Spotlight: Up and Away, a historic house makes a move

Nicole Alvarez

by Liza Roberts

This month, Matt Tomasulo and his wife Nicole Alvarez have big plans for the historic house they bought downtown.

After cleaving it off its foundation and moving it down Lenoir Street, up Wilmington, right on Davie, right on Bloodworth, and settling it in a vacant lot shaded by a beautiful pecan tree, the couple is getting the 1,200-square-foot house ready for a new life. As soon as a 2,500-square-foot addition designed by Alvarez is complete, the circa 1880 house will open as Guest House, an 8-room boutique hotel.

“What Raleigh doesn’t have is a small, cool, design-forward hotel,” says Tomasulo, an urban designer. “This model is getting a lot of momentum in other cities.” He and Alvarez have stayed in several for research – from Asheville to Nashville to Austin – and plan to emulate the best of those with a dose of Oak City hospitality.

“We want to represent what we love about Raleigh, and really put it on a platter,” Tomasulo says. Possibilities include Videri chocolates, Bhavana beer, flowers from Wylde, folding bikes, “gorgeous maps,” and other Raleigh-made elements to liven up “cozy contemporary” interiors influenced by Scandinavian design.

“We want to be a portal to Raleigh,” Tomasulo says.