in Research Triangle Park created the architectural lighting for the house and grounds.

The Thompson property also features a 3400-square-foot garage/apartment and a full scale go-kart track modeled after the Bristol International Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.  For sale since March, the list price is $2.5 million. Additional photos and information on architect David Davenport are available at www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/davenport.htm.

Tickets to this one-time-only tour are $5.95. Reserve tickets online at www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/register.htm. Access is limited, so early reservations are recommended.  The event occurs rain or shine.

The TMH Thompson House Tour is co-sponsored by LightTech, Lynda Lankford of Room Service, and Tom Brown of The Splinter Group. Representatives from all three firms, plus Davenport Architecture, will be at the house during the tour.

TMH offers the public access to modernist architecture throughout the year.  The nine-house “TMH Modern 2010” tour in Raleigh is September 25, a lineup ranging from the 1950s to 2008. For more information, visit www.trianglemodernisthouses.com.

About Triangle Modernist Houses

Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) is a 501C3 nonprofit established in 2007 to restore and grow modernist architecture in the Triangle. The award-winning website, now the largest educational and historical archive for modernist residential design in America, continues to catalog, preserve, and advocate for North Carolina modernism.  TMH also hosts popular modernist house tours several times a year, giving the public access to the Triangle’s most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours raise awareness and help preserve these “works of art” for future generations. Visit the website at www.trianglemodernisthouses.com. TMH also has an active community on Facebook.

Triangle Modernist Houses Announces 2010 Modernist Home Tour


Event to feature nine modernist houses in Raleigh from the 1950s to today.

May 24, 2010 (RALEIGH, NC) — What’s Raleigh’s best-kept secret?  The Triangle has the third largest concentration of Modernist houses in the country, behind LA and Chicago — literally hundreds of exceptional houses — due to the Modernist influence of the NCSU College of Design’s influence over the last 61 years.

Nine of those modernist houses, plus one office space, will be open for touring during the Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) Modernist Home Tour in Raleigh on Saturday, September 25, from 1 – 4:30 p.m.

This tour, TMH’s 12th,  will feature modernist houses from mid-century 1950’s to cutting-edge new homes, all of which are defined by open interiors, abundant glass, aesthetic geometries, and sweeping lines.

TMH’s award-winning home tours, organized by TMH founder and director George Smart, are the longest-running, professionally-conducted architectural tours in the region. The past 11 tours have allowed over 2000 people from around the state to tour 21 Modernist houses.

“As with all TMH home tours, we showcase the value of exceptional architecture and construction,” Smart said. “TMH gives the public unique opportunities to go inside nine of the coolest houses in Raleigh that they would rarely be able to see otherwise.  We’ve lined up some of the best.  And photography is not only allowed, it is encouraged.”

Preservation North Carolina, the nonprofit statewide historic preservation organization dedicated to protecting and promoting buildings, landscapes and sites important to the state’s diverse heritage, is including the TMH Tour as part the 2010 Preservation NC Annual Conference September 23-25.

Smart, well-known for speaking on “Mayberry Modernism” across North Carolina, emphasizes the green, sustainable features of the TMH tour.

“Our free hop-on, hop-off bus system reduces the carbon footprint and assures neighborhoods are not disrupted with hundreds of cars.  People don’t have to spend their day finding, driving to, and parking at each home.”

Tickets to the 2010 Tour will be available through the TMH website and various ticket outlets in the coming weeks.

Sponsors include Preservation North Carolina, Ambiente International, the NCSU Gregg Museum of Art, the Louise Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, Eidolon Designs, Center Studio Architecture, Nowell’s Contemporary Furniture, Modern Home Network, and Beyond Blue Interiors. Companies can still sign on as sponsors by contacting George Smart at 919-740-8407.

Ticket information and other details will be announced at a later date. For more information on Triangle Modernist Houses, visit www.trianglemodernisthouses.com.

About Triangle Modernist Houses

Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) is a 501C3 nonprofit established in 2007 to restoring and growing modernist architecture in the Triangle. The award-winning website, now the largest educational and historical archive for modernist residential design in America, continues to catalog, preserve, and advocate for North Carolina modernism.  TMH also hosts popular modernist house tours several times a year, giving the public access to the Triangle’s most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours raise awareness and help preserve these “works of art” for future generations. Visit the website at www.trianglemodernisthouses.com. TMH also has an active community on Facebook.