Selma’s house is a typical wood-framed colonial home, once clad at the exterior with wood shingles but now in vinyl siding. The house is significant because it is located next to the former home of famed jazz musician, Louis Armstrong, and which is now a museum. Selma Heraldo was a close friend of the Armstrong’s, often even traveling with them when Louis went on tour around the United States. After the passing of both of the Armstrong’s and the transformation of their home into a house museum, Selma remained intimately involved in the association. In her will, she donated her house to the Louis Armstrong House Museum, with the intent to provide support space for the organization. Selma was born in this house and passed in this house as well.

The interior of Selma’s House remains nearly untouched from the day she passed. A deteriorating pressed tin ceiling can be found in the kitchen, historic light fixtures intact throughout, and a cast iron free standing tub in the single bathroom.

CTA is adapting the interior of Selma’s House to better suit the needs of the growing organization and adding ADA accessibility into the house, throughout the first floor, and into the rear yard for garden parties. A new ADA compliant bathroom is required on the first floor. The existing kitchen will be reconfigured to accommodate the needs of a caterer, providing warming drawings and ample counter space for prepping food.

Due to code requirements for changing the use of the house from residential to offices, a sprinkler system will have to be installed. Also, all of the exterior walls need to be retrofitted with fireproof insulation. This will be achieved by removing the interior plaster, installing insulation from the interior, and installing new interior gypsum board wall finish. All interior moldings and window surrounds removed during this process will be reinstalled or replaced in-kind. All carpet will be removed and existing hardwood restored.

ADA accessibility has been the biggest challenge at Selma’s House because the public sidewalk is about 6’-6” below the finished first floor level. To accommodate ADA access into the house, a ramp over 72 feet long would be required. Because of site and monetary constraints, this is not possible, and a variation is being requested to use a sidewalk lift at the side of the house to provide accessibility into the first floor of the house.


Project Name: Louis Armstrong House Museum Administrative Building (aka Selma’s House)

Project Address: 34-52 107th Street, Corona, Queens

Owner: owned by CUNY, operated by Louis Armstrong House Museum