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Southern Highland Craft Gallery

Southern Highland Craft Gallery

Location: Asheville, NC / Type: Historic Renovation

Following our successful redesign and renovation of the Allanstand Shop at the Folk Arts Center in the early 1990s, the Southern Highland Craft Guild again selected us to help them create a destination fine crafts gallery in Biltmore Village.
Southern Highland Craft Guild, an architectural renovation project in Biltmore Village

The new gallery is housed in the Biltmore-Oteen Bank building, circa. 1928, which features a trapezoidal plan and 25 foot high ceiling. After years of neglect, this building needed a lot of work to make it into a destination gallery.

Phase One of this historic rehabilitation included a new roof, waterproofing, lead paint removal, asbestos abatement, reconstruction of the trademark Palladian windows, rehabilitation of exterior finishes, and structural upgrades. The design team was able to balance Biltmore Village Historic District Design Guidelines with FEMA flood requirements and contemporary improvements to the exterior envelope, which were designed to extend the life of this Landmark Building.

Phase Two of this historic rehabilitation was a complete transformation of the interior of the building. The work began with the colossal undertaking of plaster repair, which was necessitated after years of roof leaks, failed downspouts and rotted window frames and sashes. With the change to a Retail/Mercantile occupancy, fully compliant handicapped accessibility was a requirement, and a new accessible entry door and fully accessible restroom, dressing room, and staff break room were all thoughtfully incorporated into the project by the design team.

Southern Highland Craft Guild, an architectural renovation project in Biltmore Village
Southern Highland Craft Guild, an architectural renovation project in Biltmore Village

The custom cylindrical pendant light fixtures, which blend LED and fluorescent technology behind a subtle linen shroud, were designed to flood the space with light. Display cases were built to incorporate highly energy efficient LED fixtures, which highlight the items on display, without being seen. Special uplit window displays highlight blown glass merchandise, and a special hanging system in front of the windows, allows natural light to stream through stained glass on display.

Every detail of the customer experience was scrutinized. Custom jewelry cases were combined with an elevated display platform to create a more intimate shopping experience, within what is an otherwise cavernous space. A unique quilt display system was developed to make the raising and lowering of quilts easy and, more importantly, safe. Local artisans, including Chukk Bruursema, created the nesting tables, clothing racks, waterfalls, and vertical light box. The perimeter cabinetry and checkout desk blend storage and display in an elegant, stained wood framework, and all of the cabinetry and display fixtures were designed to play a supporting role to the Guild’s “star of the show” (the exquisite local craft of the Southern Highland).

Southern Highland Craft Guild, an architectural renovation project in Biltmore Village
Southern Highland Craft Guild, an architectural renovation project in Biltmore Village
Southern Highland Craft Guild, an architectural renovation project in Biltmore Village