The Maya Angelou House has had a $1 million-plus makeover since she died in 2014, so it’s quite different from what it was when she lived there. But it was her house for 20 years, so it definitely deserves its name. It’s for sale now at $2.395 million.
Maya Angelou became the third owner of the house in 1994. She had come to Winston-Salem in 1981 as the Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest. After her death, the house was bought for $500,000 by Shelley and Daryl Bible. The current listing agent told Triad Business Journal that the couple “wanted to stay true to the essence of the home and its legacy, but it needed a lot of renovation.”
Worth noting: The house is also known as the Isadore and Rachel Meschan House, and they were quite notable themselves. Isadore and Rachel both were doctors; he was a radiologist, and she was an OB-GYN physician. They both taught at the Wake Forest medical school, and they wrote medical textbooks together. They commissioned a cousin of his, architect Keeva Kekst, to design the house and lived there from 1960 to 1982. Kekst, like cousin Isadore, was from Cleveland, and at the time he was just getting started as an architect. Kekst is best known — nationally renowned, actually — as a designer of shopping malls, of all things, and office buildings, but he designed a few houses, too (his own second home [PDF, 2019 listing] in Chautauqua, New York, is worth a look).
The house has six bedrooms, four full bathrooms, two half-baths and a two-car garage. A guest house has two bedrooms and two bathrooms over a three-car garage. There’s a small detached studio as well. The total square footage is 7,450, according to county property records. At $2.395 million, that comes out to $321 per square foot, which is way up at the high end even for top-of-the-line Winston-Salem mansions. The lot is a spacious 2.72 acres.
“Additions included rebuilding [the] three-car detached garage with guest quarters above it, construction of a large open kitchen and great room with a giant wall of windows, and an elevator,” The Business Journal says.
“Some of the original flooring was preserved. Tile, cork and wood flooring milled from trees cut on the site is new. Some exterior stained glass and original iron stair railings remain.”
The landscaping is notable, too. Rachel Meschans was quite the gardener, according to Winston-Salem’s Architectural Heritage, and landscaped the site extensively. The current owners engaged internationally known painter Chin Chin Tan to redesign the landscape. Ms. Tan is originally from Singapore and now lives in Winston-Salem.
Here’s a look at the house when it was for sale in 2015 and a video, followed by the house as it looks today: