- 1,728 square feet
- Lot Size: .75 acres / Zoning: Residential
, Regional Director
Preservation NC, Western Office
A Mid–century Modern masterpiece in East Charlotte, in a serene setting with a rich history associated with the arts landscape of Charlotte!
One of only a few dozen prime examples of high style Mid-century Modern architecture in Charlotte, the Cohen-Fumero House was designed by noted architect Murray Whisnant, a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a graduate of the NCSU School of Design, and constructed by Gus Vinroot in 1960 being completed in 1961. Upon its completion for owners and artists Herb Cohen and Jose Fumero, the house quickly became and remained throughout their ownership as a center of the creative and social life of the artistic community in Charlotte. Prominent regional, national and international guests included NC painter Phillip Moose, author Jan Karon, Italian sculptor Arnolde Pomadoro and countless well-known and respected artists representing a wide diversity of disciplines.
The house was designed as a “serene” place that would serve as an appropriate background for work, to display the owners artwork and its suitability for entertaining.
Designated as a local historic landmark, the house is eligible for a 50% ad valorem property tax deferral. The property is potentially eligible for National Register listing.
Historical and Architectural Information
The one-story flat-roof house is clad with grooved, vertical T1-11 siding appearing to “float” above the grade due to its cantilevered exterior walls. It has a semi-attached carport (1963), enclosed courtyard, significant three-foot overhang over the southern elevation, three sets of sliding glass doors, and large single-pane glazed windows. The interior features a tall 1 1/2 story height rectangular brick center core that rises above the roof and a brick fireplace.
Highlighted features include: ribbon-stripped Phillipine mahogany “floating” walls, narrow oak flooring, built-in adjustable glass shelves, tall mahogany slab doors extending to the ceiling with original recessed latches, and recessed light fixtures. The living room transitions without delineation into a dining room. The original kitchen cabinetry has been replaced and the bathrooms have been heavily remodeled but still feature their original skylights. The house was originally designed to include a separate living suite with a kitchenette (now converted to a laundry room). The original free standing studio structure was demolished but could conceivably be reconstructed.
The original owners — Herb Cohen and Jose Fumero
Herb Cohen and Jose Fumero both moved to Charlotte in the 1950s. Cohen is a potter with an Master of Fine Arts from Alfred University, and who came from New York City to work for the Hyalyn Porcelain Company in Hickory, North Carolina. In 1958 Cohen moved to Charlotte to work for Robert W. Schlageter, the newly-hired Director of the Charlotte Mint Museum of Art. Cohen was hired as the Exhibitions Director for the museum; and together Schlageter and Cohen revitalized the well established institution into a major player in the South‟s burgeoning arts movement. Since its opening in 1936, the museum had held only one competition show before Cohen was hired. Recognizing that there was a tremendous amount of unrecognized artistic talent in the Southeast, Cohen organized the Mint Museum‟s first Piedmont Painting &
Sculpture Exhibition in 1960, which attracted artists from eleven states. In 1963 Cohen organized the Piedmont Craft Exhibition, and in 1965 he organized the museum‟s Piedmont Graphics Exhibition. Cohen‟s work with the Mint Museum afforded tremendous exposure for southern artists, attracted national and international artists to Charlotte, and significantly raised Charlotte’s profile in the art world.
Born in Cuba, Jose Fumero moved to New York City with his family as a young child. After graduating from Cooper Union School of Art, Fumero worked for Collins & Aikman designing car and airplane fabrics, and moved for his job to North Carolina. While working as a designer, Fumero also painted and worked as a fiber artist. As a couple, Cohen and Fumero quickly became immersed in a small but vibrant arts community in Charlotte that included both visual and performing artists, writers, and designers. Among that creative crowd was architect Murray Whisnant.
The Cohen-Fumero House is located in the east area of Charlotte in the Coventry Woods neighborhood. It is in a somewhat secluded residential area with single-family homes set on large lots with low traffic on a dead-end street, and is within easy walking distance of the Cedarwood neighborhood park.
Charlotte is a major city and commercial hub in North Carolina and regionally. Its modern city center known as “Uptown” is home to the Levine Museum of the New South, which explores post–Civil War history in the South, and hands-on science displays at Discovery Place, the Charlotte Mint Museum and much more. Click here for more on the city of Charlotte.
Click gallery below to view current and documentary images of the house.