Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Poland/DeFeo House: A moving preservation story

Congratulations to George Smart of Triangle Modernist Houses for organizing a terrific modern home tour in Durham Saturday! We enjoyed the three houses on the tour in Hope Valley--Brian Shawcroft's 1963 Bruce and Nancy Wardropper house, Robert "Judge" Carr's 1958 Miriam and Henry Nicholson house, and the new "Three Pavilions" by Bill Waddell for Monica Hunter.

Also available on open house was the wonderful house designed by George Matsumoto for George Poland, a professor of foreign languages and literature at NCSU, in 1954. The house, designed like Matsumoto's own house only on smaller scale, was beautifully sited above Crabtree Valley in Raleigh, but development crowded upon it and threatened to consume it. Poland's heirs worked with Preservation North Carolina in 2001 to find a seller willing to re-situate the house and give it the love it deserved.

Don DeFeo did just that, working with architect Ellen Cassilly to coordinate the move to a new pastoral setting in Durham County, to design modest renovations, and to design a new downstairs.

Now he is selling the house through the Modern Home Network and Preservation North Carolina. What a delight to be able to experience this special jewel box of a house.

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