Built sometime just before 1875, the Tatem House served as a residence and commercial space for a series of iron foundries, the most significant and longest lasting of which was the Tatem Foundry, one of two major ironworks in the area. This two story stone structure’s utilitarian purpose fitted well with the Italianate design features provided by the original builders.
When Joe Hrella and David Brown, owners of Hair-Hair Salon and Spa, the business now occupying the Tatem House, needed more room, they consulted with the Helena/Lewis & Clark County Historic Preservation Commission and the State Historic Preservation Office in developing an appropriate addition design.
They examined historic photographs and maps to determine how the building looked over time.
A brick dependency was discovered to have been where the addition was planned and elements of this building along with features once used in the foundry building across the street were incorporated into the new design.
Features used in historic homes once on the site were also used. The combination structure appears as multiple buildings, rather than one large addition, and the final effect is one of contemporary design employing elements of the past while not copying them.
The addition is visually separated from the historic Tatem House by a glass entry. The brickwork, traditional windows, narrow siding, dormers and gable roof add to the scene, creating a modern architectural statement with manifold expressions relating to heritage.
Today’s Tatem House is not the smoky foundry of yesterday. Instead of coal fires, soot and noise, Hair-Hair Salon and Spa is a place of quiet, with soothing aromas and comforting coffee. The historic building’s atmosphere couldn’t be more stress-free. It takes vision and skill to create a unique place like this. The owners of Hair-Hair deserve recognition for their vision in working with this historic building and their commitment to the heritage of Helena cannot be denied. Please join me in congratulating Joe and David for undertaking this fine project.