Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tour a Historic Former Farmhouse...For Sale!

My amazing friend, Mary, lives in an equally amazing historic house in Raleigh, NC. There are lots of fabulous aspects to Mary's house--hand hewn walls, heart pine floors, hand carved railings, two brick patios, two covered porches, a zillion fireplaces, stone rubble chimneys, a fish pond with a waterfall, enough beadboard to make a cottage devotee's head spin, a great chef's kitchen--but one of the coolest aspects of Mary's house is that it's FOR SALE! If you can picture yourself baking pumpkin bread in the kitchen or wiling away lazy hours in the hammock, visit the link at the end of the post for more info. This is one very special house, folks--extensively renovated, but still retaining lots of the distinctive architectural features, it's a perfect mix of old and new. (Most photos will open larger if you click on them.)

Listed in The Historic Architecture of Wake County, North Carolina, the original structure, known as the Hillary Thompson Home, was built around1830 by the cousin of a North Carolina State Senator. The homestead was later sold to the Adams family. No, not that Adams family, silly! This Adams family. If they look uuber serious in the photo, it's just because they knew that their property was seriously cool.

Here's a photo of the house today. You can see the original portion on the right; the wing on the left (difficult to see in the photo because of the lighting) was added in the 1970's, bringing the square footage of the main house to 3641 square feet not including the extra 521 square foot finished bonus room over the detached garage!

I'll take you in through the side gate; that's the way all Mary's friends and family enter the house. Pass through the gate in the white picket fence and you'll see this peaceful fish pond complete with trickling waterfall.

Next you'll come to one of two covered porches. The door in the photo is the original front door of the house--now no longer in use.

Mary calls this room "the log cabin room", and for good reason: when the house was first built in 1830, this room was the house. Check out the ceiling beams, which are hand-hewn, and the tongue & groove oak floors. The art on the walls includes Mary's original work.

The dining room is one of my favorite rooms...and not just because I associate it with Mary's fabulous roasted vegetable fajitas! I love the simplicity of this room, the soaring ceiling juxtaposed with the weight of that great stone fireplace, which Mary says is perfect for cozy family dinners in the winter. She says that she searched high and low before finding the long trestle table, which is a solid pine reproduction of an Amish design. The windows look out onto one of two charming brick patios.

The remodeled kitchen is a chef's dream. Check out those gorgeous granite counters, birch cabinets, and stainless appliances. If you enlarge the photo you'll get a better look at details like the tile backsplash and glass-front cabinets. Mary had it custom designed with lots of fabulous gourmet features like a pull-out pantry, pull out cutting boards, a double oven, a five burner gas stove, a warming drawer, a high powered fan, a microwave that doubles as a convection oven, a wide, deep sink for washing roasting pans, and storage systems that utilize otherwise "dead" space in corner cabinets.

Situated as it is right next to the spacious dining room, this kitchen can handle cooking for a crowd and is great for entertaining. I love the use of drawers in place of lower cabinets. Oh, and I love the cup pulls. Cup pulls always get my vote. I brake for cup pulls.

Here's another shot looking directly into the kitchen so you can see what a perfect, tucked in space it is. I love that the kitchen has its own distinct roofline.

The living room features heart pine floors, depression glass windows, and...what's that? Another fireplace!? That's three so far!

These stairs with hand-carved rails lead up to the master suite.

I love this serene, private master bedroom. Check out those gleaming floors! Be still my heart. And yes, yet another fireplace. Click the photo to see the wall and ceiling woodwork in more detail. This room overlooks the pond, and Mary says that in the warm months you can hear the trickle of the waterfall and the courting frogs and crooning crickets at night. Sigh.

The master bath has been completely renovated, but details like these pretty dual pedestal sinks and the beadboard keep it in character with the rest of the house. Within the master suite, there's also a separate walk in closet/dressing room, a cedar closet, and a small craft space.

Now we'll head back downstairs and explore the guest wing of the house. From the kitchen, we'll pass through this bright breezeway sun room...

Which offers a lovely view of not one, but two brick patios. Have a look at this one. That arbor is covered in sweet, fragrant jasmine.

Added later, the guest wing features a laundry room, three more bedrooms with beadboard (two downstairs, one up), two more full bathrooms...

And this fantastic space, which could be a private guest sitting room, a playroom for a family with small kids, or a teen lounge for a family with older kids. And, yes, there's the fifth fireplace.

But wait! There's more! There's this huge, fenced backyard (just one part of the 2.4 acre property). The yard includes raised beds where Mary has grown corn, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, eggplants, peppers, potatoes, squash, pumpkins, asparagus, broccoli, cucumbers & herbs.

Flowers flourish here too. Mary is one of those people who almost always sets the table with a vase of fresh cut flowers from her garden.

Wildlife visitors include deer, geese, possums, raccoons, squirrels, box turtles, woodchucks, and a bevy of backyard birds including owls, hawks, and hummingbirds. Butterflies love the gardens too, of course. For those of you from out of state, let me be the first to tell you that NC is home to some truly lovely butterflies.

Once, a neighbor's horse even stopped by unexpectedly for a drink.

And there's that shady hammock that I mentioned before, with your name on it!

There's a peaceful covered front porch.

And, of course, that quintessential Southern front porch must-have item: the porch swing!

There's so much more that I haven't even shown you here:

*One more full bath and 2 more half baths
*Another bedroom
*Another brick patio
*A detached, two car garage with a huge (521 square foot) heated and cooled bonus room (plus half bath) above it. This would be the perfect space for a home office, an art studio, or another guest suite.
*A craft nook
*Beautiful Falls Lake, which is just an easy walk away
*When you need a break from the peace and quiet, Downtown Raleigh is a short 15 mile drive, and it's a quick shot to Research Triangle Park and RDU Airport via 1-540.

If this amazing property makes your heart skip a beat but you live in some faraway, expensive land like New York, Boston, or San Francisco where you'll pay a zillion dollars to live in a matchbox, I invite you to visit the Realtor's link below to see how much further your money will go in the lovely state of North Carolina.

My family and friends tease me about my ongoing campaign to get everyone I know (and even some people I don't know) to move to North Carolina, but honestly, it really is a wonderful place to live.

Link To More Information About The Hillary Thompson Home

This post has been linked to Hooked on House Tours--Fall Edition, at Hooked on Houses and Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer.