For the Residential Rehabilitation of the Lamar-Brown House, 401 N. Person Street, Raleigh
The Queen Anne frame two-story house at 401 N. Person Street was built in 1896 for Alethea Lamar, the daughter of railroad executive William J. Hawkins. In 1901, the house was purchased by Henry and Mollie Brown. Chief clerk of the North Carolina Railroad Commission, Mr. Brown was later chief clerk and commissioner with the North Carolina Corporation Commission which regulated railroads, banks and utilities. In 1939, the Brown family sold the house to William Thomas Arthur, clerk with the North Carolina Unemployment Compensation Commission and Mr. Arthur immediately began renting out rooms. In 1948, Arthur and his wife Eleanor converted the house into three apartments: one in the front, one in the rear, and one upstairs. The State of North Carolina purchased the house from Mr. Arthur in 1999 with the intention to convert the house into offices. In 2001, the State added a triangular structure to the rear of the second story to accommodate a rear stairway. The State added a supporting wall under this addition – which ultimately closed off part of the original back porch – before abandoning the project entirely and leaving the house vacant. In 2016, the house was purchased by Matthew Brown – no relation to Henry and Mollie Brown.
Owner Matthew Brown served as designer and construction manager for the project and began work immediately after closing on the house. Mr. Brown hired Luke Williamson of Williamson Raleigh Renovations, LLC as the project manager and Christopher Tallman as the lead carpenter. Repairs were needed to both structural and decorative elements including in-kind replacement of missing or deteriorated materials. The porch floor structure had to be partially reconstructed and new tongue-and-groove pine decking was installed. Mike Turner and his crew completely stripped numerous layers of paint on the exterior and provided a more accurate Queen Anne-style color scheme of greens and reds.
The rear enclosed stairwell structure added by the State in 2001 was removed by Mike Turner and his crew and the original window was put back into place. The crew also replaced the sash ropes on all windows with sash chain and reworked the windows so that all sashes – upper and lower – easily open and close. Dividing walls in what had originally been the back porch were removed to create a large “music room.” Salvaged heart-pine flooring was installed in both the music room and the kitchen space. Other walls used to separate the interior into apartments were removed, and the recaptured spaces used to accommodate new bathrooms and a laundry area. All missing elements were fabricated or salvaged when appropriate. Will Hennebrenner of Oak City Artisans built seven new one-over-one double-hung windows of heart pine for installation where windows were missing. Just like the originals, these replacement windows are operated with lead weights and sash chains.
A custom mold was created to replicate the Eastlake interior woodwork for missing door frames, baseboards, plinth blocks, and chair rails in the newly created spaces. Each of the three bathrooms has encaustic tiles that reproduce the original late Victorian designs while cabinets in the kitchen and laundry were designed to complement the original woodwork in the Eastlake style. With painstaking attention to detail, replacement antique light fixtures further complement the interior finishes used to restore this house to its original grandeur.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation, Inc. is pleased to present a 2017 Anthemion Award to Matthew Brown; Williamson Raleigh Renovations, LLC; Christopher Tallman; Oak City Artisans; Mike Turner Painting Company for the Residential Rehabilitation of the Lamar-Brown House, Raleigh.