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Tour gives insight for redecoration/restoration projects



5/17/2011 - Tour gives insight for redecoration/restoration projects
by Beth Beasley Times-News Correspondent

Hendersonville, North Carolina is an amazing area for historic homes - and there's a tour that you can take to see them!  Read the article below to find out more about these Western North Carolina treasures.

-- Tammy Mansell


          Of all the neighborhoods in Hendersonville, the Westside and Hyman Heights areas have high concentrations of historic homes.

Want to go?

What: Spring Tour of Historic Homes
Who: Hendersonville Historic Preservation Commission
When: 1 to 5 p.m., May 22.
Tickets: $15 per person
Info: Call 828-697-3088 or visit

So it's natural that the six properties featured in the Spring Tour of Historic Homes on May 22 are located in the two neighborhoods west and north of downtown, ranging from "stately mansions to charming bungalows."

"I think it's a good assortment of homes," says Lu Ann Welter, administrative assistant for the Planning Department. "The decorating styles are all different."

The self-guided driving tour is part of the activities planned for Preservation Week organized by the Hendersonville Historic Preservation Commission from May 18 to May 22.

It will give insights for anyone considering -- or already knee-deep in -- a restoration or redecoration project.

"Even though some are older they've gone with a more contemporary decorating style -- while others stick with an older style," says Welter.

All tour properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and have been beautifully restored, she adds.

Homeowners will be on hand the day of the tour to answer questions.

For the tour, each home is referred to by the name of the owner whose name appears as the earliest occupant, Welter says. Proceeds from the $15 per person ticket price will go the Historic Preservation Commission's neighborhood marker program, which lately has included plaques with historical information on Historic Seventh Avenue.

Tour tickets are more like booklets, printed with a map as well as lengthy descriptions of each home.

Three properties on Fifth Avenue West include a mansion, a former inn, and a cozy bungalow recently rescued from neglect.

O.B. Witt house

The one-story bungalow, known as the O.B. Witt house or more recently as "Magnolia Cottage", was built in 1928 with a central front porch front gable dormer.

What was formerly a one-room cabin has been updated over the years without taking away historic features, like original weatherboard siding.

Bay windows bring light into the home, which has new exterior paint that emphasizes architectural details.

According to owners Lee and Laura Linhart, the remodeling of the home was like a treasure hunt.

Pleasant surprises like finding windows that had been covered over for years mixed with less savory discoveries like a guest bedroom addition without proper structural support. Inside, a reading nook, built-ins in the dining room, and an enclosed back corner porch add to the uniqueness of the home.

The bungalow even has its own little "guest" house, a totally remodeled one-bedroom cottage known as the "Sweet Pea Cottage," now used as a vacation rental, as is the main home.

Columbus Mills Pace house

Built before Fifth Avenue was a road, the Columbus Mills Pace house is one of the oldest houses in Hendersonville.

Dating from around 1860, this three-story white Victorian home with a central hall plan was bought in 2006 by Robert and Ruthie Self, who operated it as the Angelique Inn until last year.

The home, now on the market for use as either an inn or private home, was both a private residence and a boarding house consistently since its construction.

It was once known once as the Locust Lodge. Claw foot tubs, the popular high parlor ceilings of the Victorian era, recently uncovered and restored fireplaces, and original heart-pine wood floors are among the many features of the home.

An antique pump organ, a gleaming dining room buffet, and a massive nine-foot high China cabinet can be viewed on the tour. In the kitchen, the Selfs removed plaster to expose brick, and have added a commercial kitchen, for use in a guesthouse operation.

An outbuilding that once was a 19th Century carriage repair station at the back of the house has been converted to a guest room -- without losing the details of hand hewn logs and original doorways.

Jason K. Livingston house

With the looks of a distinguished private home, The Jason K. Livingston house on Fifth Avenue and Blythe Street sits on two acres that has a small creek running through it.

The two-story Neo-Classical Revival house has a flat roof and a heavy two-story portico with simple Doric columns.

Charles and Lauren Fizer purchased the house in 2009 and have dedicated themselves to the home's restoration, including the huge task of having plaster removed and replaced on three exterior walls.

Patterned hardwood floors, nine-foot tall front doors with leaded glass inserts, and a multitude of original windows that have been repaired are other areas their restoration efforts have addressed.

The home's dining room has the original granite fireplace -- in large slabs used for the fireplace's front and its mantle.

The house originally had no indoor bathrooms, but over the years four and a half have been added.

Of the four second-floor bedrooms three have fireplaces, and while the third floor is finished it is currently not in use.

Behind the home is a detached two-story carriage house that was at one time converted to a caretaker apartment.

Curtis-Burckmyer house

Also in the Westside neighborhood is the Curtis-Burckmyer house, built in the classical revival style in 1903. Three generations of Burckmyer families -- listed as farmers in the city directory -- lived here.

In 1999 Todd and Renita McDougal purchased the home, and furnished it in a unique style they call "Scottish country."

The couple completed an extensive restoration last year. The living room features the McDougals' collection of antique maps of Scotland and Clan MacDougall tartan curtains, and numerous Scottish artworks and memorabilia can be seen throughout the home.

During the restoration, the McDougals removed layers of old wallpaper, vinyl flooring, 1970's style paneling, and ceiling tiles, and added a master bath and screened porch.

Mabel Baughman house

John and Sandy Perkins love to research the history of homes, like they did the Mabel Baughman house they live in on Highland Avenue.

The 1920's three-bedroom bungalow is a touchstone for imagining the lives of the people who at one time inhabited the Hyman Heights home.

Sandy Perkins, who grew up in Chicago, got in touch with the Historical Society and even contacted a former resident to find out more about the home they've owned since 2008.

"Finding out when your home was built, through whose hearts it passed, is the way it works itself into yours," says Sandy Perkins. "I know that once an old Buick with wooden spokes was parked in the garage and that a young boy listened 'all day' to the trains that now barely run."

Wh at was once a breakfast nook between the dining room and kitchen had been at one time converted into a butler's pantry.

The Perkinses have rebuilt a bedroom fireplace that at some point was boarded over -- a hearth visible on the floor was the only clue to its existence.

What might have been a true "wash porch" at the back of the house is now a cheerful room where the Perkinses "watch the sunrise over the mountains while enjoying a morning cup of coffee."

The 1970s "updated" bathroom has been brought back to its original era to match the tile and fixtures of the 1920s.

What seem to be original custom-made bookcases in the hallway have been retained.

The kitchen is updated from the 1920's style to a French style, and while the cabinets are Mission style, the color theme is dark, with marble countertops, says Perkins, who loves the French kitchen look.

Lee O. Allen house

The Lee O. Allen House on Patton Street, with its shaded wide front porch, harkens back to a simpler era. Classified as a Vernacular cottage style, it is named for an early resident of the home, Lee O. Allen, a salesman.

The large open space that includes the foyer, living room and dining room is an unusual feature of this home. Barley twist furniture and other accents grace the living room, that has a fireplace flanked by built-in bookcases and large windows.

Hardwood floors throughout the two-bedroom home include heart pine flooring in the den.

Each bedroom has its own bath with vintage elements and a number of French antiques complement the home's interior.

Welter notes that this is the fifth time this home tour has been organized, though it doesn't occur on an annual basis.

There are plans for a possible Erle Stillwell tour in the next year or two, focusing on buildings designed by the nationally know architect who was laid to rest at Oakdale Cemetery on Sixth Avenue West.

Advance tickets for the Spring Tour of Historic Homes are available at the Heritage Museum in the Historic Courthouse and at City Hall, both in Hendersonville.

On May 22, tickets can be purchased at any of the homes featured on the tour.

The 1970s "updated" bathroom has been brought back to its original era to match the tile and fixtures of the 1920s.

What seem to be original custom-made bookcases in the hallway have been retained.

The kitchen is updated from the 1920's style to a French style, and while the cabinets are Mission style, the color theme is dark, with marble countertops, says Perkins, who loves the French kitchen look.

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