I don’t know much about the history of this house other than it was built in 1940 by J. Y. Phelps and I am the ninth owner since that time. The longest ownership was by Carlyne Clayton and wife from 1946 to 1985. The first picture shows the house in 1995 when it was owned by Pamela Tyler. I purchased this house from Jon and Mara Buxbaum in July 2009 as they were building another home in University Park (where they still reside).
I’m an NC native and was moving back to the Raleigh area having lived in Boston, Dallas and New York since graduating from Meredith College many years ago. Simply put, it was time to come home. There was no doubt University Park was my ultimate destination – my brother and sister-in-law are also UP residents, I love the diversity of this neighborhood, and I wanted to be able to walk to shopping and restaurants. I was visiting from New York one weekend and decided on a whim to walk through the house, and I immediately knew this was where I wanted to live. The company I worked for at that time was reluctant to let me work remotely, but persistence and determination won out and I moved without having their final blessing! Like I said, I knew this was the house and neighborhood for me!
The house itself was in amazing condition, definitely move-in ready without requiring any repairs. Jon and Mara had taken excellent care of the house and had already undertaken a major renovation by adding a second story for the master suite.
Because of this, I could focus attention on the outside, so over the first few years I tackled the front and back yards.
Ken Brooks (another UP resident) from Brookscapes created the overall design and installed a pavestone patio, retaining walls, drainage, new front steps and railings, as well as completely new landscaping. I am thrilled with my backyard oasis!
Last year I finally tackled an indoor project, renovating the kitchen and den, which included new flooring, appliances, cabinets, lighting and countertops. We also as turned what was the breakfast room into a butler’s pantry for much needed additional storage.
This house is a wonderful combination of old character and modern touches that represent the charm of University Park. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
306 Brooks Avenue,
home of Donna Carver and Dave Close
Our Home – “The Moore House”
Our home, situated at 306 Brooks Avenue, was built in 1928 by George and Nellie Moore. Mr. Moore was a steel worker at Raleigh Iron Works Co. located at the corner of Hargett and West Streets. Raleigh Iron Works produced a number of products, one being boilers. Our home has a working boiler, albeit not the original one, that we use to generate steam for the radiators. For us the boiler is an integral part of our lives (winter only) and is a source of warmth and wonder. In 1965, Mrs. Moore was joined in residence by the Russell Herman family and they shared the house at 306 until 1982. Neighborhood residents recall that the Hermans’ had five children and they all enjoyed running through the house playing tag and hide and seek.
Robert and Fair Wright took ownership of the house in 1982. They renovated the house; improving plaster, updating electrical, and adding central air conditioning. Robert designed and built the two car garage in 1991, including a studio above where he conducted his architectural business. The Wrights raised a daughter at 306, and she showed us the house when we first looked at it in 1996. She did not want her mother to sell the property, but if it had to be sold she wanted a family to live in her childhood home. We fell in love with the house and moved in on Halloween 1996, bringing two children with us. Soon after, we had our third child and the house once again became a wonderful place for watching and hearing children run and play.
Our first order of business upon moving in was to update the plumbing, one of those costly projects that provide no visible evidence of improvement. With dogs and children, we decided to fence the front yard, and had our “black cemetery fence” installed. The fence was a visible testament to our improvement of the property, but it did not keep dogs or toddlers in the yard. This predicament forced us to invest in a lot of chicken wire which we strung along the wrought iron fence, rendering it less than stately.
We replaced the side porch in 2014 and restored it to the style of the original home. We have done very few other projects but plan to redesign and transform the kitchen this summer.
This home is about the neighborhood. Our children grew up here, going to FAO, Martin and Broughton. We often referred to the house as “Camp Brooks,” as the boys often had friends running about. We have made lasting friendships here, we have seen neighbors come and go and for the most part they enhanced our lives. Older people such as Margaret Massey, Isabella Cannon and Gina Zweigart walked by the front fence often, and became a part of our children’s lives. When we moved to 306 our block was largely inhabited by widows, women who were a part of the history of University Park. Many of their homes are rentals now, but there is evidence of young families moving into the area, so that we can continue to hear the laughter of children.
Isabelle Bowen Henderson House and Gardens
at 213 Oberlin Road
Home of Russ Stephenson and Ellen Longino
Isabelle Bowen Henderson was my great-aunt. When she passed away in 1969, she left the property to my grandmother, Phyllis Riley, who gave it to me when she moved to Georgia to live with my mother. Between the mid-1970s and now, Ellen and I have lived in each of the three residences on the grounds. Over the years, we’ve reconstructed two of the three outbuildings and fully renovated the other outbuilding and the three dwellings, including an addition to the main house.
The secluded 1.2 acre enclave of dwellings, outbuildings and gardens at 213 Oberlin Road are the physical record of Isabelle’s life and work (May 23, 1899 – May 19, 1969). She was the eldest of six daughters of North Carolina State College Treasurer A. F. Bowen, whose home stood at the end of Ferndell Lane. After studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art, Isabelle worked in Massachusetts where she (and the rest of the nation) became enthralled by Rockefeller’s reconstruction of Colonial Williamsburg.
Isabelle returned to Raleigh in 1937 and set about designing her own Williamsburg enclave at 213 Oberlin Road, adjacent to the Bowen homestead. Drawing on her mother’s love of gardening and her own Arts & Crafts art education, Isabelle synthesized Colonial architectural forms with English garden designs and American folk craft traditions. The National Register of Historic Places describes her work as “a composition of a resited turn-of-the-century house and auxiliary buildings constructed primarily in the 1930’s, integrated into a landscape of display and working gardens, and disposed around a large shaded brick terrace from which bricked and bordered walks lead outward to the gardens. The arrangement of buildings, fences, walks, and plant materials creates a calculated informality while maintaining a palpable hierarchy of evocative spaces, views, and processions”.
In 1938 her front garden was first opened to the public and the same year, a full page article in the News & Observer was devoted to her growing prominence as a portrait painter. Ben Forest Williams, the first curator of the N. C. Museum of Art has estimated that she produced over one thousand portraits throughout the Eastern United States. Her works are included in the permanent collection of the N. C. Museum of Art and in the State Supreme Court Building in Raleigh.
In 1942 Isabelle’s front room was featured in House and Garden Magazine. The fireplace wall features her reproduction of a 1770 map of the Carolina Colonies. The flanking bookcases include the Bowen and Henderson libraries, and craft pottery from her Jugtown collection. Isabelle supported the revitalization of Jugtown Pottery and led efforts to assemble the first Jugtown Pottery collection presented to the State of North Carolina.
In 1951, Isabelle Henderson won the National Horticultural Award, the highest award given by the National Council of State Garden Clubs, for her “permanent and creative contribution to horticulture”. Henderson hybridized and maintained 600 varieties of Iris and 527 varieties of Hemerocallis, and wrote articles for many horticultural publications, including The Garden Journal of the New York Botanical Garden . She traded letters and plants with National Book Award winner Lewis Mumford and internationally renowned Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. Her home and gardens were visited by Carl Sandburg and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Isabelle left the property to her sister, Phyllis Riley at a time when cities across the nation were constructing expressways through older neighborhoods to accommodate the rising tide of suburban commuters. In 1972 the City of Raleigh proposed the North-South Expressway through the middle of Oakwood. Citizens defeated the project in 1974. At about the same time, the Pullen heirs sued the City to stop a similar north-south, five-lane arterial, proposed to widen Oberlin Road from Glenwood Avenue to Western Boulevard through Pullen Park. Just north of Pullen Park, the City unsuccessfully condemned the Henderson House and Gardens twice over the next five years in hopes of resurrecting the west side arterial. Fast forward 40 years and the historic neighborhoods of Oakwood, Cameron Park and University Park are thriving. Oberlin Road is not a suburban 5-lane arterial dominated by gas stations, parking lots and fast food drive-throughs. Instead, the human-scaled network of tree-lined streets around Cameron Village define an authentic, walkable urbanism that makes it one of the most desirable places to live in Raleigh.
In conjunction with being named April’s Home of the Month by the University Park Homeowners Association, Ellen and I are excited to hold an Open House of my great-aunt Isabelle Bowen Henderson’s home and gardens. Please join us on Sunday, April 19th from 1pm until 5pm to explore and enjoy a unique and historic Raleigh landmark in University Park.
Note: parking on-site is reserved for guests with limited mobility. Other guests are encouraged to walk or bike to the property, or to park across Oberlin Road on Park Drive.
For many years 2818 Fowler Ave saw tenants come and go. Used primarily as a college rental due to the walkability to NCSU, this once proud cottage became increasing “worn”. Today if you drive by 2818 Fowler you would not recognize it as being the same structure.
A wonderful investor who believed in the “good bones” of the house took on the project. During the course of this project he encountered more than one surprise! Undeterred, the finished product speaks for itself. It is now occupied by a lovely young couple, Elizabeth and Chad Temples (and family), who really did not even know University Park was “so cool” in their words.
They look forward to walking their children to school at Fred Olds, becoming involved in the community, and making this fabulous “new” old cottage their forever home. If you see them out on their deck stop by and introduce yourself! They are super people!
Below are a few pictures of the before and after. Be prepared for a shock. It is amazing what a positive attitude, a checkbook and a few hammers can do!
Front Facade Before
Front Facade After
Family Room Before
Family Room After
Master Bath Before
Master Bath After
An amazing transformation huh? Hopefully these photos will inspire others to make University Park the finest collection of mid-century cottages ITB…without tearing them down.
1016 Canterbury St.; “The House Behind the Hedges”
Sara and David Wilson
This large ranch-style home, notable for its warm fieldstone façade, was built in 1941 by the Bashford Plumbing and Heating Company. It sits on four lots. At the time, Wade Avenue, Canterbury, and Dixie Trail were all dirt roads, and University Park was ”in the country.” After having several owners, it came into the possession of the Weinstein family in 1951. The current owners, Sara and David Wilson, say that “old Raleigh people” still refer to the house as “the Weinstein house.” In 1973, the Anderson family purchased the home, and they were the last residents until the Wilson couple embarked on their journey of restoration and rejuvenation.
Since March, 2011, the house has been redone literally from floor to roof and everything in between. Walls have been moved, a screened porch added, the kitchen made gloriously new, and doors removed to give this home an appealing flow from room to room. Huge windows allow sun and sky to pour into what were once small, dim rooms constructed in an era unblessed by air conditioning. Sara Wilson recalls that the new windows had to be done twice due to their size and scale.
After several years of workmen and contractors, David and Sara Wilson are finally settled into home. Their yard, screened by shrubs and trees, features a fountain and benches, inviting contemplation of a long but satisfying renovation. They love University Park.
The original address for 724 Rosemont Ave was 2507 Van Dyke Ave. Since only 6 feet of the property line was actually on Van Dyke, the City of Raleigh changed the address to Rosemont when the city sold the vacant lot in 1999. The slender triangular lot required a home plan that would make use of every buildable square foot.
Terry designed the home to make use of his large collection of building materials from buildings in Indiana, Habitat for Humanity reuse store, auctions, brick from a school on Whitaker Mill Road, materials from old North Hills Mall and several homes in Raleigh that had to be removed after hurricanes Fran and Floyd had flooded them. The fireplace mantle came from Granny’s house in Kentucky. It is estimated that 50% of the home was built from salvaged materials. You may notice that the windows are of several styles and different shapes.
The new home was begun in 2000 and wasn’t completely finished until 2010. I count it a good experience living in this unfinished house as my wife and I took lots of time to discuss and work on how to finish it. It is a combination of Terry’s insistent use of salvaged materials and his wife’s call for new materials. For example the foyer was first laid with 100 year old wood flooring from a church. However, this flooring did not hold up well and was eventually replaced with new white marble tile.
When we first moved in it had one finished bathroom and no finished bedrooms. It now has 3 bathrooms and 3 bedrooms with 1920 square feet on 2 floors. The full basement was designed to be a 3-car garage lengthwise with one garage door. However, no cars have ever been in the garage since it has remained a workshop.
The driveway rocks came from the excavation for Triangle Town Center, and the granite porch stairs came from a building in Research Triangle Park. The round hatch underneath the chimney is a grain silo door from Terry’s childhood farm. Water is collected from the roof and is fed through the mouth of the lions head at the porch steps and eventually makes its way to 2 rain barrels. This water is used to water plants throughout the summer.
2014’s summer project was the 72 foot-long rock wall. My wife and I had taken a trip to Barcelona, which is famous for the works of architect Gaudí. I got the idea that I would try to build a rock wall similar to his work. A full dump truck delivered 20 tons of rip-rap on my lawn, which I’m sure made the neighbors wonder what was up with that. Fortunately, the wall was completed before winter and I’m grateful for all the encouragement and compliments given by neighbors in University Park. This is the best neighborhood and we are so happy to be living here.
We, April, Eric, Ash &Dixie (our 2 cats), moved to Raleigh in 2012 by choice, but landed in University Park at 812 Rosemont somewhat by chance. We moved to the neighborhood from Baltimore, where neither of us is from but where we lived for many years and met. Living in downtown Baltimore, we became rather spoiled being close enough to walk to lots of shopping & many restaurants. We hoped to find the same situation in Raleigh.
After months of searching for a house rental, we found 812 Rosemont listed for rent on Craig’s List. It seemed like a great fit immediately, so much that April flew down that weekend, to meet with the owner, Margaret Strickland. As soon as April smelled the chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven, she was sold. We moved in around NYE 2012 and fell in love with the house and the neighborhood immediately.
For us there was so much to like about the house: a basement, big yard, nice flow to the downstairs living area, screened in porch and a perfect spot for April’s home office. Also with the original structure built in 1941, we felt the house had character with plaster walls, two fireplaces, and hard wood floors. Including the basement there are 3 levels: the kitchen, dining room, den, living room, home office and laundry room are all on the first floor with 4 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms upstairs.
We wound up buying the house in the spring of 2013, about a year and half after moving in. Shortly thereafter, our new tenant, Jordan, arrived with our son’s birth in June 2013. Shortly after that, we began to explore redecoration ideas. First we had the exterior of the house painted, then the interior. The inside of the house has taken on somewhat of a southwest theme inspired by a favorite vacation spot, Taos, NM. There’s lots of turquoise and Taos art throughout, even terracotta paint on the walls.
Work to the yard came next with new sod in spots, blueberry bushes, orange native azaleas, hydrangeas, peonies, and roses- to name a few. There are additional projects on our list, but for the time being we are content to pace ourselves and enjoy the nearby restaurants, get to know the rest of the neighborhood and enjoy our favorite sports teams. Speaking of which you may see our flags flying out front: Eric is from the Pennsylvania area and a huge Steelers fan, while April is from South Carolina and a Clemson fan.