Designed by Williard C. Northup in 1919 and built in 1920, the Agnew Hunter Bahnson House is a large, two-story, stuccoed house in the English Country House style, reminiscent of C.F.A. Voysey and the English Arts and Crafts architectural movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
When built, the house was part of a long row of large homes along West Fifth Street, known as “Millionaire’s Row.” In fact, the lot had been the garden and tennis courts for the adjacent R.J. Reynolds house, where the Reynolds family lived prior to moving to their country estate, Reynolda (c. 1917). Though designed by a different architect from that of Reynolda, the Bahnson house certainly borrowed from the Charles Barton Keen design with its Ludowici-Celadon green tiled roof, austere white stucco façade, asymmetrical form and unusual fenestration.
The interior features a large stair hall with handsome staircase which opens to a large living room (now the Library Bar) with French doors flanking the fireplace that lead to the tiled sunporch (now the Sun Porch). A large dining room (now the Main Dining Room) with fireplace opens via French doors to the terrace. Also on the main level is a small den (now the Men’s Room) and parlor (now the Magnolia Room), which opens to the terrace via French doors. The kitchen and butler’s pantry have been converted into a commercial kitchen.
Upstairs, are four principal bedrooms situated off a sweeping wide hallway, four baths that have been re-used as restrooms, and twin sleeping porches on the south end (now offices). There is a back stairwell with access to the attic, which served as former servant’s quarters. There is also a full basement with numerous rooms used for mechanical systems and storage (now the Prep Kitchen).
The house was in the Bahnson family until the late 1960’s, when it was given to the Forsyth County Library and was used by them until 2006. They made minimal alterations to the floor plan; however, most bathroom fixtures had been removed, and three of the four fireplaces had lost their mantles and were boarded over. Very little of the original bronze door hardware was intact.
The historic restoration and adaptive re-use of the A.H. Bahnson home that began in May, 2011 was undertaken with great sensitivity to the home’s glorious past by making minimal alterations to the home’s exterior and interior spaces. However, attention and care to historical detail has been paramount to retain and repair those elements that give the former home its integral charm, including: repairing all original windows and French doors and replacing broken or missing brass hardware; repairing all original moldings and fireplace mantles; replacing broken bathroom tile with historically-appropriate tile design; stripping wall-to-wall carpet and refinishing the furniture-quality white oak floors; repairing and painting exterior stucco and replacing wooden shutters. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.