Ithaca’s Argos Inn was honored by the Preservation League of New York State on May 10 during the League’s annual Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards. These awards recognize not only dedicated work to preserve and restore historic architecture, but also the adaptation and inclusion of sustainable features in the projects. Argos stands out in both categories.
The Argos Inn project is well-known in the community. Avi Smith (center, above), owner of Argos, was also the developer and designer for the project; he wanted to achieve the highest possible level of restoration and produce a project with real heart.
““The building has been given new life…” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League, in a press release about the event. “The restoration employed local artisans to restore or fabricate intricate architectural details that were lost or covered over – including more than a mile of millwork.”
That mile of millwork was created by Rev Members John Kingsley and Chelsey Kingsley (pictured together on the far right of the photo above) of Kingsley Quality Woodworking, Inc. The couple built the Argos’ new energy-efficient sunrooms, replaced the enormous pocket doors that can close off the bar area, and hand-turned all of the replacement staircase spindles – among other items.
“It was an incredibly special project. It was an invitation for all of us to bring out our best work.” says Chelsey Kingsley. “The space itself became a showcase for our work; every element is high-quality, so the finished project shows the care from every artisan. Avi knew that was important, and he didn’t skip any part of the process.”
John and Chelsey were able to accomplish these beautiful custom pieces thanks to their ability to bring both art and craft to a project, using skills not only from building, but from the arts.
“A skilled woodworker needs to be able to see the subtlety in the line and curve,” says Chelsey. “We’ve trained to have an eye for the artistic elements, and we care about helping clients find the right fit for their projects.”
Projects like this create a virtuous cycle in Ithaca: Avi can achieve a sensitive restoration project because he has skilled local tradespeople to work with, and businesses like Kingsley Woodworking can thrive in Ithaca because there are projects to sustain them.
Chelsey notes that the strong business community in Ithaca also supports their work. For example, Kingsley’s work can also be seen at Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, where they installed beautiful custom lockers that follow Rev’s hexagonal branding. Like Argos, the Kingsleys feel that the inclusion of their woodwork at Rev creates a warm touch that adds to the welcoming atmosphere of the space.
“It’s nice to create a beautiful piece for a project,” reflects Chelsey, “but it’s even more rewarding to work on a project that continues to contribute to the community long after the construction is complete. I love going to spaces around Ithaca, and feel proud to see my own work as a part of them.”
Congratulations to Avi, John, Chelsey, and the entire team of the Argos Inn project!
To stay up to date with great Member stories, events at Rev, and special news, sign up for our newsletter.