PRAIRIEMOD: “North Carolina Modernist Houses Expands Masters Gallery”

North Carolina Modernist Houses Master Gallery

NCMH Masters Gallery screen shot.

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH), the award-winning non-profit organization dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential design, has updated the NCMH Masters Gallery. With these updates and additions, the NCMH Masters Gallery is America’s largest open digital archive of Modernist houses, as well as the internationally known Modernist architects who designed them.

As stated in the press release:

Started in 2009 with the most well-known Modernists, such as Frank Lloyd Wright and John Lautner, the NCMY Masters Gallery has expanded to over 30 architects with extensive house histories and over 10,000 photos. 

The Masters Gallery is an extensive, easily searched record of the International Modernist movement in residential architecture… READ MORE…

Modern House in Historic Oakwood Controversy Inspires the NCMH Legal Defense Fund


To provide funding for legal representation and other services to the Cherry/Gordon house and other Modernist houses under attack.

March 24, 2014 (Raleigh, NC) — Raleigh residents Louis Cherry and Marsha Gordon received all the required city approvals and permits for their new home in the Oakwood Historic District, so they began construction. Yet when the house was 85 percent complete, an Oakwood resident approached the Raleigh Board of Adjustment, claiming the Cherry/Gordon house is too Modern for the downtown neighborhood. Suddenly construction was stopped and the homeowners’ permits were revoked.

Regarding this move as “an egregious miscarriage of justice and fairness,” the non-profit organization North Carolina Modernist Houses has formed the NCMH Legal Defense Fund (LDF) to provide technical assistance, funding for legal representation, and other support services to endangered Modernist houses throughout North Carolina – starting with the Cherry/Gordon house in Oakwood.

Contributors to the LDF who donate at least $100 will be invited to a kick-off fundraiser on April 13 in the Modernist home of attorney Mack Paul beginning at 4 p.m. For details:

“As we all know, pursuing legal channels is a critical but expensive investment,” said NCMH board chair George Smart. “From preserving historically significant Modernist houses to standing for due process for new Modernist houses under threat, the LDF is now actively advocating for North Carolina’s great legacy of Modernist residential architecture, such as the Cherry/Gordon house, by making sure legal expenses and technical issues do not stand in the way.”

Smart is by no means alone in this initial effort. The NCMH LDF’s founding Host Committee – members of which have made significant monetary donations – include such local luminaries as Larry Wheeler, Director, NC Museum of Art and a former Oakwood resident; Myrick Howard, executive director, Preservation North Carolina; James Goodnight, Jr., SAS Institute; Ashley Christensen, Ashley Christensen Restaurants; Frank Harmon, FAIA, Frank Harmon Architect PA; Scott Cutler, Clancy & Theys Construction; Bernie Reeves, Metro Magazine; and Greg Paul, Greg Paul Builders, among many others.

At least 10 current Oakwood residents have joined the effort so far, including Barbara Wishy, a pioneer in the restoration of the Oakwood district in the 1970s and a homeowner there for over three decades. Wishy has renovated and sold several historic properties in Oakwood. (The complete list of Host Committee members is available at

“We can’t allow the Board of Adjustment to essentially give neighbors the power of condemnation,” Smart said.

On Thursday, March 20, the Raleigh City Council announced its decision to appeal the BOA’s decision to Superior Court

For more information on the NCMH Legal Defense Fund:


WRAL TV: “Oakwood residents, homeowner draw battle lines in fight over modern house”

 — Residents of Raleigh’s historic Oakwood neighborhood and

The Cherry/Gordon house, under construction, draws inspiration from Craftsman-style houses in the historic neighborhood.

The Cherry/Gordon house, under construction, draws inspiration from Craftsman-style houses in the historic neighborhood.

the owner of a home under construction there held dueling news conferences Friday as the battle over the type of construction allowed in Oakwood intensified.

Marsha Gordon and Louis Cherry were granted necessary permits to build the contemporary house at 516 Euclid St., including a certificate of appropriateness from the Raleigh Historic Development Commission.

Construction on the house irked neighbors, who argued that the house didn’t fit with the character of Oakwood, and they filed a complaint over it. That led the city’s Board of Adjustment to reverse the certificate, which could halt construction on the home.

City officials said Thursday that they would appeal the Board of Adjustment decision to Superior Court “because of concerns about procedural irregularities.”

“(Oakwood) is not a museum stuck in time,” Cherry, an architect, said at a news conference at the Euclid Street construction site.

Cherry and Gordon were backed by North Carolina Modernist Houses, a nonprofit group that documents, preserves and promotes modernist architecture. READ MORE…

TWC News: “supporters, opponents weigh in on modern home in historic district”

Supporters gather at the press conference announcing the NCMH Legal Defense Fund

Supporters gather at the press conference announcing the NCMH Legal Defense Fund

By Julie Fertig

RALEIGH– Folks on both sides weighed in Friday on the future of a modern home that’s under construction in an entirely historic neighborhood.

“Its stressful to build a house, its really stressful to build this house,” said Marsha Gordon who is building a home with her husband Louis Cherry. The house is 85% complete, but they do not know whether they’ll ever be able to move into the contemporary house in the Oakwood Historic District.

On Friday, members of North Carolina Modernist Houses gathered to support the couple during a press conference.

“Who among you wants to follow all the rules, sink their life savings into and have it stopped?” asked George Smart, chair of NCMH…

On Friday, leaders of NCMH launched a legal defense fund to provide resources and legal assistance to modern homes under threat across the state. NCMH plans to support the legal battle the couple with the contemporary home is facing. READ MORE…

WASHINGTON POST, MODESTO BEE: “Modern home divides historic Southern neighborhood”

By Allen Breed, The Associated Press 

Marsha Gordon and Louis Cherry in front of their new home. AP Photo

Marsha Gordon and Louis Cherry in front of their new home. AP Photo

RALEIGH, N.C. — Architect Louis Cherry sees the two-story structure — with its exposed beams, masonry piers, deep overhangs and shallow-pitched roof — as a “contemporary interpretation” of the Craftsman-style homes that dot the city’s Historic Oakwood District.

But to some of Cherry’s neighbors, the cypress-sided house at 516 Euclid Street is just Frank Lloyd Wrong. And nearly six months into construction, with the home roughly 85 percent finished, Cherry and wife Marsha Gordon face the real possibility that they might have to tear down their dream house.

“It was very much our intention to design and build a house that people would really like and accept,” Cherry said on a recent overcast morning as he and Gordon stood in the shell of what they hope will be their master bedroom…


… On Friday, the group North Carolina Modernist Houses held a news conference at the home to denounce “this miscarriage of justice and fairness,” and to discuss a fund to help fight it. READ MORE…

NEWS & OBSERVER: “Raleigh modernist house supporters raise money, as opponents rally”

Architect Louis Cherry will be forced to stop construction on his controversial modernist home in the Oakwood neighborhood – five months after the city issued his building permit. Photo by Juli Leonard

Architect Louis Cherry will be forced to stop construction on his controversial modernist home in the Oakwood neighborhood – five months after the city issued his building permit. Photo by Juli Leonard

By Colin Campbell

 — An advocacy group for modernist houses launched a legal defense fund Friday for a controversial house in the Oakwood neighborhood, while opponents of the home made their case a few blocks away.

The bitter divisions in the historic Raleigh neighborhood were apparent Friday as both sides held front-yard news conferences an hour apart offering vastly differing views on architecture.

N.C. Modernist Houses chairman George Smart says his group will raise money to help Oakwood homeowners Louis Cherry and Marsha Gordon with their legal bills, which Smart expects will run $20,000 to $30,000. The group will hold a fundraiser on April 13. READ MORE…

Read more here:


NCMH To Host Tour of the 1950 Rothstein House


mid-century house in Raleigh

Open to the public for the first time since 1981.


March 14, 2014 (Raleigh, NC) – On Saturday, April 5, from 9 a.m. to noon, the 1959 Philip Rothstein House in Raleigh, designed by celebrated architect Milton Small, Jr., will be open to public touring for the first time since 1981.

Hosted by North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH), the award-winning non-profit organization dedicated to archiving, preserving, and promotion Modernist residential design, this home tour will allow the public to experience one of Raleigh’s finest examples of a mid-century Modernist house, which is now for sale.

Philip Rothstein owned Southeastern Radio, so the house also exemplifies what was state-of-the-art technology in the 1960s. Designed by Small and Joseph Boaz and built by the locally accepted dean of Modernist construction, Frank Walser, the house is perfectly preserved and all fixtures are original.


The open kitchen in the Rothstein house.

The open kitchen in the Rothstein house.


Sited deep within the property on the crest of a hill at 912 Williamson Drive off St. Mary’s Street, the Philip Rothstein house won a design award from the North Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1962.  Its current owner, Marita Gilliam, purchased it in 1981. Gilliam and her husband added a porch in 2001 but, otherwise, maintained the original floor plan, materials, and fixtures.

 “Entering the Rothstein house is like taking a step back in time,” said NCMH founder and director George Smart. “You can clearly imagine what it was like to be in the house in the 1960s.”

 Timed admission tickets are $6.95 in advance for the general public. NCMH Mod Squad member tickets are $1 and are good anytime from 9-11:30 a.m.  Tickets will be $10 per person on the day of the tour if it hasn’t sold out.  Smart cautions NCMH tours sell out quickly. Proceeds benefit NCMH’s ongoing documentation, preservation, and promotion projects. To purchase advance tickets, go to

 For more information on NCMH, visit