Architectural Monographs: A Tasteful North Carolina Home

EWP Monograph NC Smallwood House

The houses of the wealthy aren’t always the pinnacle of class and taste – that was true in 1927, when this issue of the White Pine Monographs was written, and it’s still true today. Author Kenneth Clark notes that “the merchant prince of today parades his fortunes before the world, by building a palace” that is filled not with the things that make a home, but objects to show off. In contrast, the rich men of the American Colonial period “radiate the warmth of feeling that inspired their conception and bespeak in a quiet, dignified, yet powerful voice the qualities and characteristics which went into the making of the American Nation.”

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Offered up as a prime example is the Smallwood-Jones Residence of New Bern, North Carolina. Located in the eastern part of the state, this three-story brick home may not look like the mansion to modern eyes, but it was never meant to be ostentatious in the first place. A survivor of the most prosperous period in the early days of New Bern, the home features noteworthy carvings and other details created with extraordinary skill and craftsmanship.

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The names of the architect and builder have been lost to time, but this monograph celebrates their work, from the sense of scale to the interior molding. Of the details in the second floor drawing room, Clark writes “All is dovetailed and dowelled together in the manner of the ancient cabinetmaker who had the time and the inclination to do things right, once, and for all time.”

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Read more at the White Pine Monograph Library.

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