This month, we feature Gary and Beth Ellsworth of 14 Furches Street:
“We have been residents of University Park for just over and year and could not be any happier with our decision. We chose the area for the proximity to everything, the amazing elementary school and the character of all the older homes. We have become fast friends with many neighbors and love that our kids can walk to school together and there is always someone up for an impromptu weekend cookout. We love the history in our home, the Raleigh stone fireplace, original hardwoods, beautiful trim work and crystal doorknobs are just a few features that had us hooked from the moment we walked in. We were fortunate to find a home situated on a double lot and we are enjoying transforming the yard into a cottage garden where our children love to play.”
Jonathan and Michelle McWhinney of 2713 Bedford Ave. are featured for June’s Home of the Month! Michelle tells why she loves living in University Park:
Jonathan and I moved to Raleigh from San Francisco in 2013 as we were beginning our family. We actually bought our first house in this neighborhood sight unseen while we were still living in San Francisco. Proximity to good schools, Cameron Village, and all the great parks nearby made University Park the perfect choice for us. We loved it so much that when we were ready for a little more space, we didn’t move far. We bought the house directly across the street! We already knew we loved the location and our neighbors. The house at 2713 Bedford Ave. had exactly what we were looking for. It offered more square footage, an amazing lot, a beautiful backyard, and the character of an older established home we love.
The home was built in 1937. In fact, at one time, the Raleigh city limits ran right through the front yard. The previous owners, whose family had the home for approximately 48 years, added on to the original house in 2002. They put in a lovely screen porch, master suite and expanded the kitchen. The lot is nearly a half an acre, and we love our little oasis inside the beltline. The backyard is protected by mature oak trees and lush landscape. There is a beautiful fish pond in the back yard that has been here so long, we were told Fred Olds himself donated some of the first fish.
University Park is such a great place to live, providing many of the big city amenities we enjoy while offering a serene, peaceful environment. We love living in Raleigh, especially University Park, and it would be difficult to imagine living anywhere else.
Radu and I are both NCSU graduates and have always loved the University Park area of Raleigh. When I was still in school, we were living in a townhouse in Durham and I would be one of those annoying college students that would drive down Brooks, park off Clark and walk to my classes. I remember driving by the three homes right off of Brooks and Wade as they were being built and thinking “one day I want to live in a place like that in a neighborhood like this”; something that seemed quite out of reach for a poor student in her 9th year of college/graduate school!
Fast forward several years, Radu and I were living in Cary in a small ranch with our 2 year old daughter and were ready to expand and find what we hope to be our forever home. There was no doubt about the location, University Park! We found this beautiful lot, surrounded with trees on a gravel road and were SOLD.
The builder had plans for a 3 level larger home, but we wanted to build a craftsman-style home that was smaller and fit the historic area. Luckily we were able to take on a completely custom design build, which is a blessing and curse when you are faced with all the decisions! In my excitement, before breaking ground, I bought the first item for our home: a free-standing bath tub (our builder thought I was crazy)!
We designed our floorplan to fit a growing family and to maximize all space as daily usable area. Our downstairs was designed as a shotgun style living, kitchen, and open dining area to keep the family and guests together and to make entertaining easy.
Some of the finishing touches I love the most are the built-ins in the living, dining and mudroom areas and also the open reclaimed wood shelving in the kitchen and living areas. Wood ceiling fans, crown moulding, large baseboards and wainscoting were additional features that we HAD to have to give this house the Arts and Crafts feel that we were looking for.
We have now been in our home for a year and a half, grown to a family of four and could not enjoy our home and the neighborhood it resides in more than we do! We love to sit on our porch (when the kids allow it) and say hi to the people that walk down the gravel road, take walks to Isabella Park and the Rose Garden and also I am continually working on more gardening (can’t wait for more winged visitors on my butterfly bushes this spring), including my continued attempt to chart the seasonal sun positions for my vegetable gardens. I love all the green that surrounds our home and I love living in such a unique neighborhood filled with wonderful people!
When we purchased the house 20 years ago, the previous owner related the story about the original owner. William J. Peele, one of the Founders of North Carolina State University presumably built it for his two daughters. It was a two family house with entrances on Hope & Enterprise Street. When it was built in 1919, it was one of two houses and Enterprise Street ended at the edge of the house. An addition was built in 1939 by Miss Randolph Hill. An aerial photo from 1920 shows the house amid farmlands but near the early university buildings.
After we purchased the house in the early 90’s, my sister and I moved into the downstairs apartment and we rented out the upstairs. The downstairs needed the most work so we ripped out the carpet and updated the kitchen to make it a more livable space. We continued to rent out the upstairs for several years while continuing to make improvements to the inside as well as doing some landscaping that was long past due.
We eventually got out of the rental business. At that time, I moved upstairs, while my sister continued to live downstairs. Before I moved upstairs, we had the floors sanded and updated the kitchen because nothing had really been done to the upstairs since we purchased the house in the early 90’s.
In 2005, my sister moved out and I converted the 2 separate apartments into a singe family home. These improvements involved removing several walls downstairs and completely remodeling the kitchen with all new cabinets and appliances. I continued to make renovations upstairs and converted my old bedroom into a walk in closet but the kitchen upstairs remained untouched.
Most recently, my fiancé moved in and I finally renovated the kitchen upstairs and converted it into a dressing room for her. We would still like to make some changes since now there are 2 people and 2 dogs living in the house. I am sure that will happen over time and we are thinking that after the wedding in September we will visit the idea of expanding the kitchen.
When Gray and I got married in 2007 she’d lived on Stafford Ave.
in the house she built since 1997. We knew we wanted to build another home so we began our search for the perfect spot. We both passed the vacant lot on Pogue St. across from the Rose Garden every day and thought it would be wonderful to stay in the neighborhood we love. So after some time coveting the lot, circumstances allowed us to purchase the former home of the Fisher’s Bakery and Sandwich Company from the Underhills.
Karlie Underhill is the granddaughter of Karlie Fisher who started the Fisher’s Bakery and Sandwich Company in 1928. The Fishers built the house at 2512 Everett Ave. in 1939. The house and the accompanying “sandwich factory” added in the backyard of the house (now the site of our home) were contributing buildings to the West Raleigh Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. The remaining buildings that made up the factory stood on the backyard lot until 1995 when they were removed.
The entire area around the Rose Garden is unique since it still holds the original form of the horse racing track of the old State Fairgrounds, which is how Pogue Street and the Rose Garden get their shape. Our lot sits in the turn just after the grandstands.
We started the process of designing a house that would both fit our lifestyle and the historic University Park Neighborhood we love. We settled on a French Country style with a brick veneer that resembled many of the other houses built in our neighborhood between the 30’s and 50’s. To give it an older appearance we used a hand tumbled oversize brick and casement windows. The home has three bedrooms and two and half baths. The rooms are spacious and flow together, which allow for entertaining.
The entrance foyer opens to a library and leads into an open space for the living areas. A formal dining room has 13 foot coffered ceilings and a tall arched window that looks out onto the Rose Garden. Across from the dining room is the open floorplan living room with French doors flanking a see-through fireplace, which opens to the back porch allowing for an indoor-outdoor entertaining space. The living room flows into the kitchen, which overlooks Isabella Cannon Park to the north. Alongside the kitchen and connected to the dining room by a butler’s pantry is a breakfast room with large bay windows and bench seat looking into the trees of Cannon Park. The master bedroom is off the living room and two additional bedrooms are upstairs.
I was looking to make the jump from a house to a condo in 2007, and I knew that University Park was the place I wanted to land. I was living near Cameron Village and had come to know the neighborhood through my friend, Chris Farlow, who still lives on Van Dyke Ave. When our house had become a little too small for my husband, daughter, our dog, and visiting family members, we agonized over the decision to move out of the neighborhood into a bigger house or stay put in University Park. We did not want to give up the proximity to our close friends, a walkable neighborhood, a relatively easy commute to my office in Cary, and proximity to many of Milos’ customers – not to mention we were married in the Rose Garden (with our good friend Chris officiating the wedding)!
We decided to stay put and expand our house. Milos took the project on from the design of the house to the actual build. He is the owner of Lions Home Restoration & Repair, so a project of this sort was not outside his wheelhouse. The topography of our lot makes it a bit of a challenge to add additional square footage, so we had to expand upwards. We also created a more open concept in the original footprint of the house, which meant a total reconfiguration of the house down to the studs. So, we moved out temporarily while the house was under construction. A driveway was also installed, and stone terraces were built in front of the house with help from my brother-in-law while he was visiting from the Czech Republic.
We’ve been living in our renovated house since this past July and are enjoying our new space. Milos’ attention to detail is evident throughout the house – from the built in storage to the “unseen things” that make our house energy efficient. One of my favorite spaces in the new house is actually outdoors – the front porch. Milos saved some of the old hardwood floors from the original house and used it as the floor for the porch. It reminds me of the old space that we loved while giving us something new to enjoy. In retrospect, the project was bigger than we thought, but it was worth it. We are so glad to be back in University Park!
My Rosedale home is a mid-century house designed by Milton Small, Jr. FAIA (1916-1992) and it is a contributing structure in the West Raleigh Historic District. The interior is simple, with lots of built-in storage and wide expanses of glass. I appreciate the open design and realize the positive ways it influences me. Looking out the windows into the woods in the back and the flowers in the front can bring peace at the end of a hectic day! The front yard garden and house are mostly hidden from the street by a tall evergreen hedge which gives me privacy and an added sense of being close to nature.
The house, built in 1953 for the Donald and Marion Anderson Family, appears modest from the front but from the back, is so stately as it stands up to the woods. There is a little path leading down to the creek where wild deciduous azaleas and pitcher plants grow nearby. When I first moved here, about 30 years ago, I loved to garden. Now, I reap the benefits of an old garden gone wild, like me, but there’s always something blooming to entertain no matter what time of year.
I have done some interior renovation to my home, but feel it’s my responsibility to maintain this historic house close to the original design and to protect it. I hope when I leave, the next residents feel the same way about it. You can see pictures of the house when brand new and read more about Milton Small at “http://www.ncmodernist.org/small.htm” (Scroll down midway.)
I have enjoyed living in University Park and working many years at NC State University. What a luxury to be able to walk to work through our neighborhood! Now I am retired and still walk a wide loop through the neighborhood for exercise, and enjoy the diversity of sites along the way: Cameron Village, the post office, the Players Retreat, the new development, the University edge, Hillsborough St. hangouts and many charming residences. Planners and designers try to emulate what we already have in our neighborhood and I am so happy to live in University Park!
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