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Shadetree Construction

Charles T. Holt House

“The Big House”

circa 1897



Situated on 23 acres along the Haw River stands the majestic Charles T. Holt home.  Thomas T. Holt, governor of North Carolina had built this home for his son, Charles and his new bride, Gena Jones Holt, daughter of the governor of Alabama. He contracted well-known architect, George Franklin Barber to design the ornate Queen Anne mansion.  Diane had been watching the property through the Preservation site for a year or so.  The preservation folks encouraged Diane to make an offer on the property, so she did. Ironically, the matriarch of the property passed away the day after the offer was made. Diane thought that perhaps, that was why the offer was accepted. “They also knew what I could do for the house,” she said. Excited and a bit overwhelmed, Diane looked at the property as a long-term investment, but the longer she studied it, the more she fell in love with it. She decided to move into the home while planning the renovation. “It was like living in the country in the city. The property was very overgrown and rundown,” Diane explained. “The house was pretty much all original with typical upgrades like the conversion of gas to electric. The house was very well made. It’s a cool place.  A lot of the framing is walnut. I suspect it was cut off the land. The first project in order to live there was to replace toilets and a central heat system so we could live there. Our plans were for a complete renovation, enlarge the kitchen, add a bath, etc. I speculated it would be a one to two year project since I wouldn’t be working on it fulltime. “ she explained. As additional jobs came in along with the opportunity to move the “Craft” house to the farm, the renovation slowed but work on the property continued clearing, cutting barbwire, stabilizing buildings and adding more fence each year. Also, Diane was able to obtain the only thing that had been missing from the property, a windmill. At some point the windmill that pumped water into the cistern in the attic had been removed. Diane was able to obtain the windmill across the street from the Thomas T. Holt house, which had been torn down years ago.  She hopes to resurrect it where one once stood.  When asked what it was like to move into this grand lady, Diane laughingly replied, “Big! Big house, fourteen foot ceilings, eight foot doors, everything was big!”

And the journey continues…

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