Once the center of a family farm, a modest Cape surprises with elegant touches.
Like many early settlers of rural Durham, the first owners of this charming circa 1850 Cape were farmers. Records reveal that more than a century ago the land surrounding the house produced beans, corn, and potatoes. But for that, and some passing mentions in local histories and deeds, the intimate details of the house’s early occupants have been lost to time. Something of their spirit, and certainly their tastes, survives in their farmhouse, however, with its refined Greek Revival embellishments on the front façade, including corner pilasters, a door with pilasters and entablature, and a wide band of trim under the eave.
WHY RESCUE IT
The striking split staircase — it starts with a single flight and divides in two at a center landing — in the entryway is a testament to the builder’s craftsmanship. Trimmed with hand-carved railings and turned newel posts, it’s reminiscent of the “good morning staircases” found in Colonial center-chimney homes, which lead to bedrooms on opposite sides of the building (the cheery nickname imagines the occupants meeting on their way downstairs for breakfast). Other original features include molded trim, wood floors, and a front door that can still be unlocked with a skeleton key. A contemporary, two-bay, two-story garage can provide additional living or work space.
Photographed by Dave Dostie
WHAT YOU’RE IN FOR
Repairs to the roof and foundation must be addressed first, followed by a fresh coat of exterior paint. The plaster ceilings and walls require attention to remediate water damage and general disrepair, several sections of old wallpaper need to be stripped, and the kitchen will benefit from new cabinetry, appliances, and finishing touches. The new owners will appreciate the generously sized kitchen and bath.