Dunlevie House Rehabilitation
642 Dunlevie Rd.
Owner: D.C. Miller Trust
Operator: The Georgia Land Trust
Type of Services:
Historic Preservation, Rehabilitation, Architecture
Georgia Trust Preservation Awards:
2010 Marguerite Williams Award
2010 Excellence in Rehabilitation
2009 AIA Savannah Citation Award
This historic preservation project is located in Allenhurst, Georgia on a rural land conservation site known as Miller Pasture. The 2,500 square foot Dunlevie House was built in 1920. It was the homestead property for the Dunlevie family of the Dunlevie Lumber Company throughout the first half of the 20th century. Miller Pasture is now owned by the D.C. Miller Trust and operated by The Georgia Land Trust.
The project offered some unique challenges. With little to go on as far as historic photographs and documentation were concerned, the building was instead deciphered in order to reveal the changed or missing details that needed to be restored. During a past project, the front wrap-around porch had been altered; the tall slender columns were modified and the stairs were replaced with brick. We restored the columns by sistering new bottom portions to the original upper shafts, bases and capitals. The balustrade and stairs were also restored to match an historic photograph, while meeting current code requirements. A sleeping porch had been added to the second story in the past, greatly changing the scale and therefore, the original design intent. The porch was removed, restoring the perfect proportions of the historic building. Other preservation aspects included restoring the first floor screened porch, opening the breezeway to the summer kitchen, refinishing the heart pine floors, and many other details. The historic paint colors were discovered and matched throughout the property as well.
New construction aspects to the project were complete electrical and HVAC systems, an updated plumbing system, and a new septic field. A modern, yet complementary design enclosed the original breezeway, which is now the catering kitchen. Both the building and the site were improved to allow for ADA accessibility. The site improvements included an accessible brick paver path from the parking area to each entrance of the building.
The program was developed with the new use in mind. The building changed from a single family home to an assembly occupancy where the general public would need to have access and a much greater number of people could occupy it at any given time. The Dunlevie House is now used as an educational and nature center. It hosts church groups, garden clubs, environmental groups, and a 4-H program for military children from nearby Fort Stewart.