Paul K. Williams
8114, Carroll Avenue (MD 195), Takoma Park, Montgomery County
The Davis-Warner House is a large frame Stick Style residence constructed c. 1875 at 8114 Carroll Avenue in Takoma Park. The three-story hip-roofed structure is four bays wide on the east facade, with three gable-roofed 2/2 sash dormer windows with angled upper sash and stick-decorated gables over the three northernmost bays. The principal entrance is in the third bay from the south. The northern bay is projected forward on both floors, and contains paired 2/2 sash windows on either floor. The remaining three bays on the second floor hold 2/2 sash windows. On the first floor, the southernmost bays hold 4/4 sash windows, and the entrance bay holds a wide Eastlake-style replacement double door with a single glass pane above a single panel in each leaf of the door. Trim around windows and doors is a simple stick style trim with chamfered corners rising above a stick chair rail on the house clapboard siding. The porch posts are chamfered on all corners from the railing height to the base of the large brackets leading to the roof. The large brackets have small decorative lambs-tongue motifs at each end. The railing system consists of square posts, handrail, and bottom rail affixed to the porch floor. Shallow arches separate the posts at the top, underneath the handrail. At the bottom of the posts, a square solid panel has been framed, with perforated holes in a decorative, curricular pattern. The northern facade is three bays wide, with a central cross gable on the third floor, decorated with a stick-style latticework over a window similar to those in the front dormers. First-floor windows are sheltered by small pent roofs. Between the second-floor windows are decorative framing panels in a diagonal cross pattern. The west facade is also three bays wide, and features a one-story polygonal bay window in the first floor south bay, entrances in the first-floor north bay and in the southern of the three dormer windows on the roof. This dormer door is accessed via a staircase which wraps around the south side of the house. The south facade, also three bays wide, features a cross gable in the east portion of the roof, a central dormer, and an exterior chimney. Below the cross gable is a polygonal bay window in the second story over a pent-roofed bay window below. The interior configuration of the house consists of a central hallway and staircase with double parlors on either side. Interior woodwork around windows and doors is executed in a heavy Eastlake style with large rounded trim at the outermost edge. It is in the scale of earlier Greek Revival moldings, measuring six inches wide. Doors are solid wood paneled and original. Baseboard moldings are of similar design and large scale. The first floor ceiling height is 9'-6". All doors on the ground floor entry hall are in their original location. In 1991, the house was moved 150 feet to preserve it from demolition. Changes made at that time or in later years include a small one-bay extension on the west facade, removal of the kitchen addition, conversion of one of the west dormers to a door to provide exterior access to third-floor room, and replacement of interior moldings which had been removed in the early-mid 20th century.
The residence at 8114 Carroll Avenue in Takoma Park is significant as an outstanding example of Stick Style domestic architecture, a style which was relatively rarely employed in a formerly rural context in Montgomery County. Constructed around the third quarter of the 19th century, it embodies the distinguishing characteristics of the Stick Style, including the exposed decorative framing elements at the roof peak, at the dormers, on the four exterior facades, and on the large front porch. It also possesses the wide veranda, large brackets, and steep roof associated with the style. The interior wood moldings remain intact around the large double front doors, walk-through windows on the front, and throughout all other windows and doors on the elevated three floors. Original wood flooring is still visible and in use in many of the rooms. The house retains a high degree of integrity, despite having been moved a short distance within the original property to avoid demolition in 1991. An attached summer kitchen was removed at that time to facilitate the relocation; otherwise, the house retains virtually all exterior and interior features and details of its original construction and design. The house derives additional significance from its association with education in Takoma Park an Montgomery County. From 1940 until 1987, it housed the well-known private "Cynthia Warner School," serving the educational needs of thousands of children of prominent Takoma Park families from elementary through the high school level. Richard Allan Warner, son of Cynthia Warner, who purchased the house in 1940, reports that his family discovered a date, 1855, when they removed an interior wall on the north side of the house. The date was inscribed by a craftsman marking a wall that was near what was the original kitchen. However, it is unclear how this inscription might relate to the existing house, which is clearly a fully realized example of the Stick Style, originated by William Morris Hunt in the 1860s. Architectural evidence suggests a construction date in the late 1870s, and this interpretation is supported by the sharp increase in the value of the property recorded in transactions between 1878-79. It is possible that the early date had survived on a reused piece of material. The Davis-Warner House is now used as a bed-and-breakfast inn, and named the Davis Warner Inn to commemorate both the Cynthia Warner ownership, the original property owner, John B. Davis, and the saviors and restorers of the property in the 1990s, Mark and Kira Davis.