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Architectural style makes comeback in Boylan Heights

Posted April 18

— An old fashion is making a comeback in Raleigh's Boylan Heights neighborhood. There, new homes designed in an old style are going up along Western Boulevard.

The traditional "shotgun house" was long and thin, with rooms lined up one behind the other. The architectural style allowed for homes to be packed close together, side by side. Builders Richard Johnson and Amy Goodale are riffing on that tradition with a new cluster of homes known as "Dorothea Gardens."

The 25 single-family, detached houses range in size from 800 to 2,100 square feet and in price from $275,000 to $400,000. 

"The shapes are simple," Johnson said. "We try to do everything on the outside of the house to make them look as much like an original house as possible."

The workmanship also evokes another era. "It's not one thing. It's every little detail we try to replicate to give it that historic feel," he said. "The porches are three-quarter-inch tongue-and groove, just like they used to make them."

Johnson and Goodale, a husband and wife team, are taking advantage of a trend that sees people moving back inside the city limits, sacrificing suburban space for urban convenience.

"Bigger is more space to clean," Johnson said with a laugh. "A larger mortgage payment (means) less money to spend on vacations."

Homeowners Sarah and Grant Turinsky are right in the sweet spot of that trend.

"I grew up in north Raleigh in a big subdivision, in a nice house, maybe four-bedroom, so it was a little bit different. But after going to N.C. State, I wanted to live downtown and stay downtown," Grant Turinsky said.

They have a 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom, 2.5-bath home that offers plenty of space.

"I have my 'man space' on the top floor, so that works out for me," Grant Turinsky said.

His wife said that, while the style was appealing, she never noticed that it might be a shotgun house.

"It's different, but people say that they like it, and we love it," Sarah Turinsky said. "It never even dawned on me that it's skinnier than normal."

3 Comments

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  • annie4 Apr 21, 11:52 a.m.

    The "shotgun house" had a hall from front door to back door- you could shoot a shotgun through the house and not hit anything... it was great for ventilation in pre-air conditioning days. The prices they are charging for these houses aren't for the square footage, which is, obviously minimal. It has to be for the location- inside the beltline. People are willing to pay $$ for postage-stamp sized addresses. I guess it's all in what you value.

  • zoso62 Apr 21, 10:41 a.m.

    Those are some ugly houses.

  • UpChuck Apr 21, 10:41 a.m.

    800 sq ft = $275,000? Umm, no thanks..