For the Contextual Residential Infill at 219 East Lenoir Street, Raleigh
Susan and Andy Gilbert, owners of the new house at 219 E. Lenoir Street, relocated to Raleigh with the desire to be a part of the city’s downtown renaissance. On E. Lenoir Street, the Gilberts would find something unexpected – an opportunity to live in a historic district with the chance to write some history of their own. A vacant lot used for parking as far back as 1964, 219 E. Lenoir Street could only be described by its rusted chain link fence, no trespassing sign, and extensive overgrowth – a blank canvas. The Gilberts purchased the lot at the end of 2013.
Choosing an architectural style was the first step in what would become a journey to design and build a home that would continue to tell the Prince Hall story. To the Gilberts, the choice became obvious. The lot was flanked by a Queen Anne-style home and an American Foursquare. The Foursquare “fit” this site from the beginning. A broad, open and deep porch would be an important place to greet their neighbors while also keeping out of the southern sun. Not a fan of the dramatic open floor plan concepts seen in many of today’s modern houses, the Gilberts saw that the Foursquare respects interior spaces while at the same time providing a living area at the back for easy access to the generous back yard, skyline views and driveway side entry. Design cues were continually referenced against the other notable Foursquares in the Prince Hall Historic District – particularly its neighbor at 217 E. Lenoir Street, but also the homes at 312 & 314 E. Cabarrus Street and at 521 S. Person Street as well.
Located within the boundaries of both the East Raleigh/South Park National Register Historic District and the Prince Hall Local Historic District – Raleigh’s First African American and mixed use district – the Gilberts received a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Raleigh Historic Development Commission to construct their new home, astutely reflecting the character of their neighborhood. If you ask the Gilberts about the most common question they have received from friends and neighbors, they’ll tell you, with satisfaction, “Is it a rehab?” This house serves as a great example of how finding inspiration from the architecture of your neighbors creates an opportunity to become an instant and welcomed member of such a special community.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation, Inc. is pleased to present a 2016 Anthemion Award to Andy & Susan Gilbert; Keith Meister; Five Horizons Development for the Contextual Residential Infill at 219 East Lenoir Street, Raleigh.