Weymouth Historic Home on EDS Tour
The 33rd annual Episcopal Day School Candlelight Tour of Homes will be held Sunday, Dec. 5, from 1 to 6 p.m.
This year's tour features five homes in Pinehurst and Southern Pines, each uniquely decorated for the holiday season. Talented local musicians will be entertaining in the residences. Proceeds from the tour fund a variety of needs at EDS, including technology and media, educational materials and supplemental programs for the EDS students and teachers.
If you've driven down May Street in Southern Pines in the last few months, undoubtedly you've noticed the busy work crews at a cottage two blocks from the Episcopal Day School. The vanilla-colored, 1880s cottage, on the north side of May, is the home of Ed and Michelle Peele, a husband and wife design/build team. The Peeles have restored or remodeled 25 homes, eight in the Weymouth neighborhood, and have a passion for historically sensitive renovations. This cottage presented its challenges when they purchased it last summer, but Ed and Michelle preserved many of the historic features of the home as they modernized it.
Michelle is the author of "Glimpses of God," a book she wrote to raise awareness for organ donation after the tragic death of their young daughter in a car accident in Moore County. Additionally, Michelle is an accomplished artist working primarily in encaustic art, which mixes photography, etching and hot wax. Her art can be found in several galleries in North Carolina.
Last summer, the Peeles were happily settled into another home they had remodeled from top to bottom, just around the corner on Massachusetts Avenue. One day, a couple approached them about selling them their home. After some deliberations, they sold their yellow cottage and set out to find another home in their beloved Weymouth. With a tight inventory available, their Realtor asked them to take a look at the May Street cottage "with open minds."
The cottage, hidden behind massive trees, was crumbling to the ground and had holes in the roof, which caused extensive damage. The layout of the home was even worse, but something in Ed clicked and he "fell in love with it." Michelle was less forgiving of the mess of the structure
"Between the busy traffic noise on May Street and the holes in the roof, I thought Ed was nuts," she says.
Ed's vision for the home won Michelle over, and she threw her energy into the challenge of bringing the cottage back to life.
"We were going for the old English cottage feel," says Michelle.
That was the beginning of a remodeling adventure for them.
With an extremely tight deadline of only 50 days, the couple started the design and remodel.
"I used to think 90 days was a tight deadline," Michelle says jokingly.
The first step was fixing the roof, followed by completely gutting the home to the studs. When they gutted it, they realized that the home had been added on to four times since its original construction around 120 years ago. At the center of all the additions was a room, approximately 10 by 10 feet with 12-inch thick walls. After digging around historical records, Michelle has concluded that the room was an original tenant home on a plantation that encompassed much of the downtown of Southern Pines.
Ed and Michelle changed the layout of the interior rooms to create better flow and a modernized feeling. They also relocated the front door to the far right in order to fix the tight foyer challenge. They tore out old, inefficient windows and installed energy-efficient windows, which had the added benefit of soundproofing the home from the traffic on May Street. Crews dug through layers of flooring to the original heart of pine wood floors. They re-purposed old slate roofing tiles as flooring in two rooms. They brought the plumbing and electrical up to code. After 50 days of fast and furious construction, Ed and Michelle moved into their finished home.
The result is remarkable; to think that the house was almost entirely rebuilt, decorated and fully landscaped in 50 days is nearly unbelievable. Entering the front porch, visitors are led through a light-filled sunroom. Off this greeting area is the large dining room with a gas fireplace and a dining table that easily accommodates 8 to 10. A butler's pantry is tucked away toward the street side in a space that was originally the front foyer. Next to the dining room is the brand-new kitchen with pewter gray finish, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and a large butcher-block island. The kitchen is located in the space of the original tenant room and the 12-inch thick original walls remain. From here you access the rest of the rooms in the home.
In the kitchen is the original, very narrow staircase which is barely 24 inches wide. Up at the top of stairs is the guest bedroom decorated in antiques with apple green and chocolate bedding. Across the hall is a charming bathroom with the original claw-foot tub.
Off the kitchen is the entrance to the master bedroom and master bath. The bedroom is decorated in subtle neutral shades. Ed and Michelle saved the original fireplace, but because of the home's redesign, the fireplace is now in the master bathroom. "I love it," says Michelle. "I'm the only one I know with a wood-burning fireplace in her bathroom!"
A new shower, custom cabinetry and another claw-foot tub round out their master bath.
tothe another side of the kitchen is the living room which has another fireplace and a built-in, custom bookcase. It's warm, cozy and the handsome decorating amplifies the old English cottage design. The living room overlooks the back gardens with a gentle waterfall, Michelle's lavender garden and her artist studio adjacent to the main home. Tucked around a cobblestone path is Ed's workroom.
Now that they are settled into their May Street cottage, Ed and Michelle are onto their next remodeling project: their Maine farm. They will have nature to contend with as the hard Maine winter will set in soon.
"You are invited to visit this and all the homes on the 2010 Candlelight Tour and help EDS continue its tradition of academic excellence in the Sandhills," says a spokesman.
This year's homes are located in Forest Creek, the village of Pinehurst, Country Club of North Carolina and in Weymouth, Southern Pines.
Tickets for the Candlelight Tour cost $15 in advance or $20 the day of the event. They can be purchased from any Episcopal Day School student, the school office, and at the following outlets: The Country Bookshop, Natures Own/195 and Gulley's Garden Center, all in Southern Pines; One Eleven Main, in Aberdeen; and Lady Bedford's Tea Parlor and Gift Shoppe and Cool Sweats, in Pinehurst.
Ticket sales are available online at www.episcopalday.org or call EDS at (910) 692-3492.
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