The Craftsman bungalow at 506 N. Mendenhall Street is a standout on one of the most interesting blocks of one of Greensboro’s most interesting neighborhoods. It was sold recently for $650,000, more than twice its price 12 years ago. In its 102-year history, the home’s most notable resident may have been one of its most recent.
Westerwood was built out mostly in the 1920s and ’30s, just west of downtown on the north side of Market Street. The neighborhood is notable for its consistently attractive and diverse architecture. The majestic Double Oaks mansion stands near the head of North Mendenhall, with a collection of more modest bungalows, foursquares and a few Spanish Colonials and Prairie-style homes, many quite striking, arrayed down the rolling streets toward Lake Daniel Park. There’s even an outstanding Mid-Century Modern mansion overlooking the park on East Lake Drive, well hidden among the tress on what was probably the neighborhood’s last lot to be built upon.
I’m not sure what the cutoff is for “affordable” these days when it comes to buying a home. What I do know is that older homes are becoming more unaffordable every day, like every other sort of home. So it caught my eye when a little group of at least relatively affordable homes popped up this week. They’ll probably sell quickly — one already has, in a single day — but their appearance on the market does confirm that such houses exist.
None of these appear to require major restoration work. They’re all essentially move-in ready, as far as one can judge from the listings. They’re mostly smaller places in smaller towns. For the moment, at least, these look like the best opportunities for buyers looking for affordable historic homes in the Piedmont Triad.
It’s a sign of the times that the Haywood House went up for sale May 8, and the sellers accepted an offer four days later. Nineteenth-century mansions that need “a little updating and TLC” can linger for months before just the right buyer comes along. But these are still not ordinary times, and the Haywood House is no ordinary home.
Built in 1802, it’s a Classical Revival mansion with four monumental columns out front. It has four bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms (one with a fireplace in what must have originally been a bedroom) in 4,330 square feet (per county records; the listing shows 4,800). That divides out to a very modest $81 per square foot. The once-sprawling grounds have been reduced to a manageable 10 acres. The property is a few miles east of Mount Gilead in the Uwharrie National Forest. The address is 2989 Thickety Creek Road.
The Ernest Nissen House is one of the most striking and historic homes in the Waughtown-Belville Historic District, and this is the entire description in its new for-sale listing: “PROPERTY HAS NO PERMANENT HEATING.” May St. Joseph protect it, because the owner and listing agent don’t appear to care much what happens to it.
The house is associated with the Nissen family and the more than 100-year history of the Nissen Wagon Works just down the street. It’s listed at $189,900. It needs cosmetic work, but a surprising amount of interior detail has survived.
The Reynolds and Hanes families are as emblematic of Winston-Salem as Old Salem or Bethania. The Lewallens came along a bit later and never achieved the same profile, but they, too, built a business and made their brand the industry leader and a household name (in the Southeast, at least).
The Thad and Nell Lewallen House in Buena Vista sold last week for $980,615. It was designed by William Roy Wallace (more here), one of the state’s more prominent architects of the period. It’s a big (4,700 square feet), Georgian mansion with a slate roof and a view of the Forsyth Country Club golf course. Its rooms are elegant and spacious, as is the well-landscaped 1.28-acre lot.
Update: The MLS listing was withdrawn on March 28.
The owners of Double Oaks, the Harden Thomas Martin House, are selling it as a turnkey business, including the furnishings and fixtures. But if you need 6 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms and a commercial kitchen just for yourself and your family, it would serve quite nicely as a $1.795 million single-family residence.
The house has been impeccably restored. The interior is as attention-grabbing as the exterior. Originally operated as a B&B from 1998-2007, the current owners bought and reopened it in 2016. They’ve restored the formerly closed third floor and added extensive landscaping, making it an active venue for weddings and other events.
In the first half of the 20th century, James W. Hopper was the man to see about designing just about any kind of building in Leaksville, Spray or Draper. In 1923, he designed his own Tudor Revival home at 817 Washington Street in Leaksville. It’s been for sale for a long time (on and off for eight years) at a conspicuously low price, now $245,000 ($62/square foot). It’s now under contract.
There are some visible reasons for that price. The listing’s photos don’t make the house look like an all-out restoration project, but it could use quite a bit of updating (to use the language of the internet, your jaw will not drop when you see the kitchen and bathrooms). It’s right on the edge of the neighborhood, facing a busy thoroughfare. The air conditioning is unusual.
It’s an outstanding house, though, “the best example of the Tudor Revival style“ in the fine Central Leaksville Historic District, the district’s National Register nomination says.
A sign of the times: 137 N. Spring Street in Winston-Salem was listed for sale January 21. The price was $499,000. The sellers accepted an offer four days later. The sale then closed in 16 days. The buyers paid $552,500, more than 10 percent above the asking price.
It’s a great house — built in 1906, located in the Holly Avenue Historic District, beautifully designed and impeccably restored. Still, though, that sale went through at nearly the speed of light in terms of home sales, and even just a few years ago that almost ever happened. Now, it does. A $1.6 million mansion in Greensboro’s Irving Park went from listing to closing in 10 days this month, also selling at a premium to the asking price.
The George and June Newman House is in Greensboro’s Latham Park neighborhood, 1307 Latham Avenue. It was designed by architect J.P. Coble, who practiced in New York City.
Jack Pickens Coble (1909-1984) was born in Greensboro. “He graduated from the Cornell University College of Architecture, where he won first prize in the 1934 Baird Prize Competition, $35 and a gold seal, for designing a proscenium arch and a curtain for an opera house,” his obituary in The New York Times reported. His residential clients included Edgar Bronfman, Bennett Cerf, Stephen Sondheim and Mrs. Marshall Field.
Kitchens are among the trickiest rooms of historic houses. How do you balance historic character with practicality? Most homeowners are willing to sacrifice character for the benefits of modern lighting, adequate cabinet space and a convenient outlet for the microwave. With Mid-Century Modern, though, a time-capsule kitchen can be both livable and authentic.
Consider 108 Jackson Road in Mount Airy. Joe and Eleanor Powell built their home around 1955. Now, for sale for the first time, it’s in very good condition. The kitchen is beautiful, a trip back into the Age of Turquoise. Undisturbed by nearly 70 years of decorating styles, trends and fads, it’s worth celebrating.