Local News

Neighbors breathe new life into Durham home saved from wrecking ball

Posted May 31

— After more than a year of hard work at the hands of a preservationist, a century-old Durham house that was close to being torn down is now on the market for $375,000.

The decrepit house at 204 E. Trinity Ave., in the historic Old North Durham neighborhood, was slated for demolition in December 2015 because owner Stuart Cullinan said the building was too far gone for him to renovate.

"Over the years, the house was mistreated," realtor Ellen Dagenhart said Wednesday. "The original door was pulled out, it had aluminum siding put on it, the trim was ripped off, and it just didn't look good at all."

Neighbors banded together to save the house from the wrecking ball, however, and persuaded Cullinan to sell the house to Pier & Curtain Home Restoration for less than $100,000.

204 E. Trinity St.

"It's part of the fabric of Durham. People are not building new houses that look like this," said John Martin, who helped rally the neighborhood to save the house.

A salvaged sink was installed in the kitchen, a claw-foot tub was restored and repurposed for the master bathroom and old pine boards were used for the floors.

"You certainly got a house with soul here," Dagenhart said.

"I think one of the reasons some people don't want to do something like this is it's more complicated, and they don't know exactly what they will find. So, just tear it down, build a new place and start over," Martin said. "If somebody tells you a house can't be saved, find somebody else, because they're wrong. It would be a shame to see them all torn down and see them build little McMansions that all look the same."

Dagenhart agreed that new isn't necessarily better in neighborhoods.

"We want something old because it makes us feel comfortable in a way that something new does not," she said.


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  • Kelly Birdsall Jun 1, 6:21 a.m.
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    Thank you to the people involved in saving this house! Thank you for seeing what it could be & for caring about history!! Thank you for not being like everyone else in our disposable society today! History matters even when some people 👇🏻 Don't get it!!!

  • Kelly Thornburg May 31, 8:14 p.m.
    user avatar

    What foolish individual would pay $375,000 for a corner house so close to the street? And how classic and authentic can it be when only the front portion of the home was "saved"? Everything else was an add on.