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Barnum and Sarah Sustare House

13700 Idlewild Road, Matthews, N.C.

Photo taken Spring 2010

House as it appeared in 2007

The Sustare House is a large massed-plan wood-framed one-story Queen Anne Style farmhouse.  The house faces east and is set back approximately 60' from Idlewild Road. The house sits on a relatively level five acre lot.   To the south of the house is an open field.  A neighboring house sits close to the Sustare House to the north.  The neighborhood primarily consist of  mid to late Twentieth Century ranch houses sitting on one acre lots.

Typical neighboring houses along Idlewild Road

The facade features a nearly full width hipped-roof porch that wraps around the south elevation.  The porch is highlighted by a single gable over wide steps with simple handrails that lead to the porch in front of the front door. The gable contains vertical narrow moulded boards with a convex profile.  The porch rests on brick piers that have been infilled with brick curtain walls.  The porch roof is supported by turned post topped with sawn brackets. Posts are connected by chamfered and beaded handrails with simple picket balustrades.   Porch floor is tongue-and-groove boards.  The original porch ceiling is covered by plywood.  

The facade features two moderately steep gables of roughly equal size.  The southernmost of the gables projects forward over a wide cut-away bay that is also completely protected by the front porch.    This gable contains vertical beaded board and a louvered vent with a sawn trim featuring a three leaf design.  The gable features an overhanging closed rake, highlighted by moulded trim.  The second gable extends to the north side elevation and is set back from the other gable, and contains the same woodwork features.

Facade detail

The cut-away bay contains three double-hung two-over-two windows.  The window sash are modern based on the design of the original sash.  Interior and exterior sills and trim are original.  Nearly all  sash in the house have been replaced.  The facade is three bay wide.  The front door is located to the north of the  cut-away bay.  The door is a six-light replacement door.  A single window is centered below the north gable.  Walls sheltered by the porch feature the same narrow moulded convex boards found in the porch gable set horizontally.  The porch walls are topped with moulded trim.  To the north of the porch, a small unsheltered section of the wall is sheathed with weather board, separated from the moulded siding by a single vertical board.  The workmanship of the finish carpentry and the quality of the millwork, especially the millwork lavished on the facade, are notable. 


Detail of south elevation and south projecting wing

The south elevation of the principal section of the house is completely sheltered by the porch and contains a single tall two-over-two window.  A small portion of the rear of the porch was enclosed with weatherboard early in the twentieth century forming a small vestibule.  A tall two-over-two window and replacement door pierce the vestibule walls.  Originally the porch wrapped around and sheltered the front of the wing that projects to the south. This portion of the porch was enclosed early in the twentieth century with weatherboard siding and is pierced by three short two-over-two windows.  The gable features beaded board and the same woodwork found in the other forward-facing gables.  The wing was originally cross-gabled, but with a recent addition to the rear of the house, the original south facing gable was replaced with a hip. 

A new one-bay-wide hipped wing projects from the south elevation.

View of north elevation and rear (rear elevation features screened porch)

The north elevation is two bays wide.  A gable is located adjacent to the facade.  Unlike the front gables, this gable contains weatherboard siding and features a simple diamond-shaped louvered vent. A band that serves as a freeze board under the soffit adjacent to the rear elevation, runs across the base of the gable.  

The northern section of the rear elevation is largely original and features a gable adjacent to the north elevation.  Cornice/band and vent details are like those on the north elevation.  A single two-over-two window is centered beneath the gable.  A new hipped-roof porch shelters much of the center section of the rear elevation.  It appears that the rear elevation once featured a  recessed porch that was infilled to form bathrooms.  A multi-hipped wing was added to the rear elevation in 2007, and it obscures the south portion of the original rear elevation.  The new construction features a small gable above a cut-away bay. 

Portion of rear elevation

Bedroom wing added to rear of the house

Chimney detail

The Sustare House features three decoratively corbelled internal chimneys.  Each chimneys is centered over one of the forward facing gables.


Significant portions of the interior of the Sustare House have retained a high degree of integrity.  The workmanship exhibited by the interior woodwork is exemplary.  The five rooms that compose the principal section of the house have retained an impressive amount of the original woodwork.  The principal section of the house is bisected by a hallway that runs the depth of the house.  The hallway's ceiling and walls are covered with beaded boards.  Boards on the wall are set vertically below a moulded chair rail, and horizontal above the rail.  The six doorways that open onto the hallway are trimmed with moulded boards butted into rosette blocks at the upper corners, and into starter blocks also decorated with rosette at the floor.  The walls are topped with simple moulded crown and the original pine floors are topped with wide quarter-round where they meet the walls. Interior doors have retained the original cast iron box locks and pressed steel knobs.

Hallway looking to the rear 

To the north of the hallway are two bedrooms.  The front bedroom features a beaded-board ceiling and vertical beaded boards below a moulded chair rail.  Above the chair rail, the wall is sheathed with plain tongue-and-groove boards.  The mantle features rosette starter blocks supporting a shelf.  The rear bedroom has no chair rail and no beaded boards on the walls.  The mantle in the back bedroom features sawn trim and rosette blocks and starter block, suggesting the the mantles were made by the builder using off-the-shelf millwork items.  Both rooms feature moulded wood and rosette block trim around the doors and windows. 

Front bedroom  North rear bedroom

North rear bedroom


The front room to the south of the hallway contains the cut-away bay, and originally served as a parlor.  The tall mantle features ripped turned spindles, scroll saw trim, rosettes and moulded trim.  In this room narrow moulded boards with a convex profile, like the siding used on the front porch, covers the walls below a moulded chair rail, with beaded boards above.  The original floor has been replaced with similar pine flooring.

South rear bedroom

The back room to the south of the hallway, like all of the bedrooms, features two closets, one set on either side of the internal chimney.  All of the bedrooms feature five panel doors.  The mantle in this room features pendant-design sawn trim.  A wall between this bedroom and the original dining room has been largely removed, replaced by a cased opening.

Detail showing cased openings

The dining room features a built-in china cabinet.  The cabinet is either original to the house or an early addition.  The room features a relatively simple mantle with moulded trim and rosettes.  The brick hearth was recently rebuilt. A second cased opening was added to the rear of the room and open onto what originally was a rear porch.  The walls are covered with tongue and groove boards.  The floor is original.  Portions of trim from an original window opening is still extant in the rear wall.

Dinning room

The kitchen was expanded in the middle part of the Twentieth Century  and again in 2007, but many of the historic architectural elements remained in place, including a short six-panel closet door, and a mantle with moulded trim and rosettes similar to the mantle in the dining room.  The room has a new pine floor, and boxed beams in the ceiling indicate the locations of the original exterior walls. A large bedroom wing was added to the house to the rear of the kitchen.


Despite the additions and changes made to the house, most of the interior woodwork has survived and well conveys the historic character and design of the house.