Mount Airy Restoration Foundation will be presenting the 31st edition of its Christmas Holiday House Tour on Saturday, Dec. 2, and Sunday, Dec. 3. Three of the 10 stops on the tour are profiled today. Two of those three represent innovative new uses for old commercial and industrial spaces built early in the last century, and the third was a home built later in that century, but is now being renovated for a new family to call home.
The Hall on Pine
Old is new again at 140 W. Pine St.
The origins of the building at 140 West Pine Street are something of a mystery, but the building is believed to have been built in the early 1900s. The original use of the building is also unknown, but its long and varied history includes being a post office location, a railway express station, a photographer’s studio, an office for a local accounting firm and an office for a pest control business. Its latest incarnation, for which it is now being renovated, is to be an event venue.
McTate Development purchased the Pine Street location and has been renovating and improving the building. The exterior of The Hall on Pine has already been painted in historic colors, improving the building’s appearance. The renovation is saving original materials as much as possible, and replacement materials will be as similar to originals as possible.
The interiors will retain most of the original flooring and tiles. During the renovations, a kitchen window that had been completely boarded up was uncovered and will be restored. There have been additional ‘finds and fixes’ throughout the renovation process, which will be more visible during the tour.
Tammy Denny, who will manage the Hall on Pine, has had input into the renovations. As an event venue, the Hall has a reception hall, a banquet hall and an office on the main floor. The building will be filled with vintage and period pieces.
For the Tour, The Hall will be decorated with live greenery, vintage décor items, and multiple Christmas trees. Throughout the Hall, there will be numerous tablescapes, each with its own theme and inspiration. Denny has a large and varied selection of décor and home furnishings and will use those in the event planning business.
238 Willow St. gets a new lease on life
What was formerly the offices for the Spencer’s manufacturing facility will soon be home to 17 families who will be moving into custom-designed condominiums. Local businessman Gene Rees purchased the former Spencer facility along Oak and Willow Streets intending to convert the buildings into residential living. This renovation will be similar to, though smaller than, the Renfro Lofts across the street, an earlier project completed by Rees.
The Spencer’s property is unique in that the complex was painted in the baby blue associated with the brand. The new condos are now painted in three shades of green, with new roof-lines, salvaged and replaced original windows, and new entry doors. A walkthrough of the property makes it evident that over the years, the building was added on to and grew organically — making the design of each condo individualized to take into account the original floor plans.
Tonda Phillips, local Allstate insurance agent, owns one of the condos and has agreed to open it up for the tour. Phillips loves living downtown and is looking forward to walking to local attractions, the museum, the Earle Theatre and the Whittling Wall.
Phillips also enjoys old buildings and the historical features of the Spencer’s properties. She had a lot of input into the design and layout of her condo and has decorated with a modern industrial feel. It’s industrial with the original exposed walls, floors and windows from the former mill. She’s added a modern twist with her choice of white interiors and use of sparkle in chandeliers, lighting and fixtures.
In talking about what she liked best about being on the Tour, Phillips said she loves Christmas in Mount Airy and enjoys the small town charm. As for being on the tour, Phillips says, “it is like hosting a Christmas party at your home where all your neighbors stop by.”
The best way to enter Phillips’ condo is to park in one of the town parking lots or along Willow or Oak Street, then walk to the Oak Street entrance, walking thru the black gate below Market Street, and continue walking through the courtyard, following the balloons to the large double French doors. There is no public parking within the courtyard during the tour. The Willow Street entrances will not be used for the tour this weekend.
Julie and Matthew Newton
340 Robin Road gets a new family and a renovation
The Mount Airy Restoration Foundation’s only fundraiser is the Annual Christmas Holiday House Tour, and all proceeds go to maintain the William Alfred Moore House. Julie and Matthew Newton are happy to open their home for this year’s Christmas Holiday House Tour because they dearly love the William Alfred Moore house.
Julie Newton is a Mount Airy native who works with Daymark Recovery Services in Mount Airy and Matthew Newton, a native of Hickory, works with Pinnacle Financial, formerly BNC Bank, High Point. The couple moved here from Raleigh in 2015 with their two daughters, Mattison and Jordan.
The Newton’s home was built in the early 1970s for Felix and Wilina McKinney who moved to Mount Airy in the late 1960s so that Felix McKinney could work for Quality Mills. At the time, Jack and Joyce Greenwood were their neighbors on Jackson Road. In 1969, Jack Greenwood designed the home at 340 Robin Road and Blue Ridge Enterprises built the home for the McKinneys.
Only two years later, Felix died, and Wilina McKinney and their two children continued to live in the home until 1973, when the family moved away from Mount Airy. At that time, Jack and Joyce Greenwood purchased the home, moved in and raised their family. When the Greenwoods decided to move to Winston-Salem in 2012, the Newtons purchased the home. The Newton’s are in the process of renovating the home, and details of the renovations can be discussed during the tour.
Julie Newton describes her choice of decorations as rustic farmhouse. She loves to decorate for Christmas, and that’s evident in the two large trees and numerous smaller decorated trees throughout the home. Wreaths hanging in the windows and bright red bows along the stairwell, all brighten the home. There are many family traditions for this family, but just being together is always the main thing.
Mount Airy Restoration Foundation’s 31st Christmas Holiday House Tour will be Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Dec. 3 from 1 to 5 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 and will be $20 on the days of the event. Advance tickets may be purchased at the Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, 200 N. Main St, Mount Airy, and at J’s Office Supply, 208 Moore Avenue, Mount Airy.
Tickets are good for both days. Present the ticket at each house. Tours are self-guided, and the homes may be seen in any order. Wear comfortable shoes, and not wearing high heels is appreciated.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.