For the Commercial Rehabilitation and Adaptive Reuse of the Cowper House, 501 North Blount Street, Raleigh
The Cowper House was constructed in 1895 for United States district attorney Claude Bernard. At the turn of the century, B. G. Cowper moved his family from their farm at Five Points in Raleigh to this home on North Blount Street. Mr. Cowper and his business partner, Bryan Grimes, owned an insurance agency on Fayetteville Street. Cowper was active in community civic affairs, serving on the original board of trustees for Raleigh’s first public library, the Olivia Raney Library in 1899. Cowper’s daughter, Mary Grimes Cowper, married Curran G. Keeble in 1925, and they lived in the family’s home through the 1950s. The house later served as offices for the North Carolina architectural licensing board in the late twentieth century.
During the rehabilitation, numerous non-compatible alterations and additions were removed and updates were undertaken to remain sensitive to the original historic fabric. A new accessible ramp was added to blend into the wraparound porch, window, door and siding repairs were made, and new on-site parking was integrated into the site. Interior improvements included the preservation of the numerous fireplaces, the addition of new accessible restrooms, a new kitchen, and electrical, mechanical, and plumbing updates.
While the renovations were planned with a commercial user in mind, care was also taken to maintain the original character and flow of the interior spaces and access to the exterior yard, so as not to preclude the Cowper House from being used as a private residence as well. The large double hung windows, exterior and interior doors, trim and casing profiles, the two interior staircases, and the large first floor pocket doors all remain as examples of the unique character of the original construction.
Today, the two-and-one-half-story frame house stands as a delightful example of the picturesque Queen Anne style popular at the turn-of-the-century. With its tall hipped slate roof, slate gables, its square corner tower with a slate belfry with metal finial, and a two-story front bay window, the house is a visual feast of this Victorian style. Details such as the decorative wood brackets framing the cutaway upper bay window, the rosette window in the tower, and the wraparound veranda with bracketed posts and a decorative balustrade complete this attractive building.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation, Inc. is pleased to present a 2014 Anthemion Award to the Robertson Law Firm; Winstead Wilson Architects, PLLC; Legacy Construction Group, Inc. for the Commercial Rehabilitation and Adaptive Reuse of the Cowper House, 501 North Blount Street, Raleigh.