Published: May 05, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: May 05, 2012 08:13 PM
Where we live
Names: Heather and Todd Walker
Jobs: Heather school and church volunteer; Todd design engineer with Honda Research & Development
Children: Gabe and Calla
Address: Churton Grove Boulevard, Hillsborough
Neighborhood: Churton Grove
Year Built: 2007
Square Footage: 3,000
Details: 2-story craftsman style house with front porch, deep garage, screened-in back porch, deck, two patios and backyard paths. First floor guest bedroom, full bath, library with built-in bookshelves and French doors to dining room, family room with brick fireplace, kitchen with angular island and slate floor, breakfast area, laundry room. Second floor master bedroom/bath, two bedrooms, full bath, office, den with walk-in attic.
Nearby Landmarks: Historic Hillsborough, Cameron Park Elementary School campus
Heather: We live in the Churton Grove neighborhood. The plan we chose is a craftsman style exterior. The interior is oh, gosh eclectic. It has a bit of everything. Ive been very fortunate to inherit a lot of pieces from family. And what didnt come from family, a lot of it came from thrift stores or craigslist. I like to try to give our house as much individuality as possible. Todd built the bookcases in the library. It serves a dual purpose for books and pieces that have been passed down to us. I bought the dining room table off craigslist and I bought the dining room chairs at different thrift stores and painted them. My mantle is a craigslist find.
We have a gully in the back yard that we originally viewed as an obstacle, but we have since grown to enjoy it. Weve made a bridge over it. I really enjoy working in the yard, and I enjoy working with rocks. You dont have to fertilize them; you dont have to mow them. So I gathered rocks as the neighborhood was being built. I used them to line the paths in the back yard and in the gully. My neighbor said one of his memories is me walking down the street with a wheelbarrow and my daughter walking behind me with her toy wheelbarrow and were picking up rocks from empty lots.
All the ferns are natural except for four out there. When we first moved here, I hand-cleared the back yard because I was worried that machine clearing would harm the natural ferns. I cleared it down to get a blank slate the first winter we were here, and then my in-laws helped me lay out paths.
How We Chose Our House
Heather: We did not intend to live in a small town. We grew up in a suburb of Atlanta, and we spent our married life in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. But when we looked at homes in other communities in Orange County, there was so much work required to remodel that we started considering other options and heard about Hillsborough. We had not intended to build, but the neighborhood pulled us in. It is very family friendly, and we wanted our children to have this experience, to have the benefits of the walking trails, of having other kids to grow up with. Our first house Todd likes to call our nine-year flip. We spent nine years gutting it, doing the work ourselves, and then this transfer came through and we moved. We liked the idea of having an older house to work on, but we realized with having kids it was not realistic.
And Hillsborough is a great community all the cultural opportunities, theres a sense of community. Having never lived in a small town, it was an adjustment. But our kids are benefiting from being raised in an area where they have this support network thats invaluable. Were here because of the neighborhood, not necessarily because of the house.Advantages
Heather: The sense of community, and for us the weather. We loved Ohio, but it was gray; it was cold. We missed the South. We missed being able to be outside in February. Coming from Atlanta the lack of congestion. Every time we go back to Atlanta, we think we couldnt do it again.
I like a lot of things. When you go out to the store, out to the library, youre guaranteed to see someone you know, which is good overall. Its good for our children to see someone they know and to know that someones watching out for them. For such a small town, there are a number of cultural events that we enjoy. We go to music at The Depot, Last Fridays, the Christmas parade and the Paperhand Puppet parade.Disadvantages
Heather: We wish that we could walk to town easily. We looked at Carrboro and liked how it was so pedestrian friendly. Honestly, theres not a lot of glaring disadvantages that stick out. My husband talks often of looking forward. He would like to be in Historic Hillsborough so that we could walk, so that we wouldnt have to get in our car to go to Weaver Street [Market] or go to the library or go to church. There are areas of town that he watches routinely to see whats out there. West Hillsborough oh gosh, he pulls up West Hillsborough and says, Look, what I found.Our Neighborhood
Heather: One of the things we really like about the neighborhood is there are public access walking paths. Ill be in the back yard working and Ill have a conversation with someone out walking their dog. And the kids can ride their bikes up and down the path and go between neighbors homes using the path.
We love the neighbors. Its a nice mix of native North Carolinians and people from other states and countries. Theres an immediate sense of community because many folks do not have family members nearby and they must rely on their neighbors and, in turn, we rely on them.How We Made Our House a Home
Heather: I think by trying to bring as much individuality to it as possible. I do not have a defined sense of style. If I like it, I try to make it work hence the bedroom furniture thats in the kitchen. That was my grandfathers. Its a chifforobe that I painted. Todd took out the mirror, and he made shelves. Todd doesnt have time for it, but he enjoys woodworking, little things like the bookcases and theres a swing outside and theres a wall out here that hes done and little cabinets inside. Hell take something and improve upon it.
I like trying things in different rooms. And if I dont like it, I dont feel committed to keeping it that way. I wouldnt say I have much originality, but Im great at copying things. I saw that [a hook rack made with butter knives], and I thought, I can do that. I got the butter knives at a thrift store and I bent them, and I was able to put my grandmothers aprons up there. Everybody knows Im a big thrift store person. Its fun to go in and say, I could make that work. I think I could make that work. It was so much fun going and looking for the dining room chairs.
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