2012 Homes of the Month

UPHA January Home of the Month!

2507 Van Dyke Avenue

Armed with a degree in Construction Management, Grant Lockhart entered the real estate market in early 2008 looking for a true fixer-upper. After searching through Five Points, North Hills and Oakwood, in June of 2008, he found exactly what he was looking for in Forest Hills at 2507 Van Dyke Avenue.The colonial style brick house was built in 1942 and had been owned by Kenneth and Helen Stallings until 1995 when it was bought by Peggy Reese.

Last remodeled in 1960, the home certainly met Grant’s criteria and was in need of some serious TLC. Ironically nicknamed “The Manor,” because of its great bones but state of disrepair, the house had great potential and Grant was excited to begin work on the home with his girlfriend Emily.

Throughout the past three years, they worked on The Manor in stages. Grant wanted to complete each project himself, but had limited time, as he started his own business in early 2009.  The kitchen was Grant’s first project, installing new tile flooring, cabinets, appliances and granite countertops with the help of friends and family.  He removed dated carpeting to reveal original hardwood flooring throughout the remainder of the home. Lucky find! Refinishing the hardwood floors was the next step, as well as restoring the plaster walls, the mantel and original trim work.  After that, he renovated both bathrooms in the home, adding full marble flooring and tile in the shower.

In early 2010, he began work on the exterior of the house, with a fresh coat of white paint, and a new front porch, front door, retaining wall, gravel drive and landscaping.  Grant, who you’ve probably seen around the Forest Hills neighborhood, owns Lockhart Property Services – a full service landscaping, home repair and property management company with many clients in and around Cameron Village.  His girlfriend Emily is the director of development for the statewide nonprofit, Youth Empowered Solutions.

The Manor’s most recent project was the addition of a wood-burning stove, installed in the home’s existing fireplace with a chimney liner – just in time for the cooler temperatures this month.  Ever a work in progress, there are many more projects in the works in the coming year. Next up: the back yard!

UPHA February Home of the Month!

2713 Everett Avenue

Tom and Sue Kearney have recently completed a sizeable addition to their compact bungalow on Everett Avenue. The McDonald family built the house in 1929, the first house on the block that was subdivided out of the old State Fairgrounds site. Tom Kearney, host of “The Tom Kearney Show” on WPTF Radio, and Sue Kearney, an administrator at Meredith College during her career, bought the house in the 1970s. After nearly forty years of enjoyment, they faced a decision: find a different house with easy accessibility where they could enjoy their well-earned retirement or follow the concept of “aging in place.” This is a University Park trend, since many people in our well-located neighborhood are casting a critical eye at how to retrofit their house for a future when they might not be as mobile.

They found a house in West Raleigh that suited all of their requirements, but it wasn’t as near the Rose Garden, or Hillsborough Street, or Cameron Village. It didn’t have their neighbors around it. They decided to stay, and found 2SL Design Build, a team of designers and builders who helped them to replace the 500-foot rear wing, built in the 1940s, with a new rear addition that achieves their dreams. The old 1600-square-foot house needed more bedroom and bathroom space, a stair to the attic, a new sidewalk and steps to allow easier access to the front of the house, and major landscaping to solve a drainage problem at the rear. There was also no interior space where they could enjoy the southern exposure and their beautiful rear garden. Two important considerations were to maintain the character of the original house and to harmonize the addition to the scale and design rhythm of the houses on the block.

In February 2011 the project was finished. The result is a new two-story 1500 square foot wing. The sunroom overlooking the back garden is two stories high. The rest of the first floor contains a master bedroom and bath and a grand stair to the upper level. Upstairs area guest bedroom, study, bathroom, attic, and two balconies overlooking the sunroom. A new sidewalk and shallower steps with sturdy metal railings lead to their front door. A covered porch provides entry from their new driveway. From the street, the only clue to the addition is a small view of the upper level of the sunroom. The Kearneys happened to come up with a solution that has been used in New Orleans for years. People living in narrow one-story shotgun houses in the “Big Easy” build two-story additions to the back of their houses. The houses are known as “camel-backs” because they are one-story in front and rise to two stories at the rear, like a camel’s hump.

The Kearney House is honored as University Park’s home of the month for February as a creative architectural solution to a common problem, an old house that sits in just the right location but no longer fits the owners’ needs. Next time you walk through the Rose Garden, stroll down the 2700 block of Everett Avenue and admire the Kearneys’ new old house.

UPHA March Home of the Month!

3105 Ruffin Street

When Todd and Gina Brosius moved into 3105 Ruffin they knew they had found the perfect home to raise their family. Todd is an attorney at the North Carolina Medical Board, and Gina works for a professor at Duke doing research on tax reform as well as editing and project management. Todd and Gina met at college in Boston, went to graduate school at Duke and moved to Cary in 2003. At that time Todd had discovered University Park while taking additional graduate courses at NC State. They started looking at houses, and visited Fred Olds and knew this is where they wanted to be. Finally in 2007 they found the perfect home in University Park for themselves and their 3 children (one set of twins, currently in 8th grade and a second grader at Olds). Todd and Gina love the neighborhood because they can walk to so many places. The first thing they heard when they moved in was that they live on the sledding hill! They did get that one big snow in 2009 and they loved how the neighborhood gathered for fun in the snow for a few days.

The house at 3105 Ruffin was built in 1940. It has had several owners over the years; the most recent owners before Todd and Gina were Steve and Sally Kroeger who lived there from 1991-2007. The house was sold to a “flipper” and that is who Todd and Gina bought the home from. The home has about 1800 square feet and was updated in 2007 with a new master bedroom and a renovated kitchen. A screened-porch and deck were added to the back as well. When Todd and Gina moved in they partly finished the basement and did some much needed landscaping; clearing out all the overgrown areas, adding sod and beautiful flower beds.

Todd and Gina are wonderful examples of what makes University Park a special place to live. They love their home, their neighbors, and their schools and do what they can to keep the neighborhood a fun and safe place to live.

UPHA April Home of the Month!

2724 Van Dyke Avenue — The Tolliver House

The “newest” home on Van Dyke Avenue has actually been there since 1941. This lovely two-story house painted a soft green color is one of University Park’s most recent examples of sensitive infill. Britt and Gary Tolliver purchased the home, a small three-bedroom, one bath, one-story house, in 1999. The neighborhood was familiar to both of them because Britt had rented a home nearby and Gary graduated from N. C. State University. After the birth of their two children William (6 years) and Royden (2 years), they outgrew the small house but not the neighborhood. Their back yard and the adjoining yards are a children’s paradise for the many kids who live in this block. The neighborhood parks, gatherings, streets perfect for long walks, and wonderful neighbors led them to decide to expand rather than move their family elsewhere.

Britt and Gary drew up plans for their new 2,300 square foot house themselves. The engineering firm of J. S. Thompson perfected their plans and converted them into blueprints. A big priority was to upgrade the small galley kitchen into a large kitchen and dining room for family gatherings and to add a row of windows across the front living room wall.Interior of 2724 Van DykeThe existing main level was redesigned into an entrance hall with stair, a spacious living room,and a large kitchen/dining room, leaving one existing bedroom and bathroom intact. The second story addition contains three bedrooms, two more bathrooms, and a wide hall. To the front is a large new porch and,to the rear, a larger deck. By preserving most of the existing house structure, the Tollivers saved a significant amount of money. Yelverton Contracting of Raleigh accomplished the project in fairly short order. The renovation has completely met the family’s expectations. Handsome pieces of furniture and mirrors, built by Gary in his basement workshop, adorn the bright new interior.

UPHA honors the Tolliver Residence, its April 2012 Home of the Month, as a home renovation that is an emphatic “win-win” success: giving the family enough space to raise their children comfortably, yet retaining a harmonious design and scale for the Van Dyke block.

UPHA May Home of the Month!

1000 Chamberlain Street

1000 Chamberlain sun porch

The cottage at 1000 Chamberlain Street was built in the late 1940s by an NCSU professor who raised his three children there. When the family moved across Wade Avenue, they rented the house out and then sold it to Charles (“Will”) Williams who lived there for 20 years. The house was surrounded by woods on all sides until the 90’s when the Winterbury Court cul-de-sac was built. Situated on just over an acre, the property is still bordered by Jaycee Park on two sides, which gives it a real “away from the city” quality. Jerry and Clodagh Bastian bought the home in 1999, and have been very happy there since. Over the years they have made a number of upgrades to the house and yard themselves, while trying to honor its history and distinct character. Jerry and Clodagh especially enjoy the wonderful yard where they can watch all kinds of wildlife and colors through the seasons.

1000 Chamberlain garden and drive

1000 Chamberlain entry way

1000 Chamberlain Interior view

UPHA June Home of the Month!

610 and 612 Chamberlain Street

The two houses side by side on Chamberlain Street are home to the Dunne and Robertson families. Although the houses look like they have been there for the last half century, they are really just three years old.

Mert and Nicoa Dunne wanted to build a new home in Raleigh for their family and figured that the University Park area had all the right ingredients. The lot they chose on Chamberlain Street was close to Cameron Village, down the street from their children’s elementary school, not far from the grandparents, and had the right blend of cultural and ethnic diversity that made the spot ideal.

In keeping with the character of the neighborhood, the Dunnes chose a “bungalow” style design for their new home and hired Prime Building Company to build a modern house with all the right features.

“We just loved everything about the neighborhood and figured that this was a great spot to raise our three daughters.” said Nicoa.

While building the Dunne’s new home, Mark Robertson, the president of Prime Building, was so impressed with their selection that he decided to follow suit and build another bungalow style house right next door.

“This is such a great neighborhood to live in with caring neighbors and all the conveniences of City living” said Robertson “I really like being in an established neighborhood in the center of Raleigh”

Robertson said that he gets a tremendous thrill when passersby stop him in his front yard and compliment him on the way he renovated that “old house”. Yep, we fit right in.

UPHA July Home of the Month!

2708 Bedford Avenue

The late 1920s red brick bungalow at 2708 Bedford Ave was purchased by Professor and Mrs. M. Evans Gardner circa 1932. Mr. Gardner, a professor of horticulture, later served as head of that department at NC State University until his retirement. The house has remained in the Gardner family and is now the home of Mrs. Monroe E. Gardner, Jr., better known to the neighbors as A. J. The house was remodeled in 1978 with the addition of a garage, family room, 2nd bath and back deck.  In 2002, the kitchen was remodeled. The house retains the original phone number assigned to it in the 1930s and has one of the old rotary dial phones still in use!

If you happen to drive by 2708 Bedford Ave., you will notice that the front lawn is completely brown and wonder why this garden was named “Yard of the Month.” It was decided that this could serve as a “teaching moment,”  by explaining the dead grass  and the homeowner’s plans for the future.  Like many others in the neighborhood, this lawn was plagued by common Bermuda grass, Johnson grass, clover, crabgrass, dandelions and other weeds.  This area had once enjoyed much more shade, but with the loss of the oak trees that once stood in the yard there was too much sun for the fescue lawn and A. J. has decided to replace it with centipede sod.  Hopefully by late summer, this lawn will be a beautiful green again.   A. J. is also taking advantage of more sun to establish a small vegetable and flower garden where she grows tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, banana peppers and several herbs.

Having lived here for 35 years, A. J. has experienced the way a garden changes over time.   Shrubs grow, becoming too large for their spaces; huge old white oaks that once provided welcome shade for azaleas and other shade loving plants, have succumbed to old age, disease, lightning strikes and hurricanes. So over time, some plants have been replaced by those that like the extra sun and new plants have been introduced.  Gardening is an on-going educational project, discovering new plants, learning which ones will thrive and why, where they look best, discovering pretty color combinations and always being pleasantly surprised when results are good.

UPHA August Home of the Month!

2609 Van Dyke Avenue

The 1946 Cape Cod at 2609 Van Dyke Avenue is home to Jeremy Perry and fiance Joanna Traynor. The home has recently completed an extensive renovation and addition, following damage from a fire in August 2011 that ruined all but the first floor framing and brick veneer. After many months of construction, the home was once again ready for move-in in early July.

When Jeremy bought the house in March 2007, many original details had been lovingly maintained or restored. The layout, plaster walls, oak floors, wide mouldings, and original single pane windows, all of which operated perfectly, had not been changed since 1946. Members of the Chase family who grew up in the home in the 1950’s once visited and were amazed at how much had not changed. They shared stories about how their father had built the built-in shelving in the dining room and had been responsible for the pine paneling in the finished attic.

2609 Van Dyke Ave

In the summer of 2010 Jeremy moved to Manhattan for a temporary job opportunity and began renting the house to a friend. Then, late on a Monday night last August the unthinkable happened. A neighbor who happened to be walking in for the night witnessed an explosion that blew out the garage door and sent flames soaring from the basement up the left side of the home. Thankfully, no one was living at the house at the time and firefighters responded very quickly to prevent a much worse fire. In spite of the quick response, the very hot basement fire compromised the integrity of the floor system and caused unrepairable smoke damage elsewhere. In the end, officials were never able to determine the cause but Jeremy believes it could have been electrical related.From Manhattan, Jeremy had to begin the process of dealing with insurance, the bank, and finding a builder. This would not have been possible without the invaluable support of those back home in Raleigh, including Joanna, Jeremy’s fiance, and the kindness of neighbors and friends who have helped along the way.Rather than re-create history, Jeremy and Joanna chose to follow their modern sensibilities to re-interpret their new home together. With the help of architect Matt Sprague, a resident of nearby Cameron Park, the new home design blends traditional shapes and industrial materials while respecting the scale and context of the neighborhood. The new home adds about 800 sq feet of living space with a master suite, larger windows, more open spaces, and a larger kitchen. Natural wood trim and pops of bright color complete the modern look. Builder Bob Aiello has done an outstanding job bringing this vision to life.

Jeremy and Joanna are thankful for the support and concern of neighbors throughout this process. They look forward to their wedding in the nearby Raleigh Rose Garden next May, and to tackling the significant challenges of the front and back yard in the coming months.

UPHA September Home of the Month!

817 Rosemont Avenue; the home and garden of Ellis and Jane Gurry

Ellis and Jane Gurry moved to Raleigh from Cincinnati in 1989, when Jane accepted a call from St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Raleigh to be their rector. They moved into a ranch house on a spacious lot at the corner of Rosemont and Mayview avenues, built in 1951 by a contractor named B. M. Smith as his own home.  Jane served the church for nine years.

Jane’s second calling is gardening, and for twenty-four years she and Ellis have gradually transformed their beautiful corner property from its luxuriant zoysia lawn and traditional foundation shrubs into a garden of vegetables and drought tolerant perennials.   Jane describes her garden and her happiness at 817 Rosemont Avenue as follows:

Ellis “skinned” the sod to make perennial beds along Rosemont and made raised beds by covering the zoysia with many layers of newspaper. We added topsoil so that we could grow vegetables. Now we plant greens, okra and green beans in beds that have enough sun, and have converted other beds to perennials including asparagus and blueberries. We have compost bins and seek to grow organically. We have many flowering perennials to share. We continue to be grateful to live in a very diverse neighborhood and among people looking out for each other. Our house has well served us and our visiting daughters and their families.

University Park celebrates the Gurry House as the Home of the Month for September, 2012 for the bountiful garden of perennials and vegetables that have taken over the spacious lawn in the past two decades. When you drive or walk by their home during the month of September, you will see beans climbing high on a trellis, figs ripening on a fig tree, okra pods growing on tall plants, and glorious beds of fall perennials, including daisies.  In the following photos, notice the garden transformation from the first photo which is the realtor’s 1988 flyer to the other photos taken this August. Try not to notice how much home values have climbed in the past 24 years.

UPHA October Home of the Month

915 Tower Street

It all started when I was ready for a change. Having lived in Oakwood for over 10 years, it was now time to move. The last thing I thought about was building my own home. In fact, it never came to mind. I couldn’t seem to find what I was looking for. What I did know was that it needed to include a space for my home- hair design business and art studio. I was hoping to find a house that I felt strongly connected to its community. At that point in my life I was eager to set my roots and water my plants- it was time.

Little did I know that Will Alphin was living at 915 Tower Street ramping up his design business located in an old day care center that he purchased in 1998. His living quarters were tucked in the far back upper corner that you had to access with a 90 degree handmade ladder. He was living, or better yet, making camp, inside like something out of the show Man vs. Wild-  a true to heart minimalist. His girlfriend at the time, now wife Kay, being an interior designer was not going for any of that. She needed more than hot plates and a kettle over fire. Her main hobby was cooking – no, gourmet cooking-  so she certainly needed a well designed kitchen with prep stations and  state of the art appliances. She needed a space to express herself as well if she was going to stay awhile. The couple decided to marry so the day care center needed renovating with both planning on running their individual businesses from their new home.

The great news by now was that Will and I had shaken hands embarking on a journey to build me a custom modern home, provided the city would allow for the sub-division of his property. We both agreed we wanted the house to be in natural harmony that fit well with the existing landscape and each others’ home. We worked very closely to hash out the fine details of the interior to maximize light, balancing cost, effective materials and keeping it as eco friendly as possible. The other wonderful piece was that we all could work from home, look out for each other, save on gas and meet in the yard at the end of the day with a glass of wine.It was in 2003 and I had started to clear the lot by hand with a couple of friends from the NCSU forestry department. It took a couple of hard months but we managed to leave as many trees as possible.

Back at 915 Tower, Will’s crew had begun working on his project.  One of the major changes they made to the structure was to add a roof deck to the one story portion of the house adding a loft space within the high roof section and a stair case that gave them access to the loft and the outdoor living area on top of the semi private roof. I have always joked that we just need to build a large slide from their roof deck to my house for a neighborly visit!

We were starting to wrap up things on both houses, placing our roots in the soil. Will and his Alphin Design team did an extraordinary job and  and I am grateful for our ever growing friendship. My connection to this wonderful community has grown wider. Our two homes are as diverse as this neighborhood providing us a place to be uniquely ourselves as we continue to create, design, and live enriching lives.

Dawn Constance Leonard at leonardstudio@nc.rr.com
Will Alphin at will@alphindesignbuild.com

UPHA November Home of the Month!

Doug and Judy Waller’s Home at 2404 Kilgore Avenue


2404kilgore2Editor’s introduction: This month’s featured University Park home belongs to the Wallers. Not only is it the newest residence in our neighborhood, it is a double homecoming for Judy Waller. She has returned to live in her hometown, where her grandchildren are now growing up. We welcome the Wallers, whose new home reminds us that our neighborhood has a walkable and multi-generational appeal. Here is the story of their home in their own words:

Doug and Judy Waller, your new neighbors at 2404 Kilgore Avenue, decided to move to Raleigh last fall after they found out they were expecting another grandchild in Raleigh. Judy was born in Raleigh and attended Broughton High School. Judy decided to retire after teaching reading for 28 years in an elementary school in Alexandria, Virginia. Doug had previously worked for both Newsweek and Time magazine as an author. He is currently writing a book about the CIA directors who worked for the OSS during World War II. Judy started working with Mert Dunne to find a house in Raleigh. She wanted an open floor plan in a house with a big front porch. Doug wanted a house that had an office big enough to hold all the research he has collected for his book. After finding several houses they liked that sold before they were ready to make an offer, Judy found the plans for the house on Kilgore online. She loved the plans and the location right around the corner from a best friend from high school, Billie Jeanne Satterwhite (we know her as B.J.). Doug loved that the house is so close to NC State and a library he could use for his book research. The house was a perfect match. They love being back in Raleigh. The neighbors are so friendly.

UPHA December Home of the Month!

The Erricos Home at 2702 Bedford Ave.


Steve and Suzie Errico and their children, Brandon (13), Emily (8) and Emmy (5) are your neighbors at 2702 Bedford Avenue.  Steve and Suzie met in Raleigh in 2009 and were married in 2011.  Steve, who grew up in Tarrytown, New York, moved to Cary in 1994.  Steve’s job at Lederle Laboratories (which is now Pfizer) brought him to North Carolina.  He is currently an operational leader for Eisai, a Japanese pharmaceutical company, and leads a team in the production of a breast cancer treatment.  The treatment is distributed worldwide from RTP.

In 2003, he decided to move into a neighborhood that reminded him of his hometown.  “I always wanted to live in a neighborhood with sidewalks and a short walk to local shops” say Steve.  And this neighborhood offered that and much more.  The house provides the best of both worlds – a new house in an old and established neighborhood.  The house was built in 2003 on the site of a previous duplex home.  The house has a warm and cozy first floor open family and kitchen area that is surrounded by windows.  They often receive compliments from their guests and are frequently asked “who did your renovations”.  The detailed hand crafted woodwork throughout the home produces the charm of an older home.

Suzie, who is a registered nurse at Wake Medical Hospital, also moved to Cary in 1994.  She was raised in Saginaw, Michigan and is a graduate of Michigan State University – Go Spartans!  Suzie enjoys the warmer weather and the frequent North Carolina blue skies.  Like Steve, Suzie enjoys the friendly neighborhood:  Fred Olds, where their daughters attend, Isabella Cannon park and the Raleigh Rose Garden.

For the Errico’s, Christmas is a very special time of the year.  “There is nothing more important than the birth of our Savior,” says Steve and Suzie.  They get great enjoyment decorating the house to mark this very special time of year.  Please come by and see our wonderful Christmas decorations.

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