Baldwin Hardware Names Christine G.H. Franck “Show Us Your Baldwin” Design Competition Winner for Chadsworth Cottage

LAKE FOREST, CALIF.—March 3, 2014Baldwin Hardware, a leading brand of the Hardware & Home Improvement (HHI) division of Spectrum Brands Holdings (NYSE:SPB), today announced Christine G.H. Franck has won the “Show Us Your Baldwin” design competition for her design of Chadsworth Columns founder Jeffrey L. Davis’ house: Chadsworth Cottage on Figure Eight Island, N.C. Franck’s winning project will be featured in a national Baldwin advertising campaign, and she was awarded a trip for two to Southern California and $10,000 of Baldwin hardware.







“Christine’s work on the Chadsworth Cottage incorporates Baldwin’s bold ideals and classic beauty; it exemplifies the core tenets for which Baldwin is known—quality, design and effortless style,” said PJ Rosch, brand manager of Baldwin Hardware. “We are thrilled with the response and look forward to recognizing more architects and designers through bold campaigns in the future.”

In addition to award-winning residential design and decorative projects, Franck teaches, lectures and writes on the topics of design and architecture, and serves as the first Director of the Center for Advanced Research in Traditional Architecture at the University of Colorado Denver College of Architecture and Planning. She earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Virginia and her master’s degree in architecture from the University of Notre Dame.

The “Show Us Your Baldwin” competition invited architects and designers to submit projects that incorporated Baldwin Hardware. Ten semi-finalists were chosen and also received custom photo shoots of their projects. All 10 projects will be featured on the Baldwin Hardware website, as well as in other marketing initiatives. Semi-finalists included:

  • Patrick Ahearn of Patrick Ahearn Architecture
  • Shelby Fautt of Fautt Homes
  • Christine G.H. Franck, Christine G.H. Franck, Inc.
  • Stefan Hurray of ArchitectDesign
  • Amy Janof of Janof Architecture
  • Cassandra Olson of Beam and Board
  • Joyce Silverman of Joyce Silverman Interiors
  • Joe Thourot of Duket Architects
  • Diana Walker of Diana S. Walker Interior Design
  • Courtney Ziething of CC & Company Designs


Baldwin is part of Hardware and Home Improvement (HHI), a major manufacturer and supplier of residential locksets, residential builders’ hardware and faucets with a portfolio of renowned brands, including Kwikset®, Weiser®, Baldwin®, National Hardware®, Stanley®, FANAL®, Pfister™ and EZSET®. Headquartered in Orange County, California, HHI has a global sales force and operates manufacturing and distribution facilities in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Asia.

Baldwin Hardware Website

HHI is a division of Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPB).

MEDIA CONTACT: Sabrina Suarez, 714-573-0899 x. 227                                                            


Home of Distinction: Romancing the Cottage


by Marimar McNaughton

The earth is round, but the world is full of seductive edges and remote corners where man wrestles the odds of nature to carve a niche for himself, on distant seaside islands steeped in privacy, where his true visionary genius may come to repose.

Chadsworth, a cottage on the extreme north end of Figure Eight Island, on a site, which the owner says, was at one time heavily treed with live oaks ravaged by hurricanes, is one of those rare private villas where a world traveler retreats behind the façade of an Anglicized Palladian mansion embedded into the fragile barrier island landscape.  The landmark dwelling is at once a prominent navigational aid for mariners traveling the Atlantic and a soft landing for homeowner Jeffrey Davis.

Chiseled from classic architectural styles passed down through the ages, Chadsworth’s exterior represents Davis’ lifelong fascination with Greek and Roman forms, from which he has fashioned a thriving enterprise as a designer and manufacturer of classic columns – a profession and a passion that sends him around the world.

He returns to eastern North Carolina, where he has longstanding family ties and fond memories, to unpack his bags in a home framed by formal highbrow lines, charmed by vernacular coastal Carolina traditions.

“It’s comfortable, it’s traditional, it fits my personality,” Davis says.

The centerpiece of his home is a collection of antiques handpicked during continental and global forages.

“The furniture that I’ve been collecting for over 20 years is all from the early 1800s, whether it be Biedermeier, or First Empire, New York or Regency . . . I collect these things,” Davis says.  “I wanted that period and that type of furniture, and I think that was a starting point.”

The challenge was how to create a context for the furniture in a beach cottage setting.

“I like to live with my antiques.  There’s nothing in here that you can’t sit on, you can’t touch, you can’t do something with.  My dogs jump on every single thing in the house, kids do too,” Davis says.

When it was time to design his permanent home, Davis recruited a trusted colleague, Christine G.H. Franck, who, like Davis himself, sits on the board of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America.  With a combined 25 years of tenure, the pair teams up with other design professionals, working tirelessly, teaching and traveling, to spread the mission of the institute, which is dedicated to advancing the practice and appreciation of the classical tradition in architecture and allied arts.  Franck, for her design work on Chadsworth Cottage, also received a coveted 2007 Palladio Award, named in honor of Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladio, for her outstanding work in traditional design.

“One of the things that we were faced with early on was the parameters of building here,” says Franck.  “The fact that we had to elevate the first floor as high as we did to 13.5 feet finish flood elevation . . .given that, we then looked at all the different options.”

Those options were Palladian villas, English villas and American Federal houses that Franck says are based on Roman precedents, elevated on a high base.

“We made that decision fairly early on, so that the overall design direction for the house was going to be in this Anglo-Palladian tradition,” Franck says.

“Jeff was also very clear about wanting the house to have a sense of character and place to eastern North Carolina.  He didn’t want it to look like it should be anywhere other than her,” she adds.

The bows to eastern North Carolina can be found in the details, like distinctive black shutters and window sashes derived from tar-based glazing compounds used in coastal settings to prevent rot.  Corner pilasters, vented soffits, blue porch ceilings, figurative “bundled wheat” balcony spindles and the interior stair hall were borrowed from historic sites in nearby New Bern.

Franck’s brilliant design blends formal and informal interiors that reiterate Davis’ love of symmetry and balances his gregarious lifestyle with a need for solitude – entertaining as many as 300 guests on the lawn, hosting intimate family gathering at holiday time or private dinner parties in the grand hall and the dining room, or retreating to his singularly quiet balcony, where he looks over the Rich’s Inlet sand spit, and idyllic windswept vista – savannah, white sand and feisty surf.

Very public spaces, like outdoor showers, and very private places are stacked within the footprint of the three-story, three-bedroom, three-bath home from the ground level to the attic dormer windows that crown the hipped roof.

Supported by load-bearing columns, representing the lowest to the highest orders of classical architecture, incorporated into the fabric of the house, both the interior and exterior column forms rise with each successive function.

“The classical orders have a hierarchy to them,” Franck explains.

“The Tuscan order on the porch columns is a strong order, and it gives this house the sense that it’s projecting strength out over the water.  The (interior) Ionic capitals downstairs are from the Erechtheum, which is a small building on the Acropolis.  The Corinthian order is the highest of the orders, if you will,” she says, admitting that there are at least three schools of thought that define classic columns and their origins, spurring much debate historically.  Undisputedly, the Corinthian columns in Davis’ master suite were inspired by the Tower of the Winds from Athens, Greece.

“The Tower of the Winds capital and the Tower of the Winds border that you see in here is what started my company,” Davis says.  “It’s the first column that I actually built . . . and it’s the column that built this house, literally.”

“Sometimes I think it’s important to create a fiction, if you will, for a house,” Franck says.  The fictionalized story she weaves of someone who lived along the Carolina coast, who might have been involved in the trade industry, who brought back some tiles from Holland, picked up a cane chaise in India, a First Empire day bed from one of Napoleon’s castles, an 1832 Biedermeier dining table from Austria and a writing desk from Germany, and brought them home to his island retreat, is not far-flung from the truth.

To lighten the intensity of the antiquities and the treasures, Davis and Franck collaborated on a window treatment used throughout the house, combining wooden plantation blinds with sheer, diaphanous drapes.

“Part of what we were going for,” Franck says, “was this kind of Caribbean . . . almost trade-oriented house . . . where you get the blinds, you get the breeze coming through the windows, you get the slats of light . . . a lot of this is to downplay the formality of the furniture and to make it a comfortable light, air-flowing house and place to be in.”

Embellishing that fiction is the Chadsworth name.  Davis says, “I wanted a name that sounded old, as if we’d been in business for hundreds of years.”

From the north end of Figure Eight Island, the visionary genius gazes out to sea.

“I love this porch out here.  The columns, and the view, it’s absolutely gorgeous,” he says.  Chadsworth, his cottage, appears as if it had always been there, his homeplace for hundreds of years.


New Old House Magazine | Chadsworth Cottage


Classical elements create the perfect new old house in Wilmington, North Carolina.

By J. Robert Ostergaard  |  Photos by Erik Johnson

The 20-foot columns and classical façade of Chadsworth Cottage make it a Figure Eight Island landmark. Designer Christine G. H. Franck combined Greek Revival, Federal, and Palladian elements to create this waterfront villa for client Jeffrey L. Davis.

The 20-foot columns and classical façade of Chadsworth Cottage make it a Figure Eight Island landmark. Designer Christine G. H. Franck combined Greek Revival, Federal, and Palladian elements to create this waterfront villa for client Jeffrey L. Davis.

Some houses speak to us. Their voices are honest, eloquent, and deeply resonant. They communicate in a language that is grounded in our architectural history and an authentic local dialect.

Approaching Figure Eight Island, off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina, is such a house: Chadsworth Cottage. It’s the waterfront home of Jeffrey L. Davis, the founder of Chadsworth’s 1.800.Columns. Its designer, Christine G.H. Franck, is fluent in the classical language that informed its creation. “My primary goal with anything I design is to ensure that it just feels right,” says Franck (a frequent contributor to New Old House). “The language that you use to express the design ideas is an important part of what makes a building feel right, as if it’s supposed to be there.”

Looking at the completed house—and how right it feels—it’s hard to believe that Davis initially considered building a poured-concrete structure, thinking it more likely to survive a hurricane. But because Davis is also a board member of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America, it’s not surprising that he chose a classical model for his new house instead. With the help of a local engineer, he drew up a rough design of a 40′-by-40′ cubic house with four columns on the waterside and a big double-story portico. “When deciding what side of the house to put emphasis on, I chose the waterside; I could envision boats coming down the Intracoastal and seeing this villa rising from the sand,” Davis says. “I also knew this house was going to be all about the details. So very early on I realized I was going to need Christine.”

As one ascends the 10'-wide, three-story staircase from the entry below, the view through the central corridor leads the eye out to the water and the broad horizon. The transverse arch has a historic precedent in this region of North Carolina.

As one ascends the 10′-wide, three-story staircase from the entry below, the view through the central corridor leads the eye out to the water and the broad horizon. The transverse arch has a historic precedent in this region of North Carolina.

For inspiration, Davis began sharing photos of favorite Federal and Greek Revival houses with Franck. But because building codes specify that waterfront homes have an elevated first floor and breakaway construction on the lowest level, a Greek Revival, which sits on a low base, would not be possible. “Jeff was also pulling photos of Palladian villas,” Franck says. “In the end, the direction that made sense was a Palladian villa, with its elevated high base and Roman temple front. We weren’t interested in the house being a strict interpretation of a particular period. We were more interested in letting the classical language and the traditions of the place inform the design project.”

As one ascends the 10′-wide, three-story staircase from the entry below, the view through the central corridor leads the eye out to the water and the broad horizon. The transverse arch has a historic precedent in this region of North Carolina.

Because Davis wanted Chadsworth to look like a surviving remnant of the island’s past, Franck tied the house closely to local tradition, looking specifically to houses in nearby towns like New Bern, North Carolina. “There was not any attempt to be wholly evocative of any time or place in North Carolina,” she says, “but there are specific quotations in the house.” For example, the railing around the southern balcony is based on a bundled wheat design from the historic John Wright Stanly House in New Bern. Full pilasters at the corners were used rather than thin corner boards as “a nod to the late Federal/early Greek Revival tradition in New Bern,” Franck says. “Because much of the Federal-style architecture in New Bern was built rather late, elements of Greek Revival began to sneak in.”

Franck created a tranquil master bedroom with views of the water and a classically styled fireplace. She reupholstered Davis's Biedermeyer sofa in a durable Schumacher fabric as a counterbalance to its formality.

Franck created a tranquil master bedroom with views of the water and a classically styled fireplace. She reupholstered Davis’s Biedermeyer sofa in a durable Schumacher fabric as a counterbalance to its formality.

Inside, the staircase details were inspired by another historic New Bern house, and the elliptical transverse archway on the first floor has a local precedent. “That’s part of the poetry,” Franck says. “Connecting with the place and connecting with a time, so 100 years from now, someone might recognize that some elements came from somewhere else, just as someone would notice today when looking at an old home.”

Of course, the very forces that would make it unlikely an old home might have endured on Figure Eight Island through the ages—hurricanes, high winds, and flooding—were the very forces Franck’s design would have to address if Chadsworth Cottage is to survive into the future. The house is grounded to the site using an interlocking grid of wood pilings that were driven 16′ into the sandy soil and nearly 50 concrete grade beams.

“The engineering is a marvel in itself,” Davis says. “I rode out Hurricane Ophelia in this house for 16 hours, and it was solid.” As protection against both hurricane-force winds and everyday sun, Franck specified Bermuda shutters for the southern windows and found a company that produced PVC shutters that looked as good as traditional wooden shutters but would be more durable in this harsh environment. Franck also turned in part to local builder Jim Murray of Murray Construction for guidance. “All they do is build along the coast, so they have a tremendous body of knowledge,” she says. “When I insisted on wood windows, for example, they explained that during a hurricane, the blowing sand literally sandblasts off the paint, so based on their experience a clad window was best.”

Franck allotted the space at the front of the house for service elements, such as the kitchen and laundry room.

Franck allotted the space at the front of the house for service elements, such as the kitchen and laundry room.

Creating the open floor plan that Davis envisioned posed additional challenges. Considering the dimensions of the house, Franck knew that a truly open floor plan would make it appear that the interior ceilings were lower than they are. Her solution was to run three rooms across the waterfront side of the house—a dining room, a large hall, and a living room—painted in the same color and separated only by column screens. “So you have a living room and dining room in the traditional sense, but they are open to each other and you really occupy those three rooms as one room,” she says. “This way it feels vast because the proportions are better and it picks up on the horizon line outside.”
Another of Davis’s expectations was that the house be built economically using—as much as possible—stock materials. He wanted to demonstrate that building a classical home needn’t break the bank, that it was something anyone can not only aspire to but also achieve. The exterior columns—from Chadsworth’s 1.800.Columns, of course—are in the colossal Tuscan order and made of fiberglass. “It’s a great material to use,” Franck says, “especially when you are talking about 20′-high columns and a beachfront environment. And the Tuscan exterior says ‘This isn’t going anywhere.’”

The living room's club chairs and caned chaise are new pieces chosen for their beauty as well as their durability.

The living room’s club chairs and caned chaise are new pieces chosen for their beauty as well as their durability.

Franck then designated a hierarchy with regard to the orders of columns: Tuscan for the exterior, Ionic for the column screens on the first floor, and Corinthian in the private quarters upstairs. “These are based on specific Grecian models, and the entablatures are a rendition of those Grecian entablatures, but it’s not a temple on the Acropolis. It’s a house, so the details are scaled down appropriately.”

Matters of scale became a primary concern when it came to the interior millwork. “Stock millwork profiles don’t give you the projection or depth that you would like to have in a room that has 10′ ceilings and 8′ doors. You really want something heavier and beefier,” Franck explains. She employed a variety of innovative solutions, including using millwork upside down and combining stock pieces. In the end, the millwork was a combination of half stock and half custom milled. “The primary generator of the house is just simply the classical language working through specific problems that need to be addressed,” she says.

Franck’s confidence in the power of the classical language was put to the test when a question arose regarding the siting of the septic system. Because of the lot’s small size and proximity to water, there was no room for a traditional leach field, so Chadsworth Cottage required an aboveground biofiltration system installed directly in front of the house. Franck was undeterred. “The interesting thing about these sorts of problems,” she says, “is that they are opportunities for design solutions.”

The outdoor shower is a must-have in this beach environment.

The outdoor shower is a must-have in this beach environment.

Her remedy was to construct a pergola covered in wisteria and jasmine that both disguises the septic system and enhances the classical aesthetic. Moreover, the pergola enriches the way in which visitors first encounter the house. “What it does from a design standpoint,” Franck explains, “is that when you arrive from the land side of the house, you have a very constricted approach that heightens the excitement as you pass through the lower entry, rise through the stair hall to the first floor, and turn to see the whole view open up to the landscape and the ocean.”

In the end, Chadsworth Cottage is a model of how a talented designer uses the classical language to solve site-specific problems, accomplish her client’s desires, and remain true to a sense of place and a sense of history, with the result of a new house that faithfully embodies a traditional style. “Moreover,” Franck says “Chadsworth Cottage is a testament to the power of Davis’s vision of a house with that ineffable Southern quality of comfort, good taste, and most importantly, hospitality.”


J. Robert Ostergaard is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, New York.

Published in: New Old House


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Chadsworth Cottage Featured in Period Homes

Presented by Period Homes  Magazine


Chadsworth Cottage, a classical Southern home, will be built on Historic Figure Eight Island, near Wilmington, NC.

The Period Homes Show House, Chadsworth Cottage, was devised to demonstrate that it is possible to build a traditional home, staying true to classical architecture, using readily available products.

The original concept in building the house is to show the readers of Period Homes and Traditional Building Magazine that it is possible to build a home with products purchased through the magazine and their web sites. Most of the items used in building the house are ‘stock’ items.

New York designer Christine G.H. Franck was selected to design the house. Simple elegance describes Chadsworth Cottage.  The design has been kept simple and straightforward; the goal of simplicity reflects the desired economy as well as the character of North Carolinian architecture.

Because the Cottage will be built on the ocean, special measures must be taken. The Cottage will be built on timber pilings and different methods for building will be required.  Materials that will standup to the elements must be selected. The landscaping and plant materials chosen must be able to withstand the salt, wind, and intense sun.  These are just a few of the problems that need to be solved prior to starting the project.

Our plan is to take you with us on this journey, from start to finish.  You will be able to contact us at our website with questions and comments.  We think that this is going to be a very interesting project, one where we will learn together, and have fun in the process.

The Period Homes Show House will be open to the public to benefit the St. John’s Museum and other local charities.



By Christine Franck, August 30, 2001

The Program

When a client says that he wants a house that looks “like it’s always been there,” and he wants a beach house for generous living and entertaining with all of the modern conveniences, with a portico of two-story columns, and he wants it all built for a relatively small budget, the challenges to the designer are many.  This is exactly what Mr. Jeff Davis, the owner and founder of Chadsworth Columns, said to me when we began designing Chadsworth Cottage.  I was asked to design a house that would demonstrate that a house could be well-designed and well-built without breaking the bank or being overly extravagant.  This sort of restraint could be said to be a characteristic found in the best of architectural traditions in North Carolina.  So I set out to answer the question of what this house would look like if it had always been there, or had at least been there long enough to have weathered a few hurricanes and a few generations.


In an environment that is as beautiful but as harsh as the Carolina Coast, decisions about a house’s design must be informed from the very beginning by environmental considerations.  Figure Eight Island is a vulnerable sandy barrier island off of the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina.  Typical of many private coastal resort communities, Figure Eight is populated by large vacation homes.  Chadsworth Cottage will be located on the northernmost tip of this island and will be built on a buildable area of approximately 50′ x 50′.  The site looks out to spectacular open views of the ocean and dunes to the east and a wide inlet to the north and west.

While the location of the Cottage at the tip of Figure Eight affords beautiful views, its location also exposes it directly to nor’easters and hurricanes.  In an environment such as this coastal environment wind, water, sun, humidity and salt all conspire to shorten the life of a building and thus must become generative forces for the design.  This means that the selection of building mass, siding, windows, shutters, doors, exterior finish materials, roofing materials, paints and opening details are of critical importance to the longevity, durability and character of the house.  Often the best source of solutions to problems such as these can often be found locally, in both historic traditions and contemporary building experience.  Thus, in addition to exhaustive historical, code and materials research, one of my first moves was to meet with the local builder, Jim Murray, whom my client had already selected to build the house.  We toured several houses that he has under construction.  This early teamwork has introduced me to numerous local details and locality-specific material selection issues that have informed the early aspects of the house’s design and no doubt will inform later detailing.

Some of these issues that have affected the schematic design and initial material selection of the house are environmental and others are related to the local building codes, but they have all affected the design of the house.  Perhaps the most dramatic impact that the flood and storm surge-prone environment has had on the house’s design is the code-required raising of the main level of the house above the base flood elevation so that the ground level of the house is left essentially open.  This allows rising water and waves to circulate freely around the wood pilings that support the house with minimum hydro-static pressure.

This required raising of the house on a high base immediately affected the precedents that I looked to in designing the house.  For example Mr. Davis had shown me examples of Greek Revival houses, earlier colonial houses, and Palladian designs.  As the house must be raised on a significant base of a full story, I felt that a strict Greek model, which would be best located on a low base, was not the best model for this house.  However, looking to Palladian models I was able to meet both the clients interest in classical architecture and the need for a raised main level that would locate the service aspects of the house, such as the garages, on the lower level.  Local traditions also proved to be useful for examples of houses raised on piers to protect the houses from water or rot.

The initial selection of quality wood siding and a metal roof were affected by a desire to select materials that would be both durable and typical for local architectural traditions.  Likewise, the inclusion of operable hurricane shutters that can close to protect windows and doors in the event of a hurricane is found both in local building traditions and is also supported by the newest innovations. It is this combining of modern knowledge of building in a harsh coastal environment with historical building traditions and references that will best ground this house to make it look “like it’s always been there,” while ensuring that it will actually be there for a very long time.

The views from the site itself with views of dunes, ocean and inlet informed the location of the principal rooms across the back of the house with more public rooms located on the first floor and the owners suite located on the more private second floor.  The front of the house is reserved at the first floor for service oriented areas such as the kitchen, laundry and utility rooms and on the second floor is used for the less frequently occupied guest suites.



Basic environmental and code issues have affected many of the initial design decisions, but the more developed character of the house and connecting it to Carolinian traditions will come from careful study of historical precedents.  The lessons learned from that study, must be adapted to the client’s preferences and desires while at the same time balancing the cost of the project with the quality of the design by relying on stock and modestly priced items as much as possible.  Fortunately, Period Home Magazine offers access to a wealth of stock and custom manufacturers of traditional building products that can easily be used to create a beautiful and well-crafted home on a budget that is reasonable rather than extravagant.

In resolving the character of the house to match the client’s various ideas about the house, one of my first steps was to best understand his vision for this house.  From the outset, the two elements that the client was clear about wanting was a feeling of openness between the principal rooms and a waterfront portico with full height columns.  He also gave me numerous images of room interiors and residential exteriors.  The exterior images were characterized by columned porches made of two-story high columns more typical of a house from the Greek Revival period, while the interior images that he preferred were often more colonial or Georgian in character.  In short, there were from the start several different images that the client seemed to have in mind for this house.  In trying to reconcile his various design preferences, the environmental constraints and the charge to create a new house that would feel old, I looked most carefully at late-Federal period residential buildings of North Carolina towns such as New Bern, Edenton, Bath and of course, Wilmington.  The buildings of this period seem to come closest to Mr. Davis’ image of Chadsworth Cottage – elegant, simple, beautiful, and classically inspired.

By looking to both specific local precedent, such as the Dixon-Stevenson House and the Hollister House in New Bern, and historical Palladian models made known to early local builders in various builder’s assistant books and combining those with my own knowledge of classical design principles, the house has the best chance of feeling “like it’s always been there.”


The History of Figure Eight Island

The first recorded owner of Figure Eight Island was James Moore, who received the title in a royal land grant in 1762.  Moore was a brother of Roger Moore, the first owner of Orton Plantation in Brunswick County.  In 1775 the land passed to Cornelius Harnett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  The island subsequently became part of the Foy Plantation at Scott’s Hill when James Foy bought the property at auction in 1795 following the death of the executor of Harnett’s estate.

A commercial seaport operated at Rich Inlet in the early 1800’s.  Three and four-masted Schooners sailed from England to pick up peanuts, sweet potatoes, peas and soy beans.

The waters around the island were plentiful with oysters, clams, crabs, and fish.  Barrier islands along the coast had marsh ponies, deer, waterfowl, wild pigs and even cattle (a possible remainder of troops from the Confederate Army).  Wild ponies galloped over the dunes before the turn of the century, and pirates were said to have anchored off the coast.  Locals crossed Mason Inlet from Wrightsville Beach to beach comb on Figure Eight for many years.

In 1954, after devastation from Hurricane Hazel oceanfront property was considered to be of little value; and the Cameron brothers, prominent Wilmington businessmen bought the island for $100,000.  Nearly 45 years later, the property on the island has a market value in the millions.

Less than 35 years after a bridge made the island accessible, there are almost 400 houses on the only private island with a privately maintained bridge on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

Eight hundred acres of marsh located between Porters Neck and Figure Eight was donated to the North Carolina Conservancy in 1985 to carry out a commitment to monitor the pristine quality of its waters.  Scientists come to the island to study the salt water and ground water resources, as well as bird and plant life. Herons, egrets, ibis, osprey and owl inhabit the estuaries.  Loggerhead turtles come ashore to nest along the beaches during June, July, and August.

Summer is High Season and the island swells with owners, their families, and many houses guests. The summer population comes mainly from North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New England. Because of its privacy and security Figure Eight has had movie stars, producers, rock stars, and politicians as guests.  Paul Newman, Andie McDowell, Dino DiLaurentiis, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas have all been guests.  Vice President Al Gore and his family vacationed on the island in 1997, along with a cadre of secret service.

Figure Eight is a unique island with a private bridge, five miles of empty beach, and no commercial enterprise. The island is a welcome retreat to those seeking a peaceful, private and close-to-nature lifestyle.


Chadsworth Cottage From The Owner’s Point of View

When I moved the Headquarters of Chadsworth’s 1.800.COLUMNS from Atlanta to Wilmington, North Carolina, one of my primary goals was to find a special place where I could build a permanent residence.  As I began looking at properties, I had two primary considerations. First, since Wilmington is located on the Cape Fear River, and close to the Atlantic Ocean, I wanted an unobstructed view of the water.  I had to decide whether I wanted to be on the Intracoastal Waterway or on one of the barrier islands.

Second, I had to have a secure property.  Part of my job as Founder and Principal Designer for Chadsworth’s 1.800.COLUMNS requires that I travel extensively, so I am frequently away from home. After looking at many sites, I chose Figure Eight Island, because it is a private island with approximately 400 homes and has excellent security.  The only access to the island other than by boat is by a privately owned bridge.  Figure Eight Island has the only private gate on all the Intracoastal; it is privately owned and maintained by the homeowners.

Why Classical

As soon as I saw the property on Figure Eight Island, I knew I had found the right place. My other homes are very traditional, so I thought that I would do something more contemporary and modern.  I thought if the house was made of poured-in-place concrete it would be less expensive, and would withstand hurricanes that are seasonal to the area.  After studying various designs for the house, I realized that building in that manner was actually going to be more expensive. And somehow, I did not feel that a contemporary home would be right for me.

North Carolina has a lot of historic towns on its eastern coast, and as I traveled through them, I found that I really wanted something very simple, like a Colonial cottage with columns. Once the decision was made to build a classical home, everything seemed to fall into place.  I was going back to my roots and tradition with a ‘classic cottage’.

I have always loved classical architecture, and feel very strongly about promoting it in my business.  As a member of the board of directors for the Institute of Classical Architecture, I believe classical architecture is the basis for all architecture, and anyone building a home to have a fundamental understanding of classical architecture.

Figure Eight Island is steeped in history, and goes back to a royal land grant.  The second owner of the island, Cornelius Harnett, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  In keeping with this tradition, I decided that I wanted the house to look at though it had been on the island for 100 years. With its 2-story portico and columned façade, Chadsworth Cottage will provide a grand vista and a beacon for anyone coming down the Intracoastal Waterway.

Chadsworth Cottage was devised to demonstrate that it is possible to build a traditional home, stay true to classical architecture, and use readily available products. I wanted to build the house as I envisioned it, but at the same time keep building costs down. I decided that all building materials to be used in the house should be materials that were readily available, not products that had to be designed or custom made especially for the house, which elevate costs dramatically.  Furthermore, the area has been hit by five hurricanes in the last 10 years, and since the house is located on a barrier island, it was imperative for it to be structurally sound and able to withstand winds of up to 140mph.

The next step after deciding what type of house I would build was selecting the architect and builder. It was important for all three of us to work together from the beginning.  I didn’t want to have an architect design the house and then hire a builder.  I wanted a coordinated team effort. We had many discussions and each of us had to compromise, because of the stringent rules that apply to building on ocean front property.

The building site is not very large, approximately 50 ft. x 50 ft., with the set backs—so we had to make the house foot-print smaller than 2,500 sq. ft. Then, the house has to be raised up on piers.   The first floor will be an area where I can entertain my friends, with a great entrance hall, living room, dining room and study.  The second floor has two guest suites and a master bedroom suite, which runs the length of the house (approximately 48 feet).  I wanted the third floor to be a personal study and office where I can work, read, relax with my German Shepherd and enjoy the view.  It was important that the furniture I have, as well as any I plan to purchase, ‘fit’ in the chosen space.

Because of my involvement with the Institute of Classical Architecture, I had been exposed to many classical architects. I hired Christine Franck, whom I have known for years and who teaches at the Institute, because of her innate sense of design and her ability to work well with clients.

Although builder, Jim Murray, had not previously worked on Figure Eight Island, I saw some of his houses in Historic Wilmington, and felt he would be the right man for the job.  It is important to me that I have a cost-efficient project with no overruns. Ron understands my concern, and will work with me to complete the house on time and under budget.

I am happy with the team that I have selected to design and build Chadsworth Cottage and about the way the project is progressing.  Ultimately, I will have a house that looks as though it has been on the island for hundreds of years, and will be practical as well as beautiful–a house that I can be proud of.


About the Owner of Chadsworth Cottage

Jeffrey L. Davis is the Founder and Principal Designer of Chadsworth’s 1.800.COLUMNS, a leading manufacturer and distributor of architectural columns for home and commercial use.  Founded in 1987 and headquartered in Historic Wilmington, North Carolina, Chadsworth is a privately held corporation. Mr. Davis is a graduate of St. Andrews College, and a member of the board of directors of the Institute for Classical Architecture. 

Mr. Davis’ basic strategy as Founder and Principal Designer of Chadsworth is to provide superior and affordable columns to every customer, whether architect, designer, or homeowner. Chadsworth has successfully developed a diverse product line that caters to the individual needs of its customers. Chadsworth produces columns, representing all five orders of classical architecture.

Davis is a leader in the building industry, and a well-known authority and speaker on Classical Architecture and the History of Columns. He has been a guest on Home Again with Bob Vila, and serves as a technical consultant for the show. He has appeared on national television on Home Again With Bob Vila, The Christopher Lowell Show, Michael Holigan’s Your New House, Curb Appeal, and Haven with Joy Philben.


About The Designer Of Chadsworth Cottage

Christine G. H. Franck is a designer and educator in private practice in New York. Ms. Franck earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia and a Master of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame. Before establishing her own office in 1998 to focus on architectural design and education, she interned with the office of Allan Greenberg, Architect. In 1996 she was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame Rome Studies Center. She has an extensive background in developing and directing architectural education programs specializing in architectural classicism.  In 1996 and 1997 Ms. Franck co-directed the Prince of Wales’s Institute of Architecture’s American Summer School Program. She has also directed The Institute of Classical Architecture’s Summer Program in Classical Architecture for four years from 1998 to 2001, and the Institute’s Rome Architectural Drawing Tour from 1998 to 2001. Ms. Franck was the first Executive Director of the Institute of Classical Architecture and now serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute, the Advisory Council of the Institute and is Director of the Institute’s Academic Programs. She has traveled extensively including extended study tours in Carthage, Tunisia; Bath, England; Rome, Italy; Clisson, France; the Netherlands; and throughout the United States.  Her design sensitivity was developed at an early age in her hometown of Williamsburg, Virginia.  She is also the author of the forthcoming Jose M. Allegue: A Builder’s Legacy.


About The Builder of Chadsworth Cottage

Murray Construction Company of Wilmington

Murray Construction Company of Wilmington, NC was selected to build The Period Homes Show House, Chadsworth Cottage, on Historic Figure Eight Island, near Wilmington, NC.

“We selected Murray Construction Company for several reasons’ says Jeffrey L. Davis, Founder and Principal Designer of Chadsworth’s 1.800.COLUMNS and a major sponsor of the Show House, “the company’s longevity, their history and experience of building on Figure Eight Island, and their willingness to work as a partner in the Show House”.  “We know that Murray Construction will maintain the desired quality and integrity of the project”, says Davis.

Because the Cottage will be built on the ocean, special measures must be taken. The Cottage will be built on timber pilings and different methods for building will be required.  Materials that will standup to the elements must be selected. The landscaping and plant materials chosen must be able to withstand the salt, wind, and intense sun.  These are just a few of the problems that need to be solved prior to starting the project.

Period Homes Magazine Presents our  Show House Project,   Chadsworth Cottage. 


The Period Homes Show House, Chadsworth Cottage, was devised to demonstrate that it is possible to build a traditional home, staying true to classical architecture, using readily available products.

The original concept in building the house is to show the reader’s of Period Homes and Traditional Building Magazine that you can build a home with products purchased through the magazine and their web sites. Most of the items used in building the house will be ‘stock’ items used by any builder, architect or designer.


Period Homes Editorial and Marketing Program will provide your company with a powerful Partnership Opportunity:

—  Heightened awareness of and interest in your product among affluent consumers and trade professionals.

— Access to homeowners committed to traditional style and classical architecture and the professionals (architects, designers, builders) who help them achieve it.

— Editorial Product Mention in Period Homes Magazine.

— On-Site Trade Promotion.

— Opening Night Gala Party

— Signage

— Public Relations

— Online Opportunities

Join us to celebrate America’s love of classical architecture and style.  Be a part of the 2002 Chadsworth Cottage.  Your product will reach over 35,000 trade professionals in our magazine, as well as thousands of affluent consumers that will tour the house to benefit the St. John’s Museum and other local charities.