June 15, 2010
Lees-McRae College announces 2010 Designer Showcase House

A host of local designers, contractors and community businesses will bring new life to a 75-year-old historic building on the Lees-McRae College campus. The 2010 Lees-McRae College Designer Showcase House will transform the structure, located in the heart of campus, into a designer showcase and guest home for the College.

The ultimate goal of this fundraising initiative is to create an on-campus retreat to house VIPs, alumni and trustees.

"True to the motto of Lees-McRae College - in the mountains, of the mountains, for the mountains - this charming home will return to its original purpose and character," said Deborah Buxton, wife of President Barry Buxton and community liaison for the showcase house project. "It will be a showcase for Blue Ridge Mountain talent including artists, craftsmen and designers."

The showcase house has an interesting history at Lees-McRae. Constructed in 1935 by the wood-work and building department students, the showcase house was first used as a practice home for the home economics department of Lees-McRae College, and includes the now-legendary craftsmanship of Daniel Boone IV, the hand-forged wrought iron icon who came to teach this skill to Lees-McRae students in 1934.

During the summers, Miss Anne Jenks and Miss Carrie Jenks, of Southern Pines, NC, would stay in the home, an arrangement with the College that helped finance the construction. The Misses Jenks had been frequent visitors to the Pinnacle Inn, a summer resort run by the College in the 1920s and 30s.

In a newspaper article dated November 13, 1935, the home was described as a "modernly equipped, part-stone structure finished inside with chestnut paneling with wrought iron fixtures made in the Daniel Boone shop." The article continued, "It will serve as both a laboratory for the classes in cooking and home management and as a guest house for the college, the students acting as hostesses."

The Lees-McRae Designer Showcase House will most certainly be a community and team effort: Dianne Davant of Dianne Davant and Associates has volunteered to serve as the chairperson for this fundraising initiative. Contractor Mark Lehmann, Brian Webb of Webb Painting, Classic Stone Works, Pam McKay of The Art Cellar, photographer Dot Griffith, Elisabeth Wall of Lenoir's E.B. Wall and Associates and Deborah Williams of Cobweb Designs (UK) have all pledged their support and services to the project. Other confirmed participants will be announced in the coming weeks.

A mid-September opening is planned for the Lees-McRae College Designer Showcase House. Guided tours for individuals and groups will be available. The showcase house is located at 184 Chestnut Way on the campus of Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk. All proceeds will benefit building restoration and historic preservation on the Lees-McRae College campus.

For more information on this project, contact Deborah Buxton at 828.898.8846 or

Media Contact:

Blaine Hansen  |  Vice President of Strategic Planning and Effectiveness
Tel: 828.898.8838  |  Email: