Live near the headwaters of Bolin Creek

CorrespondentAugust 30, 2013 

Filled with catfish, the large pond at the headwaters of Bolin Creek is one of the great things about living at 7416 Talbryn Way.

Air to breathe, food to eat and shelter from the storms of life — all come right after the good health to enjoy them. There’s a house 15 minutes from downtown Chapel Hill that offers these in abundance — that is if you like to eat catfish. Of course, if you don’t, you could find a spot on the 10-plus-acre tract near Calvander to grow a vegetable garden.

The house at 7416 Talbryn Way is set against the backdrop of a large, deep catfish pond created in 1994 by owner, Dr. Fred Dalldorf, before he had local architect Ron Wilde design a 3,911-square-foot home with a full, dry air-conditioned basement space of 1,152 more square feet. Add the attached oversized two-car garage, patio and decking for another 1,677 square feet.

Three canoes are stacked over saw horses near the pond which Dalldorf has sectioned off with small Styrofoam floats for the model sailboat races that his many grandkids have enjoyed since he moved into the house in 1996. The pond is the first off headwaters of Bolin Creek. Dalldorf and his wife, Jane, sometimes see Bolin Creek volunteers checking the creek that eventually winds its way through Chapel Hill.

The property is in Talbryn, a gated community just six miles from the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Children living in Talbryn would attend Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools: Morris Grove Elementary, McDougle Middle School and Chapel Hill High School.

Talbryn is part of what was once the 599-acre farm of Stephen Lloyd, a descendant of Thomas Lloyd, a prominent Orange County figure in the mid-1700s. The Lloyd farm deed dates to 1784. Part of the farm — 160 acres — remains in family hands to this day – those of Jean Earnhardt — and includes a large pond on Bolin Creek south of Talbryn. Earnhardt partnered with the Triangle Land Conservancy to place 120 acres of the 160 in a conservation easement known as the ‘Lloyd Andrews Historic Farmstead.’ For more history of the land, go to Friends of Bolin Creek website.

In the 1990s, Earnhardt worked with a local architect to design another 137 acres of the original 599-acre Lloyd farm as Talbryn, which in Celtic means “brow of the hill.” The 12 estate lots are more than 10-acres each – large enough to have private wells and septic systems off the gated community’s winding asphalt road. Earnhardt desired that the lots be created so that each home site is private and doesn’t have views of homes on adjacent properties. Although there are residential covenants to protect the integrity of the neighborhood, each house is unique.

Wilde and his wife, Susie, came from California and built their own house in the neighborhood in 1993. He worked with Dalldorf in 1994 to design a place where the doctor could enjoy his retirement as a professor of pathology at UNC’s School of Medicine and as one of the first medical examiners in North Carolina. The design of the house is a loose interpretation of some of the vernacular farm structures, which was Wilde’s inspiration.

“Other than size of trees you wouldn’t be able to tell when it was built — 5 years old or 25 years old — just to look at the design of it,” Wilde said. “A lot of homes, you can tell when they were built because they have all the trappings of that year, but not this neo-traditional design.”

The Dalldorf house was built in 1995 at the same time their closest neighbor – the Moore’s — had their house built. McClean Building Company constructed both houses, and Wilde says “they do some of the best work in the area.”

“The foreman was at our place in the morning and at the Moore’s in the afternoon,” Dalldorf said. “It made it very convenient and saved us both a little money when building products were delivered.”

One building product was the cement used in the foundation and poured concrete basement walls. In addition to the thermal mass of the concrete, the walls are also insulated. “Fred’s basement would be where I would want to be during a hurricane,” Wilde said.

The basement has a large furnace/utility room and a large shop space which Dalldorf uses for his many woodworking projects.

Above the basement is a light-filled two-story home Wilde said was inspired by farmhouses that dotted the Carolinas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Scottish and German immigrants adapted European building techniques to local needs.

The house also boasts another favorite of early New England farmhouses through 1850, a Count Rumford fireplace which has a narrow at the top of a tall and shallow firebox, which allows smoke to ascend more quickly up the chimney and heat to radiate more effectively into the living space.

Dalldorf says the great room with what Wilde says is a modified Rumford fireplace is Dalldorf’s favorite room in the house. From a large leather chair beside the fireplace, Dalldorf has views of the pond and a cozy place to read by the fire. In addition to the western-facing sliding glass doors and large windows overlooking the pond, clerestory south-facing windows provide wonderful natural light into this great room throughout the day.

Jane also loves the great room and her adjacent home office which has views through the wrap-around sun porch of a Zen-style garden with water feature, Japanese maple, Weeping Yaupon, Dwarf Japanese Yews, and calla lilies.

Jane’s home office space could double as a nursery or young child’s room since it is across the hallway from the couple’s master bedroom suite. There is another office on the main floor of the house which Fred uses that is adjacent to the spacious foyer and great room.

A large eat-in kitchen with granite counters, hardwood cabinetry and stainless steel appliances is also on the main floor of the house. The breakfast area of this kitchen has views of the pond, too.

The second floor of the house has two bedrooms and another full bath. A large bonus room is also on the second floor above the oversized two-car garage. The garage is almost three garages as the doors are wide, and there is a large section where Dalldorf keeps lawnmower, tools and a lawn shop.

Although Jane and Fred love their Zen garden and their large pond, they say their favorite part of living in Talbryn is the neighborhood, itself.

“People are very warm and friendly, but not intrusive,” Jane said. “We have neighborhood parties, but there is no obligation to participate.”

“And the neighborhood is so convenient to the Carolina alumni center and the Dean Dome,” Fred said. “We drove there for dinner and a lecture the other night and it only took us 15 minutes at 6 p.m. — quite a bit of traffic at that time of evening.”

“I wanted to live in a place where I could feel safe about having outdoor living spaces and not be worried about anything,” Wilde said. “Everybody who lives out here loves it. There is peace and quiet and privacy and everyone knows their neighbors and their kids and dogs. It is 10 minutes from downtown Carrboro and 15 from Franklin Street.”

The Dalldorfs are now moving to the retirement community Galloway Ridge in Chatham County.

“It is a tough decision to make, but we are alright with it since it is still close to UNC which we both love, and we can take our golden retriever-mix Maggie with us (to Galloway Ridge),” Jane said.

“Maggie’s been with us five years and she’ll miss this place, too,” Fred said. “But our grandchildren — 12 between the two of us — are now ages 3rd grade through college and spread out over four states; so it’s time for us to move on.”

There are two other properties for sale in Talbryn. One is a 14.28-acre tract with driveway cut in and 2.5 acres cleared to build your dream home. Also on this property is a large boulder with a gurgling creek running nearby. For more information about this $285,000 tract, call Mehdi Zakerin at 919-357-1970.

The other property for sale is a spacious hilltop home at 7401 Talbryn Way. The open floor-plan house is set on 10-plus acres and has an attached two-car garage. For more information about this 3,911 square-foot home listed at $629,000 call Taylor-Hall Properties at 919-644-7000.

Chapel Hill News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service