For the Commercial Rehabilitation of the Ella Williamson House, 1526 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh
The Ella Williamson House was originally built around 1920 as a single family home on prominent Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh. Located within the Hayes Barton National Register Historic District, the two-story Colonial Revival brick structure contains four main rooms on both the first and second floors as well as single story open porches on the sides of the main house. The house served as an elegant home until the late 1970s when it was turned into offices. Occupied by professional businesses between 1977 and 2011, the building was subdivided by floors; and, was primarily accessed by what was probably an original two-story (sleeping) porch at the rear. The internal main stairway was abandoned, the original bathrooms were removed, and the original configuration of the house was completely modified.
Over the course of time, the original grounds gave way to a parking lot behind the building, still servicing the house and other nearby office buildings on this block of Glenwood Avenue. The rear entry became the main entry but its design had not been sympathetic to the original structure. Added in the 1970s, a new roofline enclosed original windows and covered character-defining rafters.
Acquiring the property in 2012, the Abrams desired to return the home to single tenancy; and, to reinstate as many of the original details as could be reproduced. Enough of the original detailing remained to be restored, repaired or replaced. Based on evidence of its location and detailing, even the original stairway was recreated. Providing an entry that was both attractive and accessible while, at the same time, matching the former entry at the rear of the building was one of the goals of this project. An ADA ramp winds around a large planter – including a fountain – providing a pleasant, accessible path to a newly positioned door at the rear of the building. The roof over the new entry porch imitates the side porches including exposed eaves, a wooden ceiling and column supports that closely match those on the original porches. The front entry door, which was no longer original, was replaced with a solid mahogany door; and, after years of neglect, the circular granite entry steps were rebuilt. All woodwork inside the structure was restored to match what remained of the original detailing. Bathrooms originally located between the upstairs bedrooms were reinstated. The newly installed geothermal HVAC system eliminated the need for outside compressors, so pathways around the house are now free of all mechanical equipment.
The Ella Williamson House has been restored to the grandeur of its original appearance, once again a distinguished property in the Glenwood Avenue and Hayes Barton neighborhoods. Now the home of Abrams & Abrams, PA, it was rehabilitated for continued office use. With an estimated private investment rehabilitation cost of $547,000.00, the project was supported through the use of both federal and state income-producing property historic rehabilitation tax credits.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation, Inc. is pleased to present a 2015 Anthemion Award to Doug & Peggy Abrams; Greg Paul Builders; Meg McLaurin Architecture; Bowman Mechanical Services, Inc.; Bo Taylor Custom Woodworking for the Commercial Rehabilitation of the Ella Williamson House, 1526 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh.