Traditional and On Trend

The 39th-annual Fourth Ward Holiday Home Tour returns this month.

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Fourth Ward, perhaps Charlotte’s best example of historic preservation, is a study in contrasts. Skyscrapers with stunning views surround an enclave of Victorian and Queen Anne homes built in the early 1900s. It’s proof that traditional and trendy can play well together.

The walkable, self-guided Holiday Home Tour includes admission to eight private residences, all decked out for the season, plus the McColl Center for Art + Innovation. Choirs and hand bell ensembles, horse-drawn carriages, wine and beer samples, and light bites from Uptown eateries like The Asbury and Sea Level help create a festive scene during tour weekend.

The Sloan-Davidson House at 314 W. Eighth St. is one of the tour’s star attractions. The 1,500-square-foot house, owned by Sue and Bill Davis, dates back to 1820.

The Davises are serial renovators, but this is, by far, the oldest home they’ve updated. They’ve lived all over town—including SouthPark and Elizabeth—but they both lived Uptown when they met in 1986. So, returning to Fourth Ward is a homecoming of sorts. “We love the walkability, the diversity, and the ease of getting around,” Sue said. “We even downsized to one car.”

One of Sue’s favorite features of their two-bedroom, two-bath, five-fireplace home is the Shaker-style kitchen designed by Pete Mangum of M Pete, Inc. The brick floor was replaced with reclaimed heart pine from the R.J. Reynolds plant in Winston-Salem.

Sue’s stained glass hanging in a kitchen window is a piece she salvaged decades ago from a Baltimore church. Their Bosch refrigerator is luxe, but small. “We love living like Europeans,” Sue said about daily trips to the grocery store.

The Davises simplified the home in their recent renovation. They removed the chair railing and other ornamentation and painted the walls white to showcase their artwork. They kept what worked (and what was historically significant). The master bathroom’s clawfoot tub, for instance, stayed.

Sue’s a minimalist, and she likes her holiday décor simple: Two 1950s aluminum Christmas trees with vintage Christmas balls are focal points. In a neighborhood that feels straight out of Dickens, the Davises’ silver wreath with teal-and-blue accents is straight out of Mad Men.

The Davis back yard is the site of frequent get-togethers. Sue marvels at being outside under the stars in front of a blazing fire in their fire pit—a scene that feels rustic and rural—and looking up at skyscrapers practically next door.

Fourth Ward’s like that: Victorian yet modern. Urban but down to earth. It’s a neighborhood that honors tradition and welcomes what’s new. That goes for ideas, neighbors and friends.

The 39th annual Fourth Ward Holiday Home Tour happens Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3 from 5 to 9 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4 from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $30 and available at Friend of Fourth Ward’s website at fofw.org.