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Four over One News – some good, some bad

4/1 Design has some good news and some bad news. As it’s always best to lead with the bad news, here it is:

As you may already know, the State Tax Credit Program is sunsetting (read: ending) at the end of this year. We have meet with the folks at the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and, while nothing is in writing yet, we want to pass on what we’ve learned.

  1. For those of you who are already receiving tax credits, this will not change anything for you – you’re grandfathered in.
  2. For those of you with open applications: you may complete your project after the end of the year, but only those expenses paid before Jan. 1, 2015 are eligible. You must still follow the standard for work done after the new year for your whole project to be eligible.
  3. Any materials purchased before the end of the year are eligible, even if they’re installed after the the new year.
  4. Part B paperwork does not need to be submitted by the end of the year – it can be submitted whenever the work is complete, or when you chose to close the tax credit application (eg. anytime after the new year that all the purchased materials are installed and pre-paid work have been completed). That said, if you would like to receive your Part B acceptance before tax day in April, we would like to send them to the SHPO by February 15, 2015.
  5. The tax credit program is over as of Jan. 1, 2015. No ifs, ands, or buts. We are hopeful that a similar historic preservation incentive will be introduced into the legislature, but we have no guarantees.  If you would like to stay informed about potential new incentives, I highly recommend you become a member of Preservation North Carolina, who is leading the charge.
  6. If you or a neighbor has done a lot of work recently to a house in the historic district, there is still time to put in a new application. But make sure to get in touch soon, as time is fleeting!

Here’s the SHPO’s notice about the sunset, so you can hear it from the horse’s mouth.

Now for the good news—the 4/1 Design team has doubled! Allow me to introduce you to Emily Wallrath Schmidt, who joined 4/1 this summer as a preservation specialist and all-around girl friday.  She is focusing mostly on tax credit applications and Certificates of Appropriateness for the moment, but also does House Histories and Historic Plaque Marker applications.  Emily has been in the area since last winter, doing a lot of volunteer work with Preservation Durham, and previously spent time with the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association, the Central Park Conservancy in NYC, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology in Philadelphia. She also claims some knowledge of Turkish, if any of you would like to test her on that and report back? Her email address is simply, and I know you will like her as much as I do.

Emily and Sara at North Carolina Modernist Houses’ Mod Party in October 2014. I may have styled my hair in a beehive for the occasion.

Emily and Sara at North Carolina Modernist Houses’ Mod Party in October 2014. I may have styled my hair in a beehive for the occasion.

Adventures in Preservation

It has been really far too long since I’ve posted, which I blame on being wonderously busy.  4/1 has projects wrapped up and awaiting a photo shoot, ones in the final throes of punch list, a few in construction right this instant, and a long list of those in design.  With all the design work, most of the preservation tax credit work has been residential as well, but every so often a commercial, income-producing tax application pops up too.  And it’s then I get to go into spaces like this – so lovely and decrepit, I just had to share.


(I must admit, half the reason I got into this line of work was my fascination with these crumbling spaces.  It’s going to be amazing once it’s redone, of course, and is just dripping with potential – but all of this is gorgeous too.)

Enjoy springtime – and all the possibilities!

Why 4/1?

What does 4/1 mean?

The shorthand way to describe a double-hung window is by the number of lights in each sash, either spelled out: four-over-one, or written simply with numbers: 4/1.  From the common one-over-one to a Colonial’s six-over-six, from an Italianate’s two-over-two to a Bungalow’s three-over-one, each form is tied to an era or style of house and helps an architectural historian identify when a structure was built.

Trinity Design/Build - by permission

I’ve always been partial to windows in general – original windows on an old house are crucial to the character of the building.  I often speak about the importance, value, and durability of old windows and why they should never be replaced, so it seemed natural to honor them in my company name.  4/1 windows particularly, with four vertical lights on the top sash, are distinctive to bungalows around Durham, NC.  They have a lovely proportion and balance with the thin panes above the single wide one below.

Any time you want me to pull out my old window soapbox, just say the word.  I’ve got a great vantage point from up there, and am always happy to lecture.