Trinity Park Home Tour: The Angier – Wheless House

Aug. 23, 2014 @ 09:56 AM

1021 Trinity Avenue

Owners: Gil Wheless and Douglas Nelson

In 1925 Samuel Angier Jr. built the house at 1021 W. Trinity Avenue.  The house would be home to the Angier family until it was sold in 1949 to Gilbert and Evelyn Wheless. The Whelesses raised their two sons, Don and Gilbert Jr., in the home and continued to live there until their deaths. Their son Gilbert  acquired the home from the family in 2013 and has renovated the house, maintaining the original footprint and much of the interior layout.

The original bungalow-style home consisted of an entrance hall, living room, dining room, butler’s pantry and kitchen.  There was a porch on the north side of the house which wrapped around and along the east side for 20 feet. The columns along the porch were constructed of brick with a granite cap and tapered columns. Between the entrance hall and butler’s pantry, there was a staircase that extended to a service entrance on the west side of the house.  This stairway turned and led to a 1,000-square-foot basement.  The second floor consisted of three large bedrooms and one bathroom that served the entire house.

The Angiers renovated the house in 1936, converting more than half of the front porch to a music room where Mrs. Angier taught piano.  To the rear of the house, a breakfast room and a studio apartment were added to the first floor. A half bath was added to the butler’s pantry. On the second level, a sleeping porch and a full bathroom were added above the new first floor addition.

When the Wheless family purchased the house, Don Carlos Barbee, father of Mrs. Wheless, lived just down the street at 1007 Trinity. Evelyn Wheless quickly set about redecorating the house, with a plan to repaint the all-white exterior with Williamsburg green and white trim. She had admired the color of a house on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.  So with her paints in hand, she went to Chapel Hill to try to  match the color.  The owner of the house was Kay Kyser, a popular bandleader and radio personality in the 1930s and 1940s. He stepped outside and visited with Mrs. Wheless for a few minutes, then took a shingle off of the corner of the house and gave it to her so she would be able to match the color exactly.

Gil Wheless and his partner renovated the house to maintain the design work that had been done by the senior Whelesses in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Wallpapers were cleaned and restored, and plaster on the first floor was repaired.  Painting of the entire house, replacement of existing carpeting and refinishing of the heart-of-pine floors on the second level was also completed.

The 1960/1970 interior had beige wallpaper in the entrance foyer, pink walls in the living room and blue wallpaper with large white hydrangeas in the dining room. During recent renovations the owners found the original colors, and used some of them in decorating a new garage/outdoor sitting room, which the owners refer to as “Garage Mahal.”

An angular deck was added to the rear of the house.  The landscaping was refurbished and a new brick walk was added.

The owners invite Home Tour visitors to stop in and appreciate “a redesigned jewel and a classical decor with contemporary conveniences.”