Sometimes, in life, you are put into a situation that could be a huge mistake, or it could be the
best thing you’ve ever done in your personal and business life.
This situation happened to me last year. In fact, almost one year ago.
Sometimes, in life, you are put into a situation that could be a huge mistake, or it could be the best thing you’ve ever done in your personal and business life.
This situation happened to me last year. In fact, almost one year ago.
Some of you may remember, Joe was involved in an auto accident in Durham. That same day, I was working a deal for a local, historical generational home. I had to leave the meeting and almost forgot to call back after I found Joe ok, sitting up in the bed in the Duke ED.
I made the call only to find out the owner had decided to sell to someone else. Ok, not the first property I have lost.
I brought Joe home and spent the next few days trying to keep Joe still and did not give the property a second thought.
Then the call came in. On Friday, four o’clock in the afternoon.
The one and only question the owner asked, “What would you do with the property?”
My answer, “I would preserve the structure and grounds and turn the home into a boutique Inn. And in the process, I would name the Inn after your family. Give the proper respect to your family heritage by including portraits of your family members and give the guests an experience they would remember. Pinehurst is golf, history and luxury. The Inn would provide that experience.”
I remember those words. I practiced those words. I rewrote those words several times before I finalized my presentation. I thought I missed my chance to present my vision for this property.
The owner replied, “We will call back within the hour.”
Fifty-seven minutes later, I was thanking the owner for choosing my vision. I met the owner at her attorney’s office at five-fifteen and signed the contract. Fifteen days later, I closed the deal.
I owned another generational property in my hometown.
My mind and my heart were in agreement. I had fulfilled an ongoing personal goal of saving another historic Pinehurst home.
The first was Linden House. A French Provincial country house, built by the owner of the local sawmill and most of the land west and south of the area to be known as Pinehurst. This house
became my home. The home where I raised my kids and created an active family space we still enjoy today.
This new property is larger than the other historical homes I have owned and restored over the years. Linden House was a large home, over five thousand feet at the time of purchase. I renovated and added two wings to the main house. This house stood at sixty-four hundred feet on two floors. A full basement added another three thousand feet to the total.
This property, the Given’s House, was built by John and Irene Given in 1929. The property is three blocks from the Carolina Inn, the historic structure seen in advertisements for the area, and four blocks from the iconic Pinehurst clubhouse.
The property is affectionately known as “The New House”.
In areas like Pinehurst, wealthy families would build vacation homes, only to visit once or twice a year for the weather and access to world class golf. This was not the case with the Givens. Although they did not call Pinehurst home, they built their house for entertainment, for hosting family and friends in their Sandhills home year round.
The Georgian Revival was designed by Francis Y. Joannes from New York. Joannes designed numerous fine residences along the east coast. More information on Mr. Joannes see https://prabook.com/web/francis_y.joannes/1041267
The design of the house with the Flemish bond brickwork details, the double chimneys, the contained gutter system, the local lumber and stone sources combined to create a grand structure which became a comfortable home.
More information on Flemish Bond brick style see https://www.classicist.org/articles/flemish-bond-a-hallmark-of-traditional-architecture/
As the house stood, it contained ten bedrooms, eight full bathrooms and 1 half bath on the second floor. The entire ground floor was for hosting. A small foyer, grand hallway, large formal dining and living rooms, a full paneled study and kitchen flow from one end to the other. A two-stall carriage house with servant quarters above, a 20’ by 30’ ground level pool, a tennis court and greenhouse are spread across the grounds. Added benefit of a heated/cooled floored attic and a full basement, a detail not found in the local area at that time due to the abundance of sand, made year-round entertaining easy.
The lot is 1.4 acres in size. The rectangle shape is wider, running with the street, than deep. The blue stone pebble driveway and circular drive detail is repeated along the generational estates. Like most of the properties in this area, the grounds are planted with native plants and a few varieties brought in from the northern states. Rhododendrons, azaleas, and camellias planted many years ago are the stars of the gardens. Boxwoods of many varieties line the driveway and path areas. Ivy and creeping fig cover the entrance pillars and portions of the house, where the vines have been left unchecked. Large pots scattered across the landscape offer splashes of color during the summer and stately evergreens during the winter.
As lovely as this sounds, my road to restoring this property has had a few bumps along the way.
First was Joe. Not that he had a problem with me buying this property. After all, it was my funds and my vision. He is well aware of my long standing plan to save as many of these homes as possible. His issue was more personal.
He loves this house!
Having visited the West estate in Norfolk, VA, I see the resemblance between the Given house and the West house. This problem, I did not plan on having with Joe.
A few weeks after I closed the property, Joe was able to leave the house and walk without much issue. I had driven him by the house, around the house but he had not entered the structure. Once he did, my problem intensified.
“We need to live here” was all he said. He knew my plan to convert the property into an Inn. We had talked about finding a larger home for us but we both love the house we are currently in.
However, the layout and design of this property reminds Joe of his mother’s home in Norfolk. He had so little time with her but the memories are burned into his mind and heart. As part of my contract to buy the property, the owner agreed to leave most of the furniture and paintings in the house. Seeing the house furnished with like pieces, brought back so many memories for Joe.
So my task was not to talk him out of his vision of living in this house but see the potential of the house as an Inn. Easier said than done.
I started the renovation with the exterior of the structure. The original windows and doors were in very bad shape. Storm windows had been added at some point but offered little protection or insulation. The exterior doors were worn and a bit crooked from time. The brick was in need of a good cleaning and sealing. The grounds were overgrown and in need of a good trim.
Please note that the photos you’ll see this article are all the “before” pictures.
But before I could touch the structure, I had to file my plans of renovation with not only the county, the Village of Pinehurst but also with the historical society. Remember this house was built in 1929, making this property almost one hundred years old.
Having completed several historical renovations, I have a list of trusted sub-contractors in this area. One by one, I contacted and discussed the vision I had and worked through the issues
with the structure. With my subs in place with approvable plans, I filed with every agency I could think of that would have an interest in this property.
Sixty days later, my plans were approved.
Because of the facial condition of the bricks, I was granted approval to resurface. My plan was to limewash the brick, which will coat and protect the brick from further damage. This changed the color from a washed-out light red to a creamy, light greige color. This is lending to a more French Provincial vibe than Georgian Revival. This gives me a chance to change the facade to more French by adjusting the front door pediment, which was on the list of items to replace.
I made slight changes to the front facade plan, by changing the pediment and adding additional area to the front door stoop for easier access. The plan was approved and the conversion to French Provincial exterior was in place.
While standing on the front lawn looking at the evolution of the front facade, I realized the ground floor windows needed to be changed as well. Back to the window manufacturer to see if modifications could be made, I changed the front windows from the custom seventy-two inch long double hung window to a functionable custom sized french door. Four oversized doors, two of which were fitted into double doors, were built to fit the openings. This not only fit the new style of the exterior but also added to the safety of ingress and regress of the structure.
Back to the brick facade. The amazing and gifted brick and stone mason I love to use on these projects, has informed me the chimneys are in excellent shape and require no major maintenance. The detail woven into the chimney’s brick walls is stunning. During the limewash process, the mason asked to have the mortar lines tinted a couple of shades darker to highlight the detail not seen by the naked eye. This made a huge difference in the view from the ground.
The slate roofing is in excellent condition considering several fights with hurricanes over the years. That was a gift from the renovation Gods.
The last issue on the exterior, which combines with the interior process, is the 1960’s addition of a Hartley Greenhouse structure to the end of the house, which was the formal living room. This addition was used as a small conservatory-like room. More on this issue later.
While the exterior work was in process, I started on the interior.
My favorite part of the interior renovation is the kitchen. The original layout was a long, galley kitchen, designed for efficiency not aesthetics. The kitchen and breakfast areas were combined for a commercial kitchen layout. The marble countertops were removed and used in other areas of the house. New appliances were purchased. A ten foot by four foot working island and an eight foot by four foot eat-in island were installed. Black granite and stainless steel were used for the countertops. The original heart pine floors had been replaced in the kitchen with tile, which we replaced with a commercially approved tile. The owner had kept the wood for repair and replacement in other areas of the house.
A make-shift laundry room and the small butler’s pantry was combined to create a more functional pantry. An ice machine and a full freezer were installed as well.
Joe’s favorite room is the lounge. This originally was an office/study room, with an outside entrance from the back of the house. The walls are paneled in pine, floor to ceiling, with a fireplace facade clad with the same pine. After some investigation, we removed the panels covering the fireplace to find an original marble surround.
We decided the room needed a speak-easy atmosphere so we painted the room a dark color. It took three times to get the color right. Finally, I made the call to paint in a dark charcoal, Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams, one of my favorite colors. With the natural light from a few windows and an exterior door, the room works well both during the day and at night.
Being an avid reader, Joe wanted to add a library feel to the room. We kept the built-in bookcases and cabinets on one wall and doubled the space by adding more floor to ceiling bookcases. The small bar area was increased as well. This would be the gathering space for cocktails before dinner, an office space or an after dinner retreat. This room is still in process due to “you know who”.
The dining room was not altered. I repainted the space and had the dining table refinished. The table is designed to seat twelve, which is perfect for this space. The fireplace is flanked by serving areas with storage space, replacing a need for any china cabinetry. The window replacement of a new double door opens to the front lawn. A small outside dining space is being created adjacent to and under a beautiful pecan tree.
The foyer is small but works. A double door system keeps cold weather from entering the main house. Paint and new marble floors were the only items needed in this area.
The switchback or U-shaped staircase is in a small room-like area beside the foyer. Not a grand staircase like you may expect in a house this size, it is compact but very functionable. Again, paint and a few repairs to the trim were needed. The addition of an animal print stair runner has made an instant impact to this area.
At the front wall of the house, behind the staircase, is a half bath. New tile and period replacement fixtures were needed in this area. It seems this was the most used room in the house. The tile style and colors are consistent with the other renovated baths.
Upstairs, the guest rooms needed little renovation. Paint and trim repairs were made.
The bathrooms required the most renovation. Floor tiles were replaced with period-like penny tiles in black and white with black grout. The wall tiles were replaced with two inch by eight inch white subway shaped tiles, also with black grout. Period fixtures were replaced with efficient look alike fixtures to keep the 1920’s style. The black and white color scheme was an easy decision. The attached bedrooms will dictate the additional colors used in each bathroom.
The six guest rooms in the main section of the house have a fireplace and a private bath. Although the room sizes are not large, they are sufficient for a queen bed, dresser, side tables and a chair.
The four guest rooms over the kitchen area have been realigned to create two Jack and Jill suites. In the case of a small family, these two rooms give the privacy needed for children and parents, connected by a bath. In the two, two room suites, a room has a queen bed and the other a set of twin beds. An easy task with the original layout of the rooms.
The existing antique furniture has been cleaned and repaired if needed. New mattresses were purchased for the beds and new overstuffed upholstery chairs ordered for each room. The rooms were also outfitted with new bedding, which coordinates with the artwork in the room. Linen sheets, duvets and lots of pillows create a luxurious bed.
An original dumbwaiter, positioned within the pantry to the upper floor, was reconditioned and is in working order. A must have for any multi-story Inn.
Speaking of the dumbwaiter, the basement underwent a renovation as well. We created a small gym with a shower/bathroom, a larger laundry area, a wine room and a room for food and supplies storage. This supply room also has outdoor access from the driveway side of the house for convenience.
The last room to be renovated has required the most planning, redesign and work of the entire renovation. The formal living room.
The formal living room is at the left end of the house, which earlier I described as having a Hartley greenhouse structure attached to the end, outside wall. Also in the same area, there is a half bathroom that shares an adjoining wall with the living room that is accessed by the main hallway. This gave me an idea.
At this point, Joe is persistent about us living in this house. He has a thousand reasons why we should. But one point is still a full stop. No ground level bedroom. We are not getting any younger and the thought of climbing stairs several times a day is not positive. The only way we could pull this off is to create a sleeping space downstairs.
Back to the previous paragraph. My idea, forming into a solid plan, is to take the half bath, combined with the formal living room and make a primary bedroom suite.
Imagine walking down the grand hallway to a pair of double doors, which open into the formal living room. The first thing in the visual sight line is a beautiful marble surround fireplace. To each side, cased openings were cut into the exterior wall for access to the Hartely. This room mirrors the dining room on the opposite side of the house, with the built-in serving areas and cabinetry in place of the cased openings. Both rooms are twenty feet by thirty six feet in size.
With this size, this should be easy. But it wasn’t.
The size of the room is large but also limited with wall space. The front exterior wall of the house has a double door replacement, same as the dining room. The rear exterior wall has a replacement window, which is six foot wide and seventy two inches in length.
The interior wall adjacent to the hallway has wall space on each side of the door which I have installed custom armoires for closets. The same armoire cabinet was installed in the corner area on the rear and end exterior walls.
On the front exterior wall, six feet of wall area was used to create a small hallway and door area into the half bath to create a full size bathroom.
This is possible due to the fact that the half bath is much larger than most and as is, could accommodate a tub/shower. After several days, several measuring trips and a few missed meals, I have a plan.
The existing half bath, with door access to the hallway has been refigured into a wet room. To achieve this, the door in the hallway was closed to create the back wall of the shower/tub area. The freestanding soaker tub is positioned against the back wall. The shower area is fronting that area with a glass wall separating the vanity.
The area along the front wall was closed in to create a toilet room with a door. This area has a seventy two inch long four foot wide window, which can not be touched. The other half bath has the same size window, which I have installed plantation shutters in each for privacy.
In the opposing outside corner on the front exterior wall with the end exterior wall, a complimentary cabinet area with the back corner, was installed and designed to be a wet bar.
The floor tile and wall tile is the same tile as used in the other bathrooms. Problem solved, right? Not quite.
Joe asks, “How will we use the Hartley? And where will the bed go?” Good questions. And I have an answer.
Well, the bed will be in the Hartley, of course. After the old structure is removed and the new Hartley is assembled.
We are in the process of constructing the Hartley now. We have had really cold temperatures and some high winds the first weeks of 2024. Since the Hartley is constructed of metal framing and glass, it has taken longer than expected to complete. The floor is the last item, as it is a multi-part system of radiant heat and tile.
A bedroom in a greenhouse? Yes. The glass in the roof system has been replaced with an insulated metal roof panel. The three sides not attached to the house have the iconic gable facades. Under said gables are double doors that are operational.
The new Hartley size increased from twenty by twenty-four feet to twenty-four feet square. The metal color I chose is the black. It is a large size and I wanted it to fade into the lawn and sit quietly against the house. It also matches the replacement windows and doors of the house.
More information on the Hartley is here https://hartley-botanic.com/
I have ordered motorized shades to be installed in the Hartley for privacy. The bed I ordered has a six foot high headboard. On the backside of the headboard I will put a double dresser and mirror I found and restored. The bed will have three drawer small cabinets on each side for convenience.
I also have an enormous amount of houseplants that will likely be scattered around the outside walls. I plan to position the bed in the middle of the room. The latest items purchased for the Hartley are a pair of black and white zebra striped rugs.
Since electrical wiring had already been run into the existing Hartley, we were able to rewire to provide outlets, lights and a ceiling fan.
As an afterthought, I brought the brick mason back to determine if we could break through the outside wall of the chimney and make a double sided firebox. The answer was yes, and we did.
The demolition of the old Hartley began after the first of 2024. From Thanksgiving 2023 to New Year’s Day 2024, we were hosts for four planned events and two last minute events. These events gave me the chance to show Joe how well the house would work for Inn guests.
The first two events were for Moore Medical NC. The MDs and PAs were invited to come stay at Given’s house for the weekend. Our guests arrived Friday afternoon and stayed until Sunday afternoon. Joe was in his element with medical nerds, golf and beer. I shuttled the wives to spa appointments and shopping. The accommodations were a hit.
The next event was a memorial/reception for my godfather, Sol Lohman. Unplanned, as death always is, it was a chance to showcase the renovations to members of the community.
We also hosted an after-recital party for the dancers of Andy and Sarah’s dance studio. Santa Claus made an appearance and booked an event before he left for the north pole.
We also had a few family events, including a sleepover Christmas night. With six kids producing twenty-one grands, we tested the capabilities of the house. Surprisingly, we were able to house everyone comfortably with the addition of a few air beds. We will be keeping those as they work really well.
I still have many small items to complete. The pottery I ordered for the house will be delivered this week. This will be used for dinners at the house. The owner left the kitchen and dining items including the existing tableware that we have used so far.
The landscaping will begin as soon as we are out of frost danger. The tennis court was removed last fall as it was in dire shape. No plan to replace. And the smaller actual greenhouse has also been removed.
A complete renovation of the carriage house and apartment will also happen in the spring. I have the windows and doors, which were ordered along with the house items. I am also floating the idea of a pool house type structure in the area of the old greenhouse. I haven’t decided if it is needed.
The decision to open the Inn or move into the house and make it our home is still in the air. Joe has admitted how well the house would work as an Inn. But he is still talking about it as “The New House”. We have people coming in for the US Open in June. It would be nice to use the Given’s house for those guests.
Before I end this entirely too long article, I must explain the link at the beginning. As stated, John and Irene Given built this home. Irene was a proponent of and championed for lending libraries in all communities, which has morphed into our current local public library systems. A room in the Given’s house was used as a “family library”. Their daughter, Sarah Given Larson created the Given Memorial Library with an endowment in memory of her parents, John and Irene Given.
As the article stated, they are in need of more space for the Given Memorial Library and the Tufts Archives, since the village has taken over the operations of both. The Given Memorial Library has been in operation since 1964.
Background on John and Irene Given. John was in advertising and worked for Henry J Heinz. Irene was the only daughter of Henry J Heinz. Yes, that Henry J Heinz.