Norris House was built in 1879 as a wedding gift for Cornelia Alice Norris and Matthew Tyson Norris. Once a jewel on downtown Raleigh's historic North Blount Street, Norris House hosted many a fashionable event in her heyday.
Over the years, renovations and expansions of the home were not always kind. Later owners converted the home into a boarding house, completely removing her original Italianate front elevation. Much of the original charm inside Norris House was removed as well, including decorative trim and all but one fireplace.
In the 1970s, the State of North Carolina acquired the house and converted it to an office building. The State Bureau of Investigation called Norris House home for a period, as did the State Office of Archaeology. Eventually, Norris House sat vacant and fell into disrepair.
Restoration efforts began in 2016 and concluded in May 2018. The exterior changes were most dramatic: Norris House will shed the 1930s era two-story colonial front porch in favor of her original Victorian front elevation. The design of the 2017 front elevation was informed by historical records and the original masonry foundation, which was unearthed on site in April 2017. The changes inside were only slightly less dramatic. Great care was exercised to preserve historic elements within the original 1879 structure, including original doors, trim, stained glass and a fireplace surround and mantel. Historic architectural pieces found in the attic were cleaned and repurposed within the home where possible.
In the years to come, Norris House will once again host laughter and merriment as an elegant space for celebrations. Norris House is available for private parties and special events. For more in-depth information regarding the restoration process, we invite you to read through the archives of our blog available on this website.
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