12/29/13 — Virginia Street rebirth: Desire to preserve history leads to home restoration

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Virginia Street rebirth: Desire to preserve history leads to home restoration

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on December 29, 2013 1:50 AM

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An open house was held earlier this month for the recently renovated home of Jay and Amy Bauer at 108 N. Virginia St.

It took three years for Jay and Amy Bauer to turn their dilapidated house into a home.

But this month, the couple opened the doors to the renovated home on Virginia Street to show what happens when an appreciation for history merges with a substantial investment and a little elbow grease.

The Bauers bought the house in May 2010 from Preservation North Carolina for $25,000 and set to work, commuting to the house from California a few times a year.

It took time -- the house had been sectioned off into apartments and the inside staircase removed. Much renovation work was required, as was a complete redo of the electrical and plumbing systems.

Now, it is a single family home restored to its original glory -- and a testament to what someone can do with one of these properties once thought to be ready for nothing but a demolition crew.

After three years of commuting the Bauers moved to Goldsboro in July for a momentous push before moving into the D.W. Davis house in August.

"We want people to see that it is possible," Amy said. "You get these houses and you put about $150,000 in them and you have a really nice house."

To build the Bauers' home from scratch today would take about $800,000.

The D.W. Davis house is a Victorian-style home that was built in 1900.

The Bauers renovated the almost 5,000-square-foot house carefully, restoring it to Preservation NC standards, while still adding a few modern conveniences.

Among its features are an up-to-date alarm system, a trash compactor and denim Ford blue cabinets painted with auto paint meld with five-panel doors and a period railing scavenged from other houses that have been demolished.

The open house was a part of requirements for acquiring once of the homes -- a chance to show others what the possibilities are for properties that otherwise would go untouched.

City officials say there is a benefit for the neighborhood, too -- a chance to turn a block of homes once neglected and rundown into a new, high-end neighborhood.

"Wow, it's unbelievable," Mayor Al King said. "I know what this house looked like before. Look at it now, it's absolutely gorgeous. In 15 to 20 years, this will be the most expensive area in Goldsboro."

A favorite room for many was the sleeping porch.

"The sleeping porch is for the grandkids," Mrs. Bauer said. "We'll have them in their own room on the second floor."

Preservation NC President Myrick Howard came to see the progress on the house.

"I came to Goldsboro in my first week on the job," he said. "That was 35 years ago. I also remember how this house looked before and the change it's been through."

Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. Director Julie Metz has been a big proponent of the Preservation NC initiative in Goldsboro and was excited to see the work the Bauers have done.

"It's exactly the intent and purpose of the neighborhood plan to have a house like this," Ms. Metz said. "A single-family dwelling restored to its original glory."

The Bauers still have a bedroom to finish, but they were proud to show off all the work they have completed -- and to suggest others can do the same.

Jay said that having people in the neighborhood, as well as upcoming projects associated with the $10 million TIGER grant, will likely attract more people to take a chance on a renovation project.

He has been working on the renovations seven days a week since August in preparation for the open house.

Now that the open house over, Jay says he can slow down a little and think about another project -- the house next door.

"A few of us are planning to get together and do it to get it on the market," he said.

This year two Preservation NC properties have sold, a house on South William Street and a former florist at 311 N. George St. Offers are in on two others.