Where We Live: Before and after – the restoration of a 1930s bungalow in Carolina Place

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Where We Live: A weekly look at the homes in the Cape Fear Region

WILMINGTON — Ever considered a home renovation? A local business woman has put her blood, sweat, and tears into a major restoration of an old dilapidated home in the Carolina Place neighborhood.

This week’s “Where We Live” takes you inside 2109 Barnett Ave. in Wilmington, a 1930s home recently restored and placed on the market by Harvey’s Home Solutions. The local business is run by Mari Ann Harvey, who has worked to completely transform the one-story house from neighborhood eyesore into what she says, is one of the top properties on the market in the Carolina Place area.

Harvey purchased the home from an investor in September 2015 and soon after began demolition. Harvey said many people walked away from the 87-year-old bungalow, but she saw potential.

“You get a lot of people in these homes that don’t know what their doing and they see the walls falling apart, wood rot, termite damage … and that’s why a lot of these houses sit and nobody buys them,” Harvey said. “There’s a lot that goes into the this process … it takes a while to restore a home. It’s just time consuming and very expensive. It takes a lot of work.”

A before and after renovation shot of the Barnett Avenue home. Old photo courtesy of Mari Ann Harvey.
A before and after renovation shot of the Barnett Avenue home. Old photos are courtesy of Mari Ann Harvey.

With the help of a friend, Harvey redesigned the old home into a three bedroom, two bathroom home with additional living space. During demolition, Harvey’s crew gutted the house, replaced the roof, took out the aging garage, knocked down walls, replaced doors, moved the electric service, changed the rooms, and even added what has now become the family room.

“The family room is unique to these types of homes. Usually, you will have a formal living room and that’s it,” Harvey said. 

Much of the house needed to be moved, replaced or updated for the restoration. The entire floor plan of the house was redesigned for an open layout, Harvey said, with added square footage from the family room. Now at 1,400-sq. ft., the family room has cathedral ceilings and is open in a “shotgun” style to the kitchen, dining room and formal living room.

The master bedroom has also been relocated and is lined with windows, which add plenty of natural light into the room.

The master bedroom is lined with windows and has a full bathroom attached.
The master bedroom is lined with windows, and has a full bathroom attached. (Photos by Christina Haley)

The house has an updated kitchen with ceramic tile floors, shaker kitchen cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. Crown molding has been placed throughout the home, with other accents, including breadboard in the bathrooms, shadow box wainscoting in the formal living and dining areas, and artistic gingerbread on front porch in addition to new porch railings.

The home sits on a .08 acre lot and has all-new landscaping, Harvey said.

Though the house has been fully restored, it still has some of its original features, including some of the hardwood flooring, some windows, doors, archways, trim, baseboards, and the fireplace mantle. 

The Barnett Avenue home is the 35th Harvey either renovated or restored since she began her restoration business nearly two decades ago.

“We employ people and we change neighborhoods,” Harvey said. “One of the things that amazes me is that every single time we go in a home and start fixing up, everyone around you starts fixing up their homes, even if it’s just raking … they start working.”

Harvey tries to restore least two homes per year in between spending time with her husband and five children. Her love for restoration and renovation was sparked by a home school project she and her husband did with her children to teach them about electricity, plumbing, and other aspects of renovation.

“That’s where I started out and it just grew into a business,” Harvey said.

What does it take to get through the involved and sometimes grueling process of home restoration? “Blood, sweat, and tears go into a lot of it … and money,” Harvey said.

The view from the front door into the home. This style has an open floor plan throughout the formal living room, dining area, kitchen and family room.
The view from the front door into the home. This style has an open floor plan throughout the formal living room, dining area, kitchen and family room.

Her work in Wilmington has won an award from the Historic Wilmington Foundation last year for her work at 1911 Nun St. in Wilmington. It’s one of several homes she has helped to restore in the area, including the Barnett Avenue home, which is now listed in the foundation’s “Historic Buildings For Sale” section of its website.

“It’s interesting to have the neighbors come by and say thank you,” Harvey said. “It’s very gratifying and if you make a little money in it, all the better. It’s not a million-dollar business for me. It’s just a little hobby.”

The Barnett Avenue home is a little under two miles from downtown Wilmington and within walking distance to Wallace Park, which has a playground, basketball courts and an open grass area. The neighborhood also has lots a sidewalk space, perfect for walking dogs, taking a stroll or riding a bike.

Harvey said the Carolina Place neighborhood is a close community, with diverse group of friendly people, and even has a Facebook page for community updates.

“These people who live here love their neighbors,” she said.

For families, the Carolina Place neighborhood is zoned for Forest Hills Elementary School, Williston Middle School and New Hanover High School. This home is priced on the market for $274,900.

Take a video tour of 2109 Barnett Ave. in Wilmington:

For more information about the Barnett Avenue home or to take a tour, contact Mari Ann Harvey at harveyshomesolutions@yahoo.com or call 910-302-7284. Additional information about the home and local business can be found on the Harvey’s Home Solutions website.

Where We Live is a weekly feature looking at the homes and unique places to stay in the Cape Fear Region. Do you have a home, on or off the market, that our readers may be interested in seeing? Let us know at PCD@localvoicemedia.com.

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