Classic Houses of the Week: 3 Very Different Homes in Historic Neighborhoods

Greensboro’s three historic districts are hot properties this spring. If you’re interested in a classic home in College Hill, Dunleath or Fisher Park, you better be ready to move fast. The most recent Dunleath listing, for example, 615 Percy Street, was on the market just two days before the owner accepted an offer.

Here are three of the best homes for sale now in Greensboro’s most historic neighborhoods.

107 S. Mendenhall Street,
College Hill Historic District

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This is the kind of appealingly quirky house that turns up every so often in historic neighborhoods. With its green terracotta tile roof, high-pitched gables and tile work, it’s a one-of-a-kind gem. It’s also surprisingly large, 3,300 square feet; priced at $369,900, that comes out to a pretty modest $122 per square foot (its 0.43 acre lot also is relatively large for old neighborhoods). It has five bedrooms, three bathrooms and a lower level that could be an in-law suite.

The 1922 house has been thoroughly renovated since it was bought out of foreclosure in 2014 — a new master suite on the first floor with a walk-in closet, new bathrooms and kitchen, a hot tub in the garden. It’s for sale by owner, effective last weekend.

Relatively few homes went on the market in College Hill last year, and there have been only a few again this spring. For a spacious, distinctive home that needs no work at all, 107 S. Mendenhall is an unusual, maybe rare, find.

zillow.com listing

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207 E. Hendrix Street,
Fisher Park Historic District

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In Fisher Park, far more homes have come up for sale recently, and they’re moving fast. Six homes have gone on the market in the neighborhood this year; five had sales pending within 10 days.

The other one is 207 E. Hendrix Street, which has been dawdling on the market for almost a month. The 1919 bungalow has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,868 square feet. It’s on the market for $349,900. At a healthy $187 per square foot, it’s priced near the top of the current range in Fisher Park. Still, it’s in pristine condition on a gorgeous street in the heart of Fisher Park.

The downstairs is remarkably open for a house of its age. The kitchen and bathrooms have been renovated. There’s a small building in the back that could be used as an office or workshop. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s a classic house in one of Greensboro’s most popular neighborhoods.

realtor.com listing

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805 5th Avenue,
Historic Dunleath

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805 5th Avenue is a grand old house, built in 1900. Bought 18 months ago to be renovated and sold, it’s now on the market for $274,900. It has four bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms, 2,592 square feet. That’s just $116 per square foot.

Like 207 E. Hendrix, it has a surprisingly open first floor, and the kitchen and bathrooms have been updated well. It’s considerably larger, though, and significantly less expensive. You get a lot more house for the money in Dunleath, and 805 Fifth is a good example.

The house is in the Dunleath neighborhood but sits just outside the boundary of the local historic district. It has been for sale for two months. [Update: Within an hour of publishing this post, I got word that 805 5th Avenue is now under contract.]

realtor.com listing

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Open House: Come Visit Hillside, the Julian Price House, and See Its Dazzling Restoration

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Hillside, unlike the other houses on this website, isn’t actually for sale. Its owners, Michael and Eric Fuko-Rizzo, bought the decrepit Fisher Park landmark in 2016 for $415,000. As they’ve invested what must be a breathtaking amount into resuscitating it, the project has gained a national following. Their determination and patience have been heroic, and the results are spectacular.

Over the past 18 months, Hillside, the Julian Price House, has been transformed from a head-shaking state of decay into a Designer Showhouse. Daily through Sunday April 29, you can visit the house and see Greensboro’s most dramatic historic-home rescue. The address is 301 Fisher Park Circle. Tickets for self-guided tours are $35 and are designated for specific time periods (10 a.m. to noon, noon to 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.). Also, Michael and Eric lead a small-group tour daily at 5 p.m. ($75).

Hillside has become nationally known since the house and its previous owner were featured on the A&E Network’s “Hoarders” in January 2017 (click here to see it; you’ll have to log in with a cable customer account). The home’s Facebook page has 28,000 followers. The showhouse opened last weekend, and visitors have come from as far away as Arizona, Michigan, New York and Florida.

Eighteen designers were recruited from around the country, including the renowned Bunny Williams of New York, prominent local designers and a team of interior design students from UNCG. Built in 1929, the home has 31 rooms and 7,200 square feet of space. It was built by Julian and Ethel Price and designed by Charles C. Hartmann, whom Julian Price persuaded to move to Greensboro to design the Jefferson-Standard building for him. The house is unusually linear, one room deep essentially from the veranda and sun parlor on one end to the kitchen and solarium on the other. The layout gives the house an unexpectedly intimate atmosphere as one room flows into the next.

The restoration has brought out a wealth of historic detail. The drawing-room ceiling and fireplace surround are almost works of art in themselves. The elegant light fixture over the curving staircase, originally from the home of Ethel Price’s mother in France, exemplifies the glamor of the period. The bathrooms have their original tile and fixtures, the original door and window hardware has been strikingly cleaned, and the ceramic-tile roof was hand-cleaned by one of the owners. Even the tiny telephone closet off the entry foyer has been given a high-style makeover.

The Tudor Revival home is a landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a Guilford County landmark. After the tours end on April 29, Hillside will become the home of Michael and Eric and their three-year-old twin daughters.

The showhouse benefits Preservation Greensboro, which, through the Preservation Greensboro Development Fund, was instrumental in saving the home from demolition. Local designer Linda Lane, a member of Preservation Greensboro’s board, was project manager.

Photos are from the Hillside Facebook page, except for the drawing room and the roof.

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Louise Price Parsons, the last member of the Price to live in Hillside, with homeowners Michael (left) and Eric Fuko-Rizzo

 

Muntins & Mullions, Pilasters & Quoins: Every Part of Your House, No Matter How Obscure, Has a Name

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U.S. Department of Commerce, 1931, via the invaluable inspectapedia.com

Preservationists, architects and old-house experts often seem to be speaking a foreign language. They’re full of observations about fascia, frieze boards, fanlighs, and other things the rest of us have trouble even spelling, much less remembering and looking up later. Don’t feel bad — experts use such words every day, while the rest of us don’t even know that the things they describe have names.

But they do have names, and there’s no better example of the infinite capacity of the English language to create or absorb words than than the innumerable parts of houses, especially old ones. Thanks to the internet and its infinite capacity to store obscure information, we can all learn what those words mean.

The Online Resources page now includes links to a number of sources providing glossaries, dictionaries and other lists of terms. Specifically:

There are at least 15 types of roofs, including gambrel, cross hipped and jerkinhead. Old House Online has a page on doors with a dozen terms for parts and styles of doors (and doesn’t even mention barn doors, which are popular now, French doors* or pocket doors). We all know what porches are, but what about arbors, gazebos, patios, pavilions and pergolas? We could talk all day about siding terminology.

Just about any old-house term you can remember to look up will be found in at least one of these links. Or try Wikipedia, also very helpful (and deserving of your financial support, by the way — somebody has to pay for all those servers or routers or whatever they are).

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* The French term for “French door” is “porte-fenêtre” — door-window. It’s too bad all these terms can’t be so self-explanatory.

Classic Homes of the Week: 2 Mid-Century Modern Houses at Opposite Ends of the Price Spectrum

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1611 Longfellow Street in O. Henry Oaks, a modest little Mid-Century Modern classic

Most people tend to think of Mid-Century Modern as a high-end home style with exalted prices, found in exclusive neighborhoods like Irving Park and Hamilton Lakes. That’s often true, but not always. Two mid-century modern homes have come up for sale in Greensboro recently, and one does fit that profile. The other certainly doesn’t.

Every now and then you find a smaller, more basic Mid-Century Modern home in an affordable neighborhood. 1611 Longfellow Drive is an excellent example. Built in 1956, it has three bedrooms and one and a half bathrooms, 1,175 square feet. It came on the market at $89,900, $77 per square foot, last week (the day after I posted a blog entry about classic starter homes — this would have been a great one to include). It’s in O. Henry Oaks in east Greensboro, a nice 1950s neighborhood of brick homes.

It has the classic mid-century look — horizontal, angular, unadorned (look at those floors, though) — but it’s simpler architecturally and smaller than the high-end masterpieces that get so much attention (well deserved). The N.C. Modernist website suggests the design may have come from a plan book.

It’s by far the most interesting house for sale under $100,000 right now.

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Meanwhile, in another part of town …

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105 Falkener Drive in Hamilton Lakes, the rich cousin of 1611 Longfellow

… there’s 105 Falkener Drive in Hamilton Lakes, also relatively new on the market. It’s priced at $357,000. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms — not that much different from 1611 Longfellow, so far — but more than twice the size (2,574 square feet) and on a much larger, wooded lot. Built in 1958, it started out as a more luxurious house, and it’s been suitably renovated by the current owners. As high-end homes go, it’s a good buy at $137 per square foot.

Mid-Century Modern is not for everyone. A lot of people don’t find it especially comfortable, cozy or homey. It’s an aesthetic for people who think in terms of aesthetics. That’s why there were thousands of brick ranches and split-levels built in the ’50s and ’60s for every Mid-Century home. But if the style suits you, Greensboro is a good place to find it, and not just at the high end.

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Greensboro’s Views Reflect National Shift Toward Walkable, Mixed-Use Neighborhoods

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Greensboro’s older neighborhoods are very popular. That’s easy to see from the prices their homes sell for and, in many cases, how quickly they sell. As part of its update of the city’s comprehensive plan, the Greensboro Planning Department commissioned a survey that at least partly tells why: A lot of people like walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods. That description that matches Fisher Park, College Hill, Lindley Park, Sunset Hills, the Asheboro Community, Glenwood and other older neighborhoods where stores, churches, parks, apartments, etc., exist amid the houses.

Background on the survey from Sue Schwartz, city planning director:

The National Association of Realtors conducts a biannual Community and Transportation Preference Survey in the 50 largest U.S. cities, most recently in 2017. Recently, the surveys have shown a strong shift favoring walkable, mixed-use communities. To see whether that’s true here, the Planning Department teamed with Nick Scarci of the Greater Greensboro Realtors Association and received a grant from NAR to conduct the same survey on the local level (methodology below).  This is the first time the NAR has done a survey for an individual city, so way to go, Sue Schwartz.

Walkable Neighborhoods and Quality of Life

If you love colorful charts and graphs, click here to see the results (PDF). Some notable findings:

  • In general, people in Greensboro are very satisfied with their quality of life. The vast majority (9 in 10) of residents are either very or somewhat satisfied, with nearly half of all residents saying they are very satisfied.
    • These satisfaction numbers are higher than for Americans in the top 50 MSAs, especially when it comes to being very satisfied: 46 percent are very satisfied in Greensboro compared to 37 percent in metropolitan areas throughout the country.
  • The more walkable the neighborhood, the more satisfied residents are with their quality of life (see chart above).
  • Over half of Greensboro residents prefer homes in walkable neighborhoods with small yards.
  • Three-quarters of Greensboro residents live in houses – attached or detached – compared to two-thirds in the top 50 MSAs.

[Editorial comment: Greensboro’s home-ownership rate of 50 percent is well below the national average of 63 percent, suggesting more renters in Greensboro than other cities rent houses rather than apartments. And that probably makes buying a less expensive or starter home here even more difficult than it tends to be anyway.]

  • While Greensboro residents echo the national results in their top priorities, certain elements are much more important to people here.
    • Two-thirds say sidewalks and places to take walks are very important in deciding where to live, compared to half of national respondents.
    • Being close to highways and within a short commute to work is also very important to over half of Greensboro residents.
  • Older Greensboro residents (Gen Xers and Boomers) are more likely to prefer homes with smaller yards and more walkable neighborhoods.
  • Millennials are split in their preference between such neighborhoods and those with larger yards and more driving.
  • Women and those without kids at home are more likely to prefer small yards in walkable neighborhoods. Men and those with kids at home are split.
  • There are also a lot of good data about transportation, mass transit, etc., which is another matter entirely.

American Strategies, the firm that does the national survey, conducted Greensboro’s. It was done from November 13-20, 2017, and reached 410 adult residents of Greensboro, ages 18 or older. The city’s Planning Department will use the data in the update of Connections 2015, Greensboro’s comprehensive plan.

Update on 111 Arden Place: BB&T Is Preparing to Put Edgewood Up For Sale

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Information from attorney Craig Taylor, immediate past president of Preservation Greensboro:

“On Monday I spoke to a person in BB&T’s bank-owned properties group about 111 Arden Place. As I suspected, the house was involved in a complicated legal situation, and BB&T has been working to satisfy all the creditors who had lien rights on the house. Apparently that process is almost complete.

“In the next week or so, the property will be transferred into the inventory of the asset resolution group. This group will engage a local real estate agent and other professionals to inspect the property and determine a marketing plan. The BB&T representative said they are very aware of the high profile nature of this property and that they already have a significant list of BB&T clients who want to be notified when the house goes on the market. She was not in a position to comment on how they would market the property since the process has not fully begun.”

If you’re coming in late on this, Edgewood is a 5,200 square-foot stone mansion, built in 1915 on 2.26 acres in Sunset Hills. BB&T bought it in a foreclosure auction in January for $770,000. The tax value of the property is just over $1 million. In 1999, the last time it was sold before foreclosure last year, the price was $845,000. It apparently needs a lot of work.

If you’re interested in buying Edgewood, get ready to move fast.

Classic House of the Week: A 1946 Bungalow in Dunleath, $119,900, and Other Starter Homes

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818 Fifth Avenue in Dunleath, a 1946 bungalow for $119,900

Not every classic home is expensive. Older homes that could be considered starter homes come on the market often. The tough part is getting them before Greensboro’s voracious landlords can grab them. Starter homes have been in especially high demand so far this year.

818 Fifth Avenue in Dunleath is a good example of a classic starter home. Built in 1946, it’s a bungalow with a picket fence, located just outside the Dunleath historic district. Two bedrooms, one bath, 850 square feet, $199,900 ($141/square foot). The photos with the listing suggest that it’s move-in ready (the quality of the photos themselves isn’t very good; click here to see them). It offers the typical kinds of positives and negatives that a buyer might have to balance in a starter home: good location but quite small, nice neighborhood but only one bathroom, doesn’t appear to need work (pending an inspection), but no garage, etc.

It’s been for sale for almost two weeks. I wouldn’t expect it to be available very long. Here are some more starter homes that have been listed since the first of the year.

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1521 Rankin Road

  • $115,900
  • 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1,359 square feet, 0.7 acre lot
  • Price/square foot: $85
  • Built in 1941
  • Listed March 20, 2018
  • Last sale: $100,000, May 2000
  • Neighborhood: Rankin
  • Nice house, nice neighborhood. Has a two-car detached garage.

Some of the best currently available older starter homes are outside Greensboro:

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715 Burlington Avenue, Gibsonville

  • $135,000 (originally listed at $138,500)
  • 2 bedrooms, 1 bathrooms, 1,361 square feet, 3.06 acres
  • Price/square foot: $99
  • Built in 1927
  • Listed February 1, 2018
  • Last sale: $98,500, April 2001
  • A little more expensive but considerably cheaper on a square-foot basis — a bigger house and a way-bigger, three-acre lot. It’s in the Alamance County section of Gibsonville.

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5737 Chrismon Road, Browns Summit

  • $119,900 (originally listed at $129,900)
  • 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, 2,156 square feet, 1.36 acres
  • Price/square foot: $60
  • Built in 1928
  • Listed February 14, 2018
  • Last sale: $150,000, July 2008
  • Again, more for your money inside and out (two and a half bathrooms — whoa). As you look at the interior, remember that painting a room (or two) is relatively easy.

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500 Spur Road

  • $105,000 (originally listed at $95,000 … supply and demand)
  • 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1,405 square feet, 0.83 acre
  • Price/square foot: $75
  • Built in 1938
  • Listed January 15, 2018
  • Last sale: $39,000, March 2011
  • Just southeast of Greensboro off Pleasant Garden Road.

Classic House of the Week: Let’s Take a Road Trip to Glencoe Mill Village This Saturday

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2440 Glencoe Street, $278,000: An elegantly restored Glencoe mill house

Glencoe Mill Village is a little gem on the Haw River just north of Burlington. Built in the 1880s, it has been beautifully restored to life. Its 30-some houses comprise one of the most intact mill villages still standing in North Carolina. The houses themselves have been renovated and in many cases sensitively expanded.

Saturday will be a good day to visit Glencoe: Four homes are currently on the market, and three will have open houses. Realtors with listings in the village join together to hold open houses one Saturday per month. Take N.C. 62 north from downtown Burlington, and Glencoe is about three miles up the road at the Haw River.

2440 Glencoe Street, which will be open Saturday, is a excellent example of the village’s restored homes. For sale at $278,000 ($133/square foot), it has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and 2,090 square feet. The original mill house was typical — two rooms downstairs and two upstairs. A kitchen was added about 30 years later as a rear ell; it has been brilliantly redesigned. The home’s features include its original heart-pine flooring, exposed-beam ceilings, track lighting and wide-plank walls and ceilings.

A porch along the kitchen has been turned into a bright hallway that connects back to the original detached kitchen (one of the few still existing in Glencoe). The kitchen has been renovated to serve as a bedroom or den; the current owner has her loom there. The washer and dryer are tucked away in the hallway. A screened-in porch at the side leads to an additional bedroom at the back. The lot is a spacious 0.31 acre.

It’s hard to imagine a more elegantly restored mill house.

About 250 people lived in Glencoe at its peak. After the mill closed in 1954, the village’s population dwindled, and it deteriorated badly. In 1997 Preservation North Carolina bought it with a gift from Sarah Rhyne, a part-owner of the property. The organization joined with Burlington and Alamance County to restore Glencoe. It’s now on the National Register of Historic Places; it’s also an Alamance County historic landmark and a Burlington historic district (it’s not actually in the city, but it is within Burlington’s zoning jurisdiction).

The beautiful Haw River Trail runs along the south side of the village and includes a paddle access point at the mill. Glencoe has a peaceful, isolated feel to it, but it’s only 15 minutes to downtown Burlington.

Like any distinctive, historic neighborhood, Glencoe isn’t for everyone. Its quiet and character are far from typical. Consistent with the history of the village, there are no garages or fences, sidewalks or curbs. Ownership of a historic home is really stewardship in a way; it carries responsibilities. The houses themselves tend to have quirks. Their original stairs up to the second floor are almost comically steep.

The owner of 2440 Glencoe Street, along with her late husband, was one of Glencoe’s pioneers in the late ’90s. Twenty years later, like some of the other residents who did such remarkable work restoring the mill houses, she’s ready to leave for a smaller home. There’s room for a new generation in Glencoe.

Real estate listing: 2440 Glencoe Street
Preservation North Carolina for-sale listings for Glencoe

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Housing Summit 2018: Housing Builds Our Economy

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From the Greensboro Housing Coalition:

Deteriorating neighborhoods and lack of affordable stable housing negatively impact education, economic development, and the quality of life we all want. About one in every four Greensboro households is struggling to have a place to live. Some are on the streets, some in homeless shelters. More are “staying” in crowded spaces with friends or relatives. Most of those struggling households that do have homes are paying more than a third of their meager incomes to rent places that sometimes make them sick.

Our annual housing summit builds momentum around the vision of safe affordable housing. We come together annually to educate and inspire. And we challenge each other to substantially increase housing options (policy changes and increased resources for repairing and building different kinds of apartments and houses), to support people accessing and maintaining housing (such as tenant education and rental assistance), and to promote collaboration among leadership. We all come together to transform community knowledge and attitudes to support affordable housing.

This year’s speakers:

  • Gov. Parris Glendening, president of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute and the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, and former governor of Maryland;
  • Hershel Lipow, community relations expert in the Compliance and Community Affairs Department of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; and
  • Dr. Jeremy Bray, chair of the Department of Economics at the UNCG Bryan School of Business and Economics.
  • The moderator will be Jeff Thigpen, Guilford County register of deeds.

The summit brings together the Greensboro Housing Coalition, City of Greensboro, HUD, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and other organizations.

Click here for more information or to register.

On March 1, Come Meet the Designers Who Will Give Hillside Mansion Its Ultimate Makeover

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Twenty-five designers will converge on Hillside, the Julian Price House, in March to turn it into a designer showhouse.

Meet the Designers
Hillside Mansion, 301 Fisher Park Circle
Thursday, March 1, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Tickets, $50

The Julian Price House is almost all the way home on its long journey from being featured on “Hoarders” to becoming a Designer Showhouse for three weeks in April.  Once threatened with destruction, historic Hillside will receive a luxurious makeover in March by 25 designers from New York, Dallas and other cities, including Greensboro.

You’re invited to celebrate this milestone, meet some of the designers and hear first-hand about their plans. The home will host a “Meet the Designers” event Thursday March 1, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Ticket sales will benefit Preservation Greensboro.

Tickets are $50. A limited number are still available. Click here to buy tickets and for more information.