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Raleigh Man "Bags" Himself a House

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RALEIGH — A historic Raleigh community isn't letting an empty building go to waste. When a neighborhood grocery store closed down it wasn't just left abandoned. It was fixed up and given new life.

Boylan Height's Cutler Street grocery was so important to its neighbors that, when it closed down nine years ago, they formed a partnership to buy it, renovate it and get it back in business.

"Once in a while," says David Bonomo, "I still get someone coming in looking for a soda or something."

But would-be customers can't find sodas, snacks or sandwiches for sale here anymore. Bonomo has added a second floor and now calls it home.

"I'm still currently under some renovation with the downstairs. And I have a few things to finish upstairs, but I'm thoroughly pleased with how it has turned out," he says.

An art gallery may one day grace the ground floor. The back half is Bonomo's workshop and garage. A separate entrance leads upstairs to the residence.

"All the flooring was recycled from the old walls of the grocery store. And all the stairs were recycled from the old ceiling joists."

Some places bear traces of the old paint, and there are some old termite burrows.

Bonomo not only saved on materials, he saved on labor. Save for the help of one friend, David did the work himself.

"I saved quite a bit of money. I'd say in the real world, it probably would have cost twice as much as it originally did," he said.

The house fills the lot, so David saves on yard work as well.

The home also fills a hole in this historic neighborhood with just enough flavor from the old grocery left to fool some of the old customers.

And you might say that David Bonomo's job helped him "bag" the house.

He makes his living renovating historic homes.

He learned about the availability of the old grocery store while working on other homes in Boylan Heights.

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Rick Armstrong, Reporter
Rick Armstrong, Photographer
Kay Miller, Web Editor

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