Reynolda House roof rehabilitation set to begin this summer

Preparatory work to commence next week

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (April 29, 2021) — Rehabilitation work to replace the 104-year-old roof of Reynolda House Museum of American Art will take place this summer and run through the end of the year, with preparatory tree removal work beginning next week. The historic structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places is home to a nationally renowned collection of American art on view in the restored interiors of R.J. and Katharine Reynolds’s 34,000-square-foot 1917 bungalow. The museum will remain open throughout the course of the work and visitors will be able to enter and exit as usual. 

“The preservation of Reynolda’s historic bungalow is critical for the preservation and protection of the museum’s American fine art and decorative arts collection for years to come,” said Allison Perkins, Reynolda House executive director and Wake Forest University associate provost for Reynolda House and Reynolda Gardens. “Not only is this object a symbol of the region’s industry, for Winston-Salem, it also signifies an essential investment in the community and a celebration of the arts.”

Construction management of the roof rehabilitation project will be led by the Frank L. Blum Company, which built the museum’s Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing for education and exhibition purposes in 2005. The facilities department of Wake Forest University is also providing project oversight. 

Reynolda’s clay tile roof, produced by the Ludowici-Celadon Tile Company, is a defining architectural feature of the site and serves to protect and preserve the structure, along with the collections housed within it. Reynolda’s roof contains more than 30,000 tiles manufactured by Ludowici, weighing over 70 tons, or the equivalent of thirteen adult elephants. These will be replaced with nearly identical tiles, in matching colors that consist of three shades of green, along with copper guttering and downspouts that will match the originals exactly. 

Reynolda House identified the roof as a priority area in 2017, during routine preventative maintenance. In 2018, Reynolda formed an advisory team tasked with identifying historic preservation standards and processes for the project. The team, led by the museum’s deputy director Phil Archer, includes Reynolda’s preservation architect of record Joseph K. Oppermann, P.A., architectural historian Margaret Supplee Smith and historian Thomas Frank, along with Reynolda staff and board members.

Tree removal work

The above photos show a view of the lake porch in 2019 compared to its original view more than 100 years ago.

In guiding the rehabilitation plan for the roof, the team determined that some of the estate’s trees must be removed in preparation for the construction phase of the project.  

Winston-Salem company Miller Tree Service will remove eight trees surrounding the bungalow, including two Southern magnolia trees facing the Lake Katharine wetland and approximately six red cedar trees on both sides of the bungalow, early next month, with work expected to take up to two weeks. “The trees are overhanging the roof, posing a risk to the historic structure and its collections. One of the two magnolias is also rotting at the base, with a hole 3 feet across. It is time to replace the trees that now overarch the rooftops, and by re-setting the trees, we will be able to add flowering perennials below them, taking direction from the 1916 plans by landscape architect Thomas Warren Sears,” explains Archer.

New tree plantings that embrace estate architect Charles Barton Keen’s original elevation drawings for Reynolda will occur after the roof rehabilitation work concludes at the end of the year. Archer adds, “We are extremely fortunate to have a dedicated team of experts, including the team at Reynolda Gardens led by Jon Roethling, working to reimagine history and provide estate visitors with a second, lakefront view, of Reynolda that hasn’t been seen in decades.”

In 2018, Reynolda House received an Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in the first year of a program to strengthen the institutional base of the humanities.  At $420,000, the grant was the largest in the museum’s history. Together, Reynolda House and Wake Forest University have raised 98% of the total goal needed to restore the roof. 

This summer, original roof tiles will be available for sale in a commemorative package through the museum store. Proceeds of the sales of the tiles will support the roof rehabilitation project.

Reynolda thanks The National Endowment for the Humanities and Wake Forest University for their generous support of this project. Additional support provided by: 

Foundation Support
The Cannon Foundation
The John W. and Anna H. Hanes Foundation
Hillsdale Fund
Richard J. Reynolds, III and Marie M. Reynolds Foundation
The Winston-Salem Foundation

Corporate Support
Mercedes-Benz of Winston-Salem

Public Support
Forsyth County

Individual Support
Anne and Bruce Babcock
Endia Beal and Alain Lamarque
Rhoda and Roger Berkowitz
Dianne and Chuck Blixt
Chip Callaway
Greer and Scott Cawood
Iris and Brian Cole
Susan and Mark Conger
Patsy and Bill Currin
Mr. and Mrs. Sandlin M. Douglas
Lynn and Barry Eisenberg
Helen Hough Feinberg, in honor of Hazel Hough
Sheila and Jon Fox 
Dr. Laura Gerald
Nadine and Mark Hall
Ann and Borden Hanes
Sue and Doug Henderson
Joia Johnson
Mercer and Tom Jones & Margaret and Adam Proegler, in honor of Scott Richardson 
Curtis Leonard
Dr. Amy McMichael
Barbara and Nik Millhouse
Anna and John Munroe
Stuart Parks
Stacy and Matt Petronzio
Anne and Dixon Pitt
Mr. Olle and Dr. Emily Röstlund
John Salerno
Ms. Cyndi Skaar
Leigh and Gray Smith
Fabina Jorge and Douglas Sosnik, in honor of Marge Sosnik
Kim and Stuart Stogner
Judie Swain
Gwynne and Dan Taylor

To learn more about how you can own a piece of history through the purchase of an original commemorative roof tile and other opportunities available to support Reynolda, contact Stephan Dragisic, director of advancement, at 336-758-5595 or   

Hours and Admission
Reynolda House, located at 2250 Reynolda Rd., is open to visitors Tuesday-Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. 

Museum members, children 18 and under, students, military personnel, first responders and employees of Wake Forest University and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center with valid ID receive free admission to the museum. Passes to Reynolda House in English and Spanish are available to check out from every branch of the Forsyth County Public Library free of charge. 

Reynolda Gardens is open from dawn to dusk daily free of charge.  The greenhouse is currently closed. Visit for more information on shopping and dining.

About Reynolda
Reynolda, in Winston-Salem, N.C., is a rare gem among the nation’s cultural institutions and historic greenspaces. The 53-year-old museum at the center of Reynolda’s 170 acres, Reynolda House Museum of American Art presents a renowned art collection in a historic and incomparable setting: the original 1917 interiors of Katharine and R. J. Reynolds’s historic home. Spanning 250 years, the collection is an uncompromisingly selective one, a chronology of American art, with each artist represented by one work of major significance. The Reynolda experience includes a free app called Reynolda Revealed; touring exhibitions in the museum’s Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing; formal gardens, conservatory and walking trails of Reynolda Gardens; and more than 25 of the estate’s original buildings repurposed as shops and restaurants in Reynolda Village. Reynolda, located at 2250 Reynolda Road, is part of Wake Forest University. For more information, please visit

Connect at and @CurateReynolda on Instagram.


Media Contact
Kaci Baez
336.758.5524 or