An interest in Arts and Crafts architecture and anything “Carolina” keeps Wendell business owner Bruce Lynch busy.
Q: Through your years of service to the Wendell Chamber and the Wendell Rotary Club, it is evident you are civic-minded, but you also have an interest that gained attention from the Wake County Historical Society. Explain how your home, which is only eight years old, garnered attention from a historical society?
A: After years of living outside of Wendell in the Rockwood Downs subdivision, my wife, Margie, and I began looking for a smaller lot inside town. We were both wanting less yard to worry with and maintain. About nine years ago, we found a lot on Cypress Street with an older home on it. We first thought about refurbishing it but learned it had asbestos, and just a lot of issues. We donated the structure to the Wendell Fire Department, who used it in a controlled burn, which gives the firefighters training. My wife and I are both connoisseurs of the Arts and Crafts architecture movement, which began in England in the late 1800s and eventually made its way over here. We just love the style of the homes, furniture, pottery. We love the furniture of designers like Gustav Stickley. With Arts and Crafts, the homes are mostly bungalow-styled, more simple type of homes. We have just learned a lot about that period of time and the designs. For one anniversary, we went to Buffalo, NY to visit Graycliff, a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. You know, in the early 1900s, downtown Buffalo had more millionaires than almost anywhere else in the United States. Some people have kidded us about spending a wedding anniversary by traveling to Buffalo but that is something we are both interested in. There are Arts and Crafts neighborhoods all over the US, including towns like Pasadena and Chicago. The Grove Park Inn holds a conference every year on the Arts and Crafts movement and we have attended some of those. We wanted to build a home on Cypress Street that blended in with the neighborhood. We have had people come into our house and ask, ‘When did you renovate?’ and do not realize it is all new construction. When I hear that, then I know we accomplished what we wanted to do. It is like a new old home. We feel real comfortable there. With a lot of new construction, you just don’t get that ‘sense of place,’ but when I come home, I just get that special feeling – relaxed. We got a call one time from a photographer from The News & Observer, saying they wanted to come get a photo of our house because it had been recognized as one of the 2008 Homes of the Month. I was surprised because I had not entered anything. I was told our architect had submitted the design.
Q: With such an interest in design, you should have been an architect.
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A: When I graduated from high school (in Greensboro), I went to UNC-Chapel Hill and majored in chemistry and zoology. I thought I wanted to be a doctor and I probably should have stayed in science but I realized I did not want to go to school that long. I went to career counseling and they told me I was good with numbers. I went on to get my MBA from George Washington University. When I got out of college, I worked with MetLife and dealt in real estate. I also worked with John Kane (North Hills developer) for a while. I later opened up my own business, Rosamund Property Consultants. My wife and I also own the car wash which is near the fire department. I suppose I have always been interested in architecture. Growing up, I played a lot with building toys – stuff like Legos, Lincoln Logs, you name it. If it was a toy you could build with, I had it. Later I found out that most people just don’t realize how complicated it is to build a building. I suppose if UNC would have had an architecture program, I would have gone into that but I always thought you had to be creative to do something like that.
Q: What about your children? What are they interested in?
A: My son is about to graduate from UNC, and he has majored in political science and public policy. He is more like his mom, who is a lawyer. My daughter, who also graduated from Southeast Raleigh, is working right now but I am sure she will return to school.
Q: In addition to the Arts and Crafts movement, what other hobbies hold your interest?
A: I like sports. I enjoy Carolina basketball. Anything Carolina in general. I am a member of the Wendell Beer Society (that was tapped from the craft beer movement) and I enjoy working in the yard. I do enjoy going for walks around the neighborhood but I don’t play a lot of sports because I am now feeling the effects of all the ailments I accrued because of my days playing high school football. My wife tells me I need to get more hobbies. Obviously she was right, since I am struggling to name any (laughing).
Correspondent Dena Coward