NC Modernist Houses, Preservation Durham To Co-Host Special “Thirst4Architecture” Happy Hour

Both non-profits welcome design enthusiasts to networking event at Straw Valley Café

Inside Straw Valley Cafe

Inside Straw Valley Cafe


August 20, 2013 (Durham, NC) —  NC Modernist Houses (NCMH) and Preservation Durham will host a special addition to NCMH’s 2013 “Thirst4Architecture” series of happy hour networking events on Thursday, September 19, from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. at Straw Valley Café in Durham.

“Thirst4Architecture” events provide anyone interested in Modernist architectural design a chance to get together in an informal environment. The events are free and open to the public. Free, light appetizers will accompany the cash bar.

“We’re delighted to co-host this special T4A happy hour with NC Modernist Houses in a location that has such a rich history within our city,” said Wendy Hillis, Executive Director of Preservation Durham.

Straw Valley Café is a collection of structures that house a coffee bar, wine bar, stores, a courtyard, and an event hall. The property was first a dairy farm named for the broomcorn straw that grew along the Durham-Chapel Hill highway. Fifty-three years ago, artists Robert Keith Black and J. Osmond Sanderson converted the barn into their living-working quarters, filling it with Modernist furniture and art. As a result, Straw Valley was the subject of newspaper articles, magazine photo shoots, and home tours throughout the 1970s.

Current owner Scott Bednaz of Terracorp Properties was also one of Preservation Durham’s Pyne Award winners in 2012. The Pyne Award is given to both homeowners and commercial property owners for sensitive restoration projects that preserve Durham’s historic architecture and architectural heritage.

Now as Straw Valley Café, the house has been renovated to recall its structure as a barn yet it is once again filled with contemporary furniture and decor to honor its former residents.

“We welcome anyone interested in architecture and historic preservation of our architectural heritage to join us and enjoy the Straw Valley ambience,” said NCMH founder and director George Smart. “T4A focuses on building relationships, generating passion for good design, creating strategic alliances, and connecting people to each other. There are no presentations. We just want folks to come out and enjoy themselves.”

Straw Valley Café is located at 5420 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard, Durham, NC 27707 (919-403-2233). For directions and more information visit