Award Winning Classical Design By Greensboro Architect Is A Perfect Fit Within The Stately And Beautiful Neighborhood

Posted on | September 29, 2016 | No Comments

Design professionals are commonly constrained by budgets, timelines, and their clients’ specific wants and needs. However, there are those projects in which everyone involved shares a singular vision, and everyone is willing to do what it takes to make it happen. This is when creativity and ingenuity are truly unleashed, and experts work their best magic. Such was the case when noted Greensboro architect Jim Collins, of James S. Collins Architect, was asked to design a new home that fit right into a celebrated historic neighborhood. He met that challenge with award-winning results, and he was kind enough to share the story with North Carolina Design.

The lot was located in Irving Park, a well-known Greensboro community first built in the early 1900′s. It was in a prime location within that neighborhood; it sat atop a hill, and overlooked a golf course. “For some reason, the lot sat empty for years, and my client had the good fortune of purchasing it for a very reasonable price,” Jim tells us.

“The lot was flanked on both sides by homes built by famed architect Charles Barton Keen. The homeowner’s goal was to build a home with such historical authenticity that it looked like it truly belonged. He wanted people to drive by it and say to themselves ‘why have I never noticed that house before?’ At the same time, he wanted it to stand out – to have the kind of rich detail that no other house in the neighborhood had.”

Jim’s high attention to detail, his love of history, and his long-standing passion for classical architecture made him just the right fit for the job. “I designed the exterior in a Colonial Revivalist style, which was appropriate for the area and era in which the neighborhood was built,” he affirms. “It’s a relatively straightforward, classical style, but there’s a lot you can do with it. Because of its simplicity, every detail takes on a great deal of significance.”

This home’s understated, yet masterfully designed details are what take it to an entirely new level of craftsmanship. The exterior features larger details that stand out immediately, such as slate roof, a three-flue chimney and shining copper gutters. It also features highly finessed details that add texture and interest, such as convex friezes, gracefully curved outriggers, beautiful lattice work, and an unusual use of exquisitely crafted moulding along the roofline.

The inside of the home is as richly detailed as the exterior. However, the style is a bit different. “The exterior of the home actually reflects a style borrowed from the Northeast,” Jim explains. “In the interior, we wanted to showcase the vernacular of historic North Carolina architecture.” This meant including details like the sweeping staircase, the hand-carved fireplace rosettes, and the hand-carved Flower of the Winds column detail, which was based on a historically common Southern motif.

There are also details that modern-day homeowners can appreciate, such as the artfully paneled kitchen appliances, and the gorgeous metal kitchen hood, which adds shine and a welcome touch of industrial artistry to the space.

The home has caught the industry’s attention – it was a recent winner of a prestigious American Residential Design Award from the American Institute of Building Design. While Jim is honored by the win, he insists his real reward was participating in the project.

“It was an incredible process,” he reflects. “The homeowner really wanted to do whatever it took to achieve a very high level of quality and authenticity – the right materials, the right details. I had the privilege of working with E.S. Nichols, who is just an exceptional builder, who was as committed to the vision as I was. Then we had the craftsmen, who were so highly skilled. It was just a joy have the freedom to bring this home to life in the way we wanted to.”

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