ICAA-NC Events at Historic Rosedale Plantation

On March 25, 2017, the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art – North Carolina Chapter and Historic Rosedale Plantation hosted a historic building trades workshop followed by an evening dinner and presentation by Calder Loth at Historic Rosedale in Charlotte, NC.

Daytime sessions included classes and hands-on demonstrations of historic restoration work in plaster and brick masonry, demonstrations of historic blacksmithing, and tours of the home and gardens of Historic Rosedale.

That evening, Calder Loth presented “Rosedale: Built by the Books,” an enlightening exploration of the influence of classical architecture, the “language that has endured the ages,” on the design and decorative motifs at Rosedale.

Rosedale Plantation is one of the finest examples of Federal period architecture in North Carolina. Built in 1815 by Archibald Frew, the home became know as “Frew’s Folly” because he spared no expense in building the plantation that became a jewel of the Carolinas. Originally 918 acres, the plantation was reduced in size over the years to its current 8.5 acres. The home was owned and occupied by several generations of the Frew, Davidson, and Caldwell families until it was sold in 1986. A seven year $1 million restoration began through funding by a private foundation. Restoration and work on the property are continuing, but today it is possible for the public to have a glimpse into the timeless artistry of Rosedale Planation.
The morning session began with a hands-on demonstration of traditional plaster work. Patrick Webb, a heritage and ornamental plasterer, explains how jute is used as a reinforcement material for the plaster moulding he will craft.
The jute is stretched out and covered with liquid plaster of paris. The wooden object on the table is the running mold that contains a metal blade that will shape the plaster into the desired profile.
Continued applications of plaster of paris are applied and carved by the running mold.
The plaster sets up quickly once the dry powder is mixed with water
The final result is a time-honored plaster molding that is enduring and beautiful. One great advantage of plaster mouldings is that they do not experience shrink-swell due to humidity changes that can be detrimental to wood mouldings.
Patrick explains how plaster of paris is produced from calcium sulphate

The next topic, restoring brick masonry, was presented by Wayne Thompson. Wayne is a mason specializing in historic preservation and is based in Hillsborough, NC.
Wayne explains the importance of extending the cure time of lime putty by continually spraying with water. Lime putty properly applied will last for centuries and blends seamlessly with existing lime putty mortar. Lime putty is low in compressive strength, and because of that it is ideal for hand made brick.
Dabbing with the right kind of brush can impart a worn, centuries-old look.
After the plaster and masonry classes, concurrent sessions were held. Guided tours of the gardens were provided by Dr. Larry Mellichamp. Other sessions included tours of the home and the recently completed reproduction of the original blacksmith shop.

Guided tours of the home and gardens were provided by Historic Rosedale
John McPherson and Jason Blanchett forge a candle holder at the recently completed blacksmith shop, or “smithy”
Jason pulls a cord that cycles the bellows on an old fashioned air pump to induce a strong draft that intensifies the fire
Mr. McPherson enjoys telling stories about blacksmithing, the history of Rosedale and Charlotte as well.

Following the daytime classes and tours, approximately 40 guests convened for the dinner and presentation by Calder Loth. Mr. Loth is the Senior Architectural Historian of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. He serves on numerous boards and advisory committees for historic properties and organizations including Poplar Forest, Preservation Virginia, Stratford Hall, Gunston Hall, and the University of Virginia. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Virginia and classical architecture.

Several ICAA-NC board members gather for a photograph with Calder Loth at the evening event. From left to right: Don Duffy, Steven Whitlock, Calder Loth, James Collins, Ken Pursley, and Phil Goodwin. Photo courtesy of Richard Bartlett.

James Collins, President of the ICAA-NC Chapter, kicks off the evening event.
Guests enjoy Mr Loth’s lecture after cocktails and dinner.
Mr Loth explains the how architectural details dating back over 2000 years, including illustrations from Palladio’s Treatise: The Four Books on Architecture, Gibbs’ Book of Architecture, and architectural handbooks by Owen Biddle and William Paine inspired many of the architectural features at Rosedale.

Special thanks to many individuals who made these instructive and enjoyable events possible: the  Staff of Historic Rosedale, the board and members of the NC Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, and its sponsors.

Old Salem and MESDA Coach Tour

April 28 @ 9:00 am5:00 pm

Continuing our tradition of special tours to special places – we are planning a fascinating tour to explore Winston-Salem’s Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) and Old Salem on Friday, April 28th.

Our tour itinerary includes coach transport from Blandwood Mansion departing at 9:00 am, a guided tour of the MESDA collection with a special focus on Guilford County artifacts, lunch, a tour of the new Furr Gallery, a tour of the newly restored 1802 Vierling House, and a wine and cheese reception in the private 1787/1970 Bagge House overlooking Salem Square! These are two important buildings in Old Salem that will provide fresh insights on history and architecture.

Ticket costs include all fees, tips, and charges.

The Details

Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Departure: The Blandwood Avenue Parking Lot

Departure Address: 311 Blandwood Avenue, Downtown

Tickets $125 per person

Contact Preservation Greensboro by email or by phone 336-272-5003 for reservations.


Historic Rosedale’s architectural features, inside and out, all have stories to tell. Calder Loth will explore and illustrate why Rosedale looks the way that it does.  The role of published illustrations in early pattern or carpenter guide books in shaping Rosedale’s form and details will be emphasized, as well as the ancient sources for many of Rosedale’s decorative motifs.

Historic Rosedale Plantation
3427 North Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28306
March 25, 2017
6:00 pm Cocktails
7:00 – 8:30 pm Dinner & Lecture
Members – $75.00
Non-Members – $85.00

6207 Robinson Church Road, Charlotte, NC 28215
704-602-4894 | classicist-nc.org

To register click here: http://classicist-nc.org/events/?action=evregister&event_id=3

They Do Make Them Like They Used To


Skilled artisans reveal trade secrets and current methods with hands-on demonstrations of historic plastering, masonry, restoration, forged metal arts and guided tours of Rosedale House and Gardens.

At the end of the course participants will be able to:

  1. Learn the importance of the maintenance & sustainability of historic brick masonry.
  2. Learn the properties of mortars that are typically appropriate for historic repairs.
  3. Learn the properties of the correct mortar to work with masonry maintenance and repairs.
  4. Learn correct methods of finishing joint work details with various pointing tools.
  5. Learn about historic and contemporary plastering materials and tools.
  6. Learn the methods and steps of plaster repairs within OHSA requirements.
  7. Learn installation methods & safety requirements for flat walls & ornamental plastering.
  8. Learn about path materials required for the Americans with Disabilities Act in gardens.
  9. Learn about grading requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act in gardens.
  10. Learn about pervious and impervious paving materials in historic gardens.
  11. Learn the challenges of balancing historic preservation with technology & security.
  12. Learn the lessons of programming for safety in an historic building.
  13. Learn the lessons of maintaining existing building materials in an historic building.
  14. Learn about historic metal forging materials, tools and modern safety requirements.
  15. Learn correct methods of forging metal work executed with proper tools and techniques.
  16. Learn the environmental benefits of repairing and maintaining existing metal hardware.

To register, click here: http://classicist-nc.org/events/?action=evregister&event_id=2

Americans in Paris: Foundations of America’s Architectural Gilded Age, A Book Signing and Presentation by Margot Ellis

Ecole Tap.

Date: Thu, March 02, 2017
Time: 5:30pm
Location: Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem, NC
Cost: members/students $10, non-members $15


Please join us for a evening presentation by Margot Ellis, co-author of Americans in Paris, which tells the story of an influential group of American architecture students who attended the École des Beaux-Arts and went on to design and build many of our nation’s most recognized buildings and monuments. American alumni of the world-renowned school, famous for being the greatest art and architecture school in the world at the time, include Richard Morris Hunt, Guy Lowell, John Russell Pope, Julia Morgan, Jacques Benois Benedict, and many others.


Co-authored by a French graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts, the late Boston architect Jean Paul Carlhian, this exhaustively researched and lavishly produced book is the first English language account of the architectural program at the school. It contains exclusive details about the design and construction of Pennsylvania Station (1904-1910), Boston Public Library (1888-1895), Biltmore Estate (1895), New York Public Library (1897-1911), Kykuit (1914), and many more structures built during the height of America’s Gilded Age.


Margot M. Ellis was educated at Manhattanville College and Harvard University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in French Studies and a master’s degree in Anthropology, respectively. Hired as a research assistant by the late Jean Paul Carlhian, Miss Ellis spent 15 years completing the manuscript and brought it to publication after the death of Mr. Carlhian in 2012.  She is an author and editor based in Tucson, Arizona.
Ecole Cover

For more information, and to register for this event, please visit http://www.reynoldahouse.org/calendar/event/americans-in-paris-foundations-of-americas-architectural-gilded-age-with-author


Among the ICAA’s most impactful and enduring education models is its Intensive Program in Classical Architecture – a seven to ten day course of study that introduces participants to the ICAA’s core curriculum through coursework in the classical orders, composition, proportion, drafting, observational drawing, and the literature of classical architecture.

Participants learn how to draw, render, and compose with the classical language to form an understanding of the basic theoretical tenets on which the classical tradition is founded. Instruction is provided by professionals and educators active in the field of classical design. Classroom hours are balanced between studio work, lectures, and guided tours and visits. The Intensive program also satisfies the core course requirements for the ICAA’s Certificate in Classical Architecture.

For more information, visit http://www.classicist.org/programs/intensives/

ICAA-NC Historic Building Trades Workshop

Contributed by Philip Goodwin. All images by Philip Goodwin unless attributed otherwise.

On April 9, 2016, the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art – North Carolina and the Salem College Historic Preservation Program sponsored a Historic Building Trades Workshop at Salem College in Winston Salem, NC. Three master professionals in plaster work, woodworking, and brick masonry addressed historic restoration work through demonstrations and hands-on learning opportunities. Attendance expectations were exceeded with 43 students, teachers, building professionals, and homeowners interested in historic preservation attending the event.


Originally founded as Salem College and Academy for women in 1772, the college is ranked as the oldest women’s college in the nation. The lovely campus near downtown Winston-Salem is a treasure of meticulously-maintained  historic buildings and structures.


Heather Fearnbach, Coordinator of the Historic Preservation Program at Salem College, kicked off the event. The program offers a Historic Preservation Certificate to students interested in the stewardship of historic structures. Numerous students working on their Certificates attended the event.