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Our Home

Sometime in May I had a melt down. It was one of those moments when everything spills over. In my heart I knew we had messed things up. We had made the wrong decision to move from Chicago to North Carolina. It had been rough ever since our arrival – pinching pennies, missing friends, home, the life we knew, conveniences, culture, routine. I’ve had three different positions as work since I arrived and a schedule that was never consistent. We made due trying to get out as much as possible, visiting family, taking advantage of all the natural beauty North Carolina has to offer but there was always this nagging feeling that it wasn’t right. We were forever in limbo.

The afternoon of my melt down I went to work. Nathan texted me. The house that he had his eye on since we had moved – basically our dream house – had fallen through with it’s previous possible buyers. It was on the market again. And, the ball started rolling. Here was something that could give us hope. A foundation. A home. With the help of Nathan’s parents who know an awful lot about buying old homes we were putting an offer in exactly one week later.

The house is called The Boyd House. It was built in 1890 by a carpenter named Thomas M. Young as well as the smaller house that sits directly behind it. At the time Mr. Boyd was living in the smaller house next door, and then purchased the T-shaped farmhouse in 1930 from Mr. Young. It has been in the Boyd family ever since. Sometime in the 70s we believe there were two additions put on the back of the house. It is on a corner of East Main street and sits on a double lot! The yard is spectacular! Grandpa Boyd had a victory garden here after the war, and appeared to have gardened for many years. The soil is black – this is rare in North Carolina and is probably a result of years and years of working it. On our second visit to the house I found a four leaf clover in the yard. Usually four leaf clovers grow in batches but I haven’t been able to find one since.

The previous owner (grand daughter of Mr. Boyd) who we purchased it from has boxes of old photographs and memories to share with us soon! I can’t wait to see. To relish in the history of this home and carry on new traditions.

Needless to say the home purchasing ordeal carried out for some time. Nathan’s dad said that this was the most absurd and irregular home purchase he’d ever been a part of. I believe him on that one. There was a lot of back and forth between the appraiser and the lenders. It was almost as if the lenders didn’t believe what the appraiser was saying, and kept forcing him to change his appraisal. Every Friday would come with the hopes of hearing good news, but nothing. Until a few weeks ago. On Tuesday July 31st we signed on our very first home. The signing was a bit unconventional, too. We actually did it in the home! The lawyer came, my in-laws, our nephews! It was a family affair! Even as I signed the last paper I had to ask the lawyer if this was really IT? What could go wrong now? He said pretty much nothing. We all breathed a sigh of relief.

The house is going to need years of work but we have high hopes. Nathan ripped up the carpet the next day to find beautiful hard wood floors underneath and some not so pretty. A good sanding and shine will help that in the next year. We have work to do on the foundation, the roof, the addition (which appears to have been eaten by termites) and the house while it has duct work for AC does not have a unit. Other than that it is totally habitable – heat, two bathrooms (though somewhat makeshift in my opinion), a living room, dining room, kitchen, parlour, library (or what will be a play room), and three bedrooms upstairs. It’s huge! Almost overwhelmingly huge. Eleanor runs through the rooms like a bandit and half the time I don’t know where she is. Baby gates will come in handy for a while.

For being in East Durham you’d be amazed by how quiet and natural the setting can be. We’ve seen multiple variations of butterflies, birds chirp for hours, hummingbirds fly to the windows, and there are two rosemary bushes and a camellia bush plus a couple dozen other plants and trees I’ve yet to identify. We are pretty excited for what is to come – both the work and the reward.

1943 2117 E Main St
The Boyd House, 1943

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The Boyd House, 2012

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The yard

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The front porch

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The original front door

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Dining Room (before carpet was pulled up)

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The house has all of its original hardware

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Living Room (before carpet was pulled up) – Only working fireplace

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Foyeur + Stairs (before carpet was pulled)

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Wall fabric in hall

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Ornate mantle in parlour

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The day it became ours!

Okay so that was a lot of pictures! And, I have more. Eeep! Nathan is going to make a site to document our home restoration progress, too. Here’s to an exciting adventure!

10 Responses to “Our Home”


  • Oh my, it’s beautiful! I love the staircase, and the wall fabric is kind of amazing! Have you guys begun moving things in?

  • What an amazing home. I’m very happy for you all and excited to see what you do with your new space. :)

  • It’s so beautiful! Congratulations. You are so lucky to know some of the history of the home too!

  • My eyes got a little teary for you guys! I know how hard it is to move and miss the life you feel like you left behind, but I guess the truth is you take that life with you when you leave. The house is beautiful and I can’t wait to see how you decorate it. And that yard!!!! No more Urban farm–practically now a real one (and chickens???)

  • Congrats! I hope moving into this new home will help settle that feeling of uneasiness. It definitely has good bones (dying over that backyard space!), and I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  • My dearest,Carey,I’m so proud of you. I know that feeling of leaving behind old friends and moving to a new location can be very stressful. But,you and Nathan have something most people only dream of. You are young and strong minded and smart,resourceful and extremely talented.
    The feeling of owing a home is very strong, it changes your perspective on things. I love your home it’s great that you know it’s history and that it is an established homestead,it has such possibilities.
    I hope you will have room for the antique dresser and bed that was your namesakes. It truly deserves to be in a home such as yours. I also have another antique dresser from the forties with the large circular mirror and I also have mom’s very first store bought bed and chest of drawers.
    I’m tentively planning to visit you in the next few weeks. I wish you and Nathan the best. I assure you things will get better and you will feel at home and your little family continue to grow. My love always PoPs

  • Congrats – the house looks amazing! I can’t wait to see how y’all turn it into a home.

  • congratulations you guys!! it is indeed a dream home. love all the character and the history it has. we dont get that here in miami.
    you are a brave pregnant mama for taking on such a project.
    many blessings!

  • What a beautiful home, complete with history and charm! Very happy for you guys!

  • wow! That looks like the American dream home!! You certainly dont get beautiful old homes like that in New Zealand!!

    Hope your family is happy in its new digs!

    x

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