Jul 7, 2023 - News

2023 Home of the Year: Revitalized colonial estate in Plaza Midwood

Our 2023 Home of the Year Award goes to an elegant example of how to reimagine history by combining traditional aspects with modern elements.

It’s a display of repurposing architectural beauty with meaning. A project that Grandfather Homes’ owner Matt Ewers hopes prompts others to consider preservation rather than demolishment.

The house: At 7,290 square feet, the renovated mansion has six bedrooms, four full bathrooms and two half baths.

  • Ewers, his wife Gretchen and their family now reside in what took an extensive three-year renovation with ultra-modern additions.
  • It has two studies, a library, walk-in closets, scullery, private balcony, three-car garage plus additional parking with a basement garage. 

Historical footprint: Textile industrialist Charles Barnhardt hired architect Martin E. Boyer Jr. to build and design the sprawling Plaza Midwood estate in 1938 during the Great Depression.

  • In 1948, wealthy textile tycoons George and Elizabeth Cramer, whose family is known for conceptualizing the business district that would become NoDa, moved into the home. They lived there for 68 years and made few architectural changes to the home, as Axios’ Brianna Crane previously reported.
  • The home was set to be demolished in 2018, we reported at the time. Instead, The Historic Landmarks Commission purchased the land, designated the home (at 3217 Maymont Place3217 Maymont ave.) as a historic landmark and moved forward with restoration efforts.

Style: Throughout each space, interior designer Tammy Coulter utilizes original bodacious elements of the original architects’ spirit while incorporating a warm and organic modern design.

  • Most of the rooms have one statement piece, which are supported by other calming traditional textured details.
  • The dining room, for example, has a colorful ceiling that creates a vibrant statement, a nod to the heart of Plaza Midwood, according to Ewers.

Design: Intentional craftsmanship, from Bryan Mermans Architecture, pays homage to the original structure by maintaining its grandiose display and expanding on it with new additions. 

  • During the remodel, they added an additional 1,500 square feet of living space.
  • The new space features a large open floor plan that includes a two-story great room and kitchen that connects to both the downstairs and upstairs of the existing home.

Details: Several smaller charming aspects, reflective of the 1930s era, can be viewed at nearly every angle of the home.  

  • Interior features such as niches, scallops and pilasters are identical to Boyer’s architectural drawings.
  • The grand stairway, trim, flat clay tile roofing, and shutters also help to maintain the original character of the home.

Kitchen: The large stacked windows, oversized entryways and 18-foot ceilings expand the space with natural light. 

  • This room has become the focal point of the home when entertaining and spending time with immediate family, according to Ewers.  
  • The central island draws large gatherings while the adjacent breakfast nook frequently provides a more intimate space for family. 

Outdoor living: The seamless transition from indoor to relaxing outside space is met with a pool and spa, previously a terraced fountain.

  • With a growing neighborhood behind the home, there was a desire for privacy from the rear street. To achieve this, landscape architect Ted Cleary crafted a courtyard with retaining walls and a grand fireplace that sit along the original terraced gardens.

All photos courtesy of Michael Blevins

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