Saturday, February 17, 2007

Raleigh Modern: Fadum House transformed

Last June, I blogged about the Fadum House as one stop on Preservation North Carolina's tour of modernist architecture in Raleigh. It was in the midst of an expansive, sympathetic addition/renovation. Here's what it looked like then, from the rear. (More pics.)

Fadum house rear

Now finished, it's featured in today's N&O. (More pics.) "The original house, along with the handful of other modernist residences left in the city, is one of the last vestiges of a promising post-war Raleigh that bloomed but never flourished," writes Richard Butner. Being not so big houses, even very fine examples of the houses of this period can end up as teardowns.

They are small houses, and yet there are those who love them. Largely because of my June blog series, I hear right along from folks who do (including Richard Butner, who I hope will keep on writing about Raleigh's mid-century treasures). One woman wrote from Washington, N.C. to say she was looking for a mid-century modern house anywhere in the state, or the country. She said she'd called a Chapel Hill real estate agent who promptly tried to talk her out of the "ranch house," the only term in her vocabulary for what she interpreted to be this woman's interest. We experienced a similar bias when we were looking for our own house. What will it take for the agents to get a clue? (They're clued in Charlotte.)

Ruth Little's book on Chapel Hill architecture has a whole chapter on mid-century design in Chapel Hill. Will that advance the conversation?

Meanwhile over in Raleigh, the new owners of the Fadum House are setting an example for preservation, in both senses. The pine trees that were cut for the expansion were put to work as flooring and paneling.

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