For the Commercial Rehabilitation of the Lewis-Smith House, 515 N. Blount Street, Raleigh
The two-story Greek Revival Lewis-Smith House, constructed in the 1850s, was moved in 1974 from its original site, one block east of its current location on Blount Street. Shortly after its relocation, the house was converted from a private residence to become the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. One of the last remaining grand houses from a collection of homes that comprised an affluent neighborhood adjacent to downtown, the fight to save, relocate, and preserve the house, in the 1970’s, became an early rallying cry for historic preservation. The state sold the property in 2012 after the State Historic Preservation Office moved to the State Archives Building. Utilizing the State’s historic rehabilitation tax credit program, the building was adapted for continued use as offices by the local realty and development firm, Hobby Properties.
The house was restored to its 1850s appearance, including the restoration of exterior proportions, interior room layouts, finishes, fireplaces and light fixtures. Per recommendation of the National Park Service, a high velocity mechanical heating and cooling system was installed to replace a 1970s conventional system whose large ducts and registers significantly impacted the visual integrity of the house. Utilizing narrow ducts and registers, the new system preserves existing ceiling heights and minimizes the impact of a modern system on a mid nineteenth-century building.
The existing rear addition was removed and replaced with an addition inspired by the 1915 renovation of the house which had introduced side, bay-shaped additions, incorporating large windows and a solarium. Board formed concrete foundation walls create a base for wood siding and large expanses of glazing.
Materials and proportions were carefully controlled to be sympathetic to the historic palette while also creating a clear juxtaposition of the old and the new. At the front façade, handicap parking was accommodated by introducing structured porous pavement cells with gravel, both meeting accessibility requirements and maintaining the historic character of the gravel drive – one of the first such applications in Raleigh. Today, the house is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is located within the boundaries of both the Blount Street National Register Historic District and the Blount Street Local Historic District.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation, Inc. is pleased to present a 2015 Anthemion Award to Hobby Properties; Clearscapes, PA; Williams Realty & Building Company, Inc. for the Commercial Rehabilitation of the Lewis-Smith House, 515 N. Blount Street, Raleigh.