111 Longview Lake Drive
Designed by August Lewis Polier AIA as his family’s home in 1954, 111 Longview Lake Drive is a shining example of mid-century architecture. The house resides on a three-quarter-acre site in Longview Gardens, an East Raleigh neighborhood developed on land from the original acreage of Longview, the nearby home of Clarence Hamilton Poe, editor of the Progressive Farmer. Longview Gardens was designed by Richmond landscape architect Charles Gillette, a student of the City Beautiful movement. His design for the neighborhood consisted of a pattern of curvilinear streets surrounding the New Bern parkway. The neighborhood is the largest mid-twentieth century subdivision in Raleigh and remains largely intact. Neighborhood landmarks include Wake Med, Enloe High School, Milner Memorial Presbyterian Church, the Longview Pool, the Raleigh Country Club, and the Capital Area Greenway. Longview Gardens was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in January 2011.
Polier’s design utilizes many of the same common sense sustainability strategies we use today in our work. The house is constructed of entirely local materials, with brick salvaged from the demolition of the original 1851 Dorothea Dix Hospital and cypress siding installed in a vertical board and batten format. The pitched roof spreads to a generous 2’-6” eave on all sides of the house, shielding the interior from heat in the summer and protecting the body of the house from damage. As a result, the wood siding has hardly been touched in nearly sixty years. On an east-facing slope, the house is long in the north-south direction, nestling into the land with as little detrimental effect to the slope as possible. The visitor enters the front of the house on the basement level – a solid base of the Dix brick – and ascends an open stair into the main living spaces on the floor above, these spilling out on grade to the elevated rear yard. The upper level of the house is distinguished as a taut wood box that rests atop the brick basement level. A generous porch reaches off the combined dining and living space to the south, beneath a large beech tree. Two fireplaces and a full complement of operable windows ensure thermal delight year-round. Other large trees crowd the house and provide a shaded canopy. One can’t help but notice the lineage of the design, coming almost directly from the playbook of perhaps the greatest North Carolina mid-century architect, Harwell Hamilton Harris. At just under 2,300 SF, the house is a portrait of generous efficiency.
Matt, Ashley, and their three kids Liam (7), Owen (5), and Sarah (4), utilize the open modern floor plan and surrounding forest of the house to the great extent possible. The daily cacophony of activity spills upstairs and down, inside and out, from the basement den and TV room, to the living room, with its fires, music, and games, to the screened porch for lunch, and out onto the patio for basketball, chalk drawing, and scavenger hunts in the woods and ravine beyond. Snakes, spiders, beetles, turtles, birds, an owl, a hawk, foxes, worms, frogs, toads, and flora of all varieties grace the woods, and the kids devour the detail of every discovery. While the house is still in nearly original condition, numerous additions have been made to the grounds – a fire pit, a basketball goal, a tree house with a swing and slide, a 80’ long zip line. It is hard to capture the pleasure of this place in words.
To learn more about Matt's house, contact him here.