John Donald Latimer, AIA (1916-1996)

John Donald Latimer, son of James William Leroy Latimer, was born in 1916 in Somerville. He graduated from Taunton High School in Massachusetts and the Wentworth Institute of Technology. In 1953, he established his architectural practice in Durham and continued to work there for many years.

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John Donald Latimer and the Isaac M. and Trudy Taylor Residence

One of his best-known award-winning designs was the Cedar Terrace Offices near South Square in Durham, as shown in the photo below. Roger Clark was the project architect.

In 1952, the Isaac M. and Trudy Taylor Residence stood on 28 acres of picturesque land on Morgan Creek Road in Chapel Hill. This serene abode is significant in history as the childhood home of renowned musician James Taylor and his siblings.

Initially envisioned by architect George Matsumoto, the project took an unexpected turn when Trudy Taylor sought a different direction with her distinct vision. Disheartened by the discord, Matsumoto decided to step away from residential design, citing a reluctance to navigate the spouses’ preferences.

Undeterred, Trudy Taylor swiftly engaged the talents of another architect, Latimer, to bring her vision to fruition. The result is a captivating blend of timeless elegance and natural charm. Adorned with cypress exteriors and cherry interiors complemented by oak floors, the residence exudes warmth and sophistication.

Although initially planned by landscape designer Lewis Clarke, his concepts were ultimately untouched. Instead, the focus shifted to the interior, where functionality and comfort intertwine seamlessly. The lower floor dedicated to the children’s quarters, while the upper level houses a luxurious master bedroom and a cozy living space.

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A notable renovation in the late 1960s, spearheaded by Arthur Cogswell, breathed new life into the kitchen, situated on the mezzanine level, a testament to the evolving nature of the residence over the years. Today, the Isaac M. and Trudy Taylor Residence is a testament to timeless design and familial legacy, a cherished landmark in the heart of Chapel Hill.

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