In 1945 the Detroit Tigers won the World Series and the Cleveland Rams were NFL champions. Bacall and Grable were Hollywood’s ‘it’ girls. The slinky was invented, Abbot and Costello had us laughing with ‘Who’s on First’, and young mothers were reading Dr. Spock. Winston Churchill first uttered the words ‘iron curtain’, and the world celebrated VE Day.
In Apex NC a young family broke ground for their new home on Hunter Street. Given the location—just a stone’s throw from the mill—lumber would be in easy supply. In fact, the mill workers themselves had seen the logic of this and had built their own houses right across the street.
As a builder I find the history of a house fascinating. We’ve begun the renovation on the Hunter Street house and as we carefully remove siding and walls and dismantle the kitchen, I think about the workers who’ve gone before me. I think about the masons who laid the foundation or the carpenters setting the beams. I wonder if it was a blistering hot North Carolina summer when they finished the roof. I can imagine the men sitting on the not quite finished front porch, enjoying a bottle of Coca-Cola, a cigarette, or even a nap.
You can imagine that by today’s standards the rooms of a 70 year old house are small. So the JFBuilders renovation plan adds about 700 square feet, including the addition of a master bedroom, home office, laundry room, and an expanded kitchen. When Hunter Street is finished it’ll have a completely updated kitchen, larger closets, a new half-bath, and a master on-suite. Modern spaces for modern families.
But as we renovate old houses we also preserve and reclaim as much as possible. The floor, the beams, trim, even re-purposing some of the brick if we can. One of my favorite things about renovating these homes is incorporating the old with the new so that the character of its original features lives in harmony with the updates we make. I’m very excited about the Hunter Street house and I can’t wait to show it to you!