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Century Mark - Best Historical Renovation - Chapel Hill. NC

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Dec 1, 2012 10:50:00 AM

IT'S NOT OFTEN that a project like this comes along: a relatively sound, historic home that’s literally ready for renewal. But architect Sophie Piesse and this homeowner found just such a property.


ROOFING: Union Corrugating 5V metal roofing

STRUCTURE: Locally sourced lumber

SIDING: Nichiha cement board siding

INSULATION: 2" x 4" walls with Icynene insulation, Tyvek HomeWrap, EnGuard polyester insulation

AIR CONTROL: Lennox XP17, Lennox CBX32MV, ERV, MERV 16 filters, Fantec

WINDOWS: Jeld-Wen Siteline Series windows (clad, low-E 366), reused doors on site, Emtek hardware

HEATING: Avalon high-efficiency gas fireplaces, Rinnai on-demand water heating

APPLIANCES: Maytag range, Asko dishwasher, Samsung refrigerator

FAUCETS & FIXTURES: reused/salvaged materials, Hansgrohe, Moen

CABINETS & TOPS: Cabinets from reused materials from other projects, Richlite countertops, salvaged tiles and remnant granite

CLEAN FINISHES: Mythic paint, steel wool in vinegar for bath cabinets

LIGHTING: Minka Aire, Schoolhouse

The century-old house had been abandoned in mid-renovation, but not before much of the worst tear-out Actual Size Builderswork was complete. The owner purchased the home with no wiring, plumbing, insulation or drywall in place. Many of the structural amenities, flooring, stairs and windows were half-removed or in bad shape. Teaming up with builder Trip Renn of Actual Size Builders, she redesigned the home with LEED Silver certification as a goal. The extensive renovation included a heat-reflecting metal roof, 1” of Styrofoam over the entire exterior, with furring strips that allow airflow to circulate behind the new fiber cement siding. Along with air sealing that includes spray foam in all wall cavities, the house has a layer of a new insulation called EnGuard between floors. It’s made from recycled soda bottles. With WaterSense fixtures and a HERS score of 61, the upgraded home retains its classic beauty, while moving much closer to self-sustaining efficiency.

Tour It!

PROJECT: McCullough Residence
LOCATION: Chapel Hill, NC

ARCHITECT: Sophie Piesse, AIA

BUILDER: Actual Size Builders

PHOTOS: Sophie Piesse

  • Sophie Piesse House
  • Aluminum clad double-pane windows

    Although most of the shell of the home is original, the team replaced all exterior windows with aluminum-clad, low-E, double-pane units—primarily casements (with the appearance of double-hung units), because of their tighter seal and ability to capture natural ventilation.

  • Arts & Crafts-era look

    The homeowner searched architectural salvage and antique shops for key items to preserve the home’s Arts & Crafts-era look, including an old sink.

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