Where We Live
Tom: The house is a 1 1/2-story craftsman bungalow with a full-width front porch and a center dormer. It was built in 1919. It has a tin roof, probably from the 30s. Its known as the W.B. Glenn House. The original owner was a guy named Brody Glenn. He owned the Glenn oil company in Carrboro that was located on Pleasant Street and distributed oil to heat homes and fuel trucks from the university. He did that from his property and then from his company. From 1919 to the early 90s, the house was owned by the same people.
Donna: Did Tom tell you he learned all this history from doing the [Historic Carrboro] plaque program?
Tom: We have a historic plaque. Donna: The Glenns also built the two little cottages out back for their daughters.
Tom: When the oldest daughter was old enough to get married, they built a house out back for her. Donna: And then another one for the other daughter.
Tom: This little house [in back yard] was a small store that sold candy and other grocery-type items, and it was on that side of the property [west] facing Merritt Street. It was run by Mrs. Glenn her name was Mary in the 20s and 30s. At some point in the late 30s or early 40s, it was relocated to another part of the lot and converted into a house for their daughter. We had a couple of people stop by when we were renovating the house in 2004 and told us that house used to be a candy store. My kids love it. So one of the things we love about the house is the history and the character and the location. Donna: Its an old house. We love it. We love the molding, the French doors
Tom: Hardwood floors, tall ceilings, all the old house stuff that people like. When we bought it, it was rented by the room downstairs and there were two apartments upstairs. Donna: So two people living upstairs and four downstairs. The back yard was a big gravel parking lot. The only community space was the kitchen and the dining room. So it looked completely different. When we moved in, we actually kept the apartments upstairs and kept tenants.
Tom: To help fund the renovations. We did significant renovations the year we bought it in 2004. Then when our daughter was born in 2006, we converted the larger apartment into three bedrooms upstairs. We kept the remaining apartment for a nanny, and now we have a nanny who lives with us and takes care of the kids. So the house is well suited for a family. Donna: It had the structure and the bones of a lovely old house.
Why We Chose Our House
Donna: It was downtown, and we love old houses. We love the location. We came from Chicago in 2001, so we had total walkability to everything. When we moved here, we lived in an apartment complex for three years on Jones Ferry Road, and it was too far from downtown.
Tom: We thought the only option was going to be a townhouse or a condo.
Donna: We looked at some condos downtown, and then this house came on the market.
Donna: Its the walkability, the large yard.
Tom: Walkability is to both downtown restaurants and entertainment but also to playgrounds for our kids. We walk to the Farmers Market. We walk to the Carrboro Elementary School playground and to Wilson Park, where we often run and mountain bike.
Tom: Its an old house. [Laughs.] Theres certainly maintenance that comes with an old house.
Donna: The disadvantages of living here are that our street gets a little more traffic than we would like, we dont have sidewalks, and we wish there were more families with young children.
Donna: We love our neighbors. Tom: Weve met some really interesting people. Its a diverse set of professions and ages.
Donna: Everybody is friendly and easy to talk to. We hosted our first millhouse neighborhood party this summer.
Tom: About 100 people came.
Donna: We co-hosted it with about three or four other families. The neighborhood can feel kind of spread out, and we dont often have the chance to socialize with families that live a few blocks away.
Tom: Theres also a lot of gardens and a few families with chickens, which makes it interesting.
Donna: Weve had chickens for three years now and have built a lovely chicken condominium out back. I had no idea theyd be so much fun.
How We Made Our House a Home
Donna: I think it already had a lot of home qualities to it. It kind of needed sprucing up with new paint, cosmetic stuff.
Tom: [Laughs.] Shining it up.
Donna: We built a fireplace in the living room where there had once been a fireplace.
Tom: Put doors on closets.
Donna: We did this kitchen renovation specifically because the kitchen and dining room were broken up, so we didnt have family gathering space. There was no sitting space in the kitchen. The island and the bench and the seating were all things we did to make it more cozy and functional for a family.
Tom: We have a wall of kid art.
Donna: I love to decorate with my kids artwork. I save all of their artwork for holidays and pull it out each year and decorate the house. That, for me, gives it a very homey feel. Tom: We also have local art and travel art, so thats the other thing we decorate the house with and furniture.
Donna: I commissioned a painting from Karen Shelton. She had a gallery here several years ago. I loved her work. When I was looking for a painting over the fireplace, I asked her.
Tom: This table and this shelf [in dining room and kitchen] are from a local wood and metalworker from Chatham County.
Donna: He had it made from 200-year-old barn wood. Tom: Whiskey wood.
Donna: We prefer to buy from local artists, people youve known and that youve met.
We might want to feature your neighborhood. To recommend your home or another home, contact Catherine Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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