Corrections or additions?

This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the January 11, 2006

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Real Estate Notes

To take a visitor on the "Houses of the Rich and Famous" tour of

Princeton would require visiting more than a dozen houses, four of

them once occupied by the man who was elected the nation’s 28th

president, Woodrow Wilson. One of them, 82 Library Place, is now owned

by long-time Woodrow Wilson fan Robert Carr, and his wife Jill.

Bob Carr is the CEO of Heartland Payment Systems, which went public

last year and has just expanded into new space at 90 Nassau Street

(see story, page 42). Recently the couple made personal headlines by

endowing Princeton Day School with an $11 million scholarship fund,

the largest scholarship donation ever given by a living donor to a

similar coed day school. The endowment is meant to cover tuition and

expenses for three financially needy children in each grade.

The Carrs also opened their home last year for a fundraising tour

sponsored by the Historical Society of Princeton.

The history of 82 Library Place: A graduate of Princeton University,

with a law degree at the University of Virginia and a PhD from Johns

Hopkins, Woodrow Wilson returned to Princeton teach in 1889. At first

he and his wife, Ellen, lived at 72 Library Place, built by architect

Charles Steadman. He commissioned Edward S. Child to design the Tudor

Revival house at 82 Library Place and they moved there in 1896. In

1902, when he became president of the university, the couple lived at

Prospect House. In 1910 Wilson ran for governor, and won. When he left

Princeton in 1913 to occupy the White House, the Wilsons were living

in rented quarters at 25 Cleveland Lane.

In 1988 82 Library Place sold for $1,350,000, and in 1995 for

$1,250,000. Represented by Betsy Sayen of Peyton Associates Realtors

in Pennington, the Carrs bought the house from the estate of Charles

and Anya Yates (who had died in a tragic plane accident) for $2.2

million in 2003.

Architect Ronald Berlin, based on Nassau Street, is working with Judie

Cochran Nemeth, an interior designer, on the complicated restoration

project done by Baxter Construction. In the foyer, for instance,

carpenters removed and refinished both the 1,600-board wooden ceiling

and the millwork on the walls, and then they replicated it in the

hallways and up the stairs – a job that required impeccable

craftsmanship.

Nemeth had been introduced to the Carrs because her brochures had been

distributed by Kathy Nemeth, her sister-in-law, at Peyton’s Pennington

branch. "Kathy’s office had some handouts from me," says Nemeth, "and

since then the Carrs have been wonderful clients." She started out

with their previous house on Lover’s Lane and has found, naturally

enough, that the Library Place house is a dream job.

"Bob has always been a huge fan of Woodrow Wilson, so this was like

heaven," says Nemeth, noting that Carr has acquired 69 volumes of the

Wilson papers. "He was the one who told us a lot of the history about

the house." A native of Lawrenceville, Nemeth’s father had worked as a

salesperson but had a serious interest in architecture and had built a

Frank Lloyd Wright-like shore house.

"I had known since I was a kid that I wanted to be in interior

design," says Nemeth. A fixer-upper in Hopewell was her first big

interior design project. She earned her degree at the College of New

Jersey which, at that time, had an accredited interior design

four-year program. Her first job was with the architectural firm,

CUH2A, and then she opened her own practice. Now she lives and works

in Lawrenceville and has two adult children.

Nemeth also was a consultant on Carr’s Heartland Payments office at 90

Nassau Street (furnished by Randi Koss of ICI). She recommended artist

Eleanor Hoyt Voorhees for both the mural in the Carrs’ dining room and

the one in the office.

Voorhees grew up in Bridgewater, where her father was a hospital

executive and her mother was a nurse. After attending the University

of Delaware, Class of 1994, she studied in Italy and opened a studio

at her home in Lambertville (www.ev-studio.com or 908-399-4449), where

she specializes in commissioned murals.

For the Wilson house dining room, Voorhees was commissioned to paint a

monochromatic landscape mural, referring to sites that the Wilsons

might have seen when they lived in Princeton. "Bob Carr gave me the

names of some buildings and told me that Ellen Wilson was a

professional painter," says Voorhees. She incorporated elements of

Ellen Wilson’s style into three different landscapes that wrap around

the dining room.

The Carrs and their children and their dogs (their favorites are

beagles and golden retrievers) carry on their lives in the middle of

the construction. The downstairs rooms are essentially complete, but

work continues on the second and third floor. For now, construction

vehicles clog the circular drive like ants drawn to sugar. But the

Carrs have a historically significant target date for completion:

December 28, 2006, is the sesquicentennial of Woodrow Wilson’s birth.

Baxter Construction Inc., 32 Nassau Street, Princeton 08542;

609-924-9263; fax, 609-924-9257. Jim Baxter, president. Home page:

www.BaxterConstruction.com

Ronald Berlin, Architect, 360 Nassau Street, Second Floor, Princeton

08540; 609-921-1800; fax, 609-921-8484.

Judie Nemeth Interiors, 12 Village Court, Lawrenceville 08648;

609-896-9424; fax, 609-896-9518. E-mail: judie@nemeth.us.


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