JOHN DONALD LATIMER, AIA (1916-1996)
Latimer graduated from Taunton High School in MA and the Wentworth Institute of Technology. He also studied Architectural Design at MIT and earned a BS in Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. In 1950 he relocated to North Carolina to work for Mount Hope Finishing Company and began a long private architectural practice in Durham in 1953.
One of his most well-known award-winning designs was the Cedar Terrace Offices near South Square in Durham.
He was appointed by Governor Robert Scott to the NC Board of Architects and subsequently served as president. Latimer retired to his perennial summer home in Cape Cod where and practiced architecture with his son JW LeRoy (Roy) Latimer and son-in-law Tom Lawson as the firm Latimer Lawson. Latimer had three daughters, one of whom, Ann, also practiced architecture with him.
1952 - The Isaac M. and Trudy Taylor Residence, 618 Morgan Creek Road, Chapel Hill, the house on 28 acres where musician James Taylor grew up along with three brothers and one sister. George Matsumoto began the project but his ideas did not resonate with Trudy Taylor. In fact, after that point Matsumoto swore off home design, “not wanting to work with the wives.” Trudy Taylor lost no time in hiring Latimer to finish. The outside wood is cypress and the interior wood is cherry with oak floors. There was a landscape design by Lewis Clarke but it was not used. The lower floor contains the children’s bedrooms, the upper floor a master bedroom and living room. The kitchen, renovated in the late 1960's by Arthur Cogswell, is on the mezzanine level, left above.
The Taylors divorced and moved out by 1972. The house was rented for a few years then sold in 1974 to Jim and Pat Johnston. According to Pat, the steel beam construction tends to bring in the cold and condensation during the winter but otherwise the house is in excellent condition. Color photos by George Smart.
1953 - The Hilda Cannady Crumpler House, 1009 West Cobb Street, Durham. Two very large patios up and downstairs. Hardwood floors, two chimneys with three different fireplaces. Sold in 1961 to Glenn J. and Anne Farrell. Sold in 1980 to Grace R. Walters. Sold in 2001 to Stanley McCauley. On one acre in several parcels. Vacant for seven years. Was #1 on NCMH's Endangered List. Read the appraisal and the structural engineer's report commissioned by NCMH. Sold in 2013.
1953 - The Roy and Geraldine Tilley House, 420 Raleigh Street, Fuquay-Varina NC. The Tilleys raised their children there and kids from all over the neighborhood came by. Pictured above, left, is one young man in the late 1950's. He came back to visit, right, in April of 2009 to stage this photo. The house was sold to Donald and Janet Allen in 1970. Sold to Ann and George Kemp 1973. Sold to Charles and Ginger Cates in 1978. Sold to Hugh and Ruby Rogers in 1984. Sold to Cornerstone Trading Company in summer 2001. Sold to Timothy and Debora McKinney in fall 2001. Sold to Robert Volpe in 2007.
1954 - The Solomon P. and Helen Perry House, 3413 Rugby Road, Durham. Built by Oney Johnson. When Mr. Perry died, Mrs. Perry had Latimer design her another house at 3435 Rugby in 1967. Sold several times. The living room features a floor-to-ceiling sandstone fireplace, cherry paneling, and two walls of windows. Concrete block construction. Sold in 1991 to Hideko Kamino and Howard Ratech. Sold in 1994 to Jeff Chase and Nonna Skumanich. Renovations by Frank Depasquale. Top photo from 1954. Bottom photos by Jeff Chase.
1955 - The James Kenan Beck and Nina Beck Residence, 300 Monticello, Durham. The house was renovated once, also by Latimer. Owned by their son, James Kenan "Kenny" Beck until 2009 when it was sold to Joseph Barna. Photos by Kenny Beck.
1956 - The Wallace and Janie Diehl House, 2410 Wrightwood Drive, Durham. The house was originally planned for Norwood Circle. Sold in 1972. Sold to Ian Douglas Smith. Sold in 1983 to Blake S. Wilson and Doris J. Rouse Wilson. B/W photos from the Durham Herald-Sun, 1958. Bottom color photo from 2012 by Gary Kueber.
1958 - The George E. and Marvella Koury House, 450 Cedarwood, Burlington NC. Commissioned 1957. Built by Marvella's father, H. G. Vanney. The house had a system for continuously circulating hot water throughout the large footage, and had polished concrete floors. It had a very large sunken tub in the master bath (like 5 feet x 8feet) inspired by my Dad's time in Japan immediately after WWII. The kitchen had an island with a cooktop instead of the traditional stove/oven, and two side by side refrigerators and two wall ovens. There were custom built cabinets and huge closets simply everywhere in the home, along with a huge fireplace and an indoor barbeque grill adjacent to the kitchen. The floor plan was wide open, with no walls dividing the kitchen and dining and living areas. There was an enclosed private patio outside the Master bedroom. Sold in 1994 to Russell and Cynthia Huffines.
The original roof was unique: tar with embedded small white stones. Unfortunately late in his life Koury had the original roof covered over with a thick layer of some sort of foam material, including covering the original ridge vent. It had a unique electrical system feature: a 6"x6" light display in the master bedroom. The 1/2" red buttons on the panel were connected to and labeled with each light fixture inside and outside the home. If kids left light on in the house after bedtime the parents could turn them off from their bedroom.
1958 - The Duncan M. and Josephine Getsinger Residence, 613 Sugarberry, a conventional house in Chapel Hill NC. Charlie Woodall was the draftsman. Sold in 1986 to Geraldine Laport. Photo by Nicole Alvarez.
1963 - The Catholic Bishop's Residence, aka Little Maryknoll, 600 Bilyeu Street, Raleigh NC. Designed for Bishop Vincent Waters. Commissioned by the Raleigh Diocese of the Catholic Church. Features a bomb shelter. Waters' successor, Bishop F. Joseph Gossman, arrived in Raleigh in 1975 but only lived there a year. According to GoodnightRaleigh, For the next 20 years, the house served various functions, including a home for unwed mothers. A Girl Scout troop and a Knights of Columbus council used the space for meetings and retreats. In the late 1990s the property was re-purposed as the Doggett Center for Catholic Campus Ministry at NC State University. In May 2012 Doggett Center moved to an on-campus location to be closer to the center of student activity. About that same time a building inspection revealed the house was in dire need of renovation. Little Maryknoll remained essentially vacant for the next year. Destroyed in April 2013.
Harold Lewis House,
1708 Woodburn Road, Durham.
1967 - The John and Helen Latimer Residence at 4907 Garrett Road, Durham, designed with his son-in-law Tom Lawson. Latimer and his wife lived here until they moved to Cape Cod MA. The site was purchased around 1985 by the Eno River Unitarian Univeralist Fellowship (ERUUF). They preserved the house for many years but eventually destroyed it to build a beautiful church sanctuary, bottom photo, in 2000. The church architect was Dixon Weinstein. Older color photos by Jan Walter, an interior designer who worked for Latimer.
1974 - The Robert and Nancy Lincoln House, 5003 Garrett Road, Durham. On several acres. Managed by their son, Todd, who did a partial renovation in 2012, bottom three photos.
Sources include: Robert Volpe, Pat Johnston, ERUUF, Clay Taylor, Julie Hollenbeck interview of the Beratans, son in law Tom Lawson, Kenny Beck, daughter June Latimer Lawson, Charlie Woodall, Nonna Skumanich, Todd Lawson.