For the Residential Rehabilitation of the Walnut Hill Cotton Gin, 4620 Mial Plantation Road, Shotwell
Jim Smith and Pam Troutman purchased the Walnut Hill Cotton Gin (c.1840) in 1990. At that time, the structure had been stripped of all original flooring, the room on the ground floor had had its flooring structure and siding removed, and the roof on the northeast bay had collapsed, causing severe deterioration in that section. Jim, architect and vice president of HagerSmith Design, PA, and Pam hired restoration contractor Pat Schell to help them stabilize and rehabilitate the Gin, a project which has taken fifteen years. The building now serves as a home and studio for the owners.
The adaptive use of the Gin was guided by the desire to create a loft-style living and working space using sustainable design practices. The owners followed the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and applied for and received North Carolina state tax credits for rehabilitation of a historic building. The aesthetic maximizes exposure of the hand-hewn timber framing, emphasizes the openness of the structure, and introduces new elements using industrial materials.
The open area on the ground floor was originally used for walking mules or oxen to power the gins. This area has been left open through the use of massive stone pillars for use as a patio. The room behind this area was developed as a studio space. The first floor is open, with new walls introduced only to create the master bath and closet and to separate the bedroom area from the stair. The kitchen and living room also occupy the first floor. The second floor was left open at the south end to create an organic interplay of light and structure. The north end of the second floor serves as a guest bedroom with a full bathroom and loft studio space.
Details were abstracted from the historic function of the building. A new, functional stair was added and is an interpretation in steel and wood of the original, steep wooden staircase, which is no longer functional but serves as a display space for art objects. On the interior, the window and door details were left un-cased to reflect the original exterior details where the siding butts the window and door jambs without casing. The building’s envelope was insulated and sealed. Interior finishes were made of recycled or sustainable materials to maximize indoor air quality. Mechanical systems include a high-efficiency heat pump with an energy efficient recovery ventilator.
The project has been selected for the News and Observer’s “Home of the Month” series and will be featured in the November article.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation is pleased to present a 2007 Anthemion Award to Jim Smith and Pam Troutman, and Pat Schell for the Residential Rehabilitation of the Walnut Hill Cotton Gin.