June 20, 2012

The Split~Level Home . . . an ingenious design for family living!

When it comes to picking a home to raise children in, there are few styles of homes that can compete with the split-level ranch house designs.  These versatile homes offer privacy, recreation space, and durability that simply can’t be matched with any other kind of house.  Even though many of the split-level designs are very similar to each other, they allow for plenty of individual character designs and décor.  From the outside, your house might look like every other one on the street.  The interior on the other hand, is all about you and your family.  Here is a look at why this type of home might be just what you are looking for.

The first and most obvious benefit of split-level house plans is the amount of space they contain. Popular homes for people with children, split-levels almost have as much square footage on the bottom floor as they do on the top. Whether the design is simply one floor on top of the other with a connecting staircase or a more asymmetrical multi-leveled version, split-level homes are laid out well and make full use of the space available. Another advantage is how the spaces are separated. The stairs and level offset can help isolate more private spaces (bedrooms and bathrooms) from more public ones (kitchen and living rooms). This isolation also psychologically affects the perception of additional space.

The layout of split-levels is another benefit. While the bedrooms are typically on the upper floor along with the kitchen, dining room, living room and one or more bathrooms, the bottom floor contains the laundry room, garage, large family room and often space to include another bedroom and/or bathroom. For parents with children, the family room becomes the playroom, a place where the kids can go and be out of the way.

Since the garage is attached, it can easily be accessed via a doorway. This has the double benefit of saving space on your lot. An unattached garage occupies a lot of space on a lot that could otherwise be used for a garden or lawn. With split-level plans the entirety of the home is self contained.

Although there are many different varieties of split-level house plans, all of them tend to share similar features. Among their common traits are attached garages, two stories, a basement or bottom level that is partially submerged and their asymmetry. Split-level homes can be in Ranch-style, Craftsman, or other style while still being considered split-level. While typically having two stories, some designs incorporate levels in between the stories. You might see a split-level home with a bottom basement level, a main level, and a smaller level with the bedrooms. Often, the entry hall might be on its own level as well. Different designs aside, there are a number of benefits associated with split-level house plans. From square footage to better utilization of the lot, split-level homes are intriguing in that they offer plenty of practical space while being adaptable to custom decoration.

Split-level homes are easily adaptable. Split-levels are typically feature plain architecture with an absence of adorning features. New or used designs offer a clean slate, a chance for the homeowner to customize it. This could be interior modifications or the addition of a deck, patio or simply repainting.

Split-level house plans offer many benefits. An abundance of space is perhaps the most compelling, as the homes are especially popular among home-buyers with children. It’s not like you have to have children to enjoy living in one of the split level ranch house designs.  They were originally designed for this use though, and it shows.  These kinds of houses are known for giving homeowners plenty of space, conveniently arranged.

With split-level designs, you get the most out of what is available to you and have the ability to upgrade and adapt your home in whatever way suits you. The split-level designs are also popular because they tend to be relatively easy to maintain. Split-level homes require straightforward maintenance and upkeep. Many of the same design features used in Ranch homes are found in split-levels, so maintaining the working parts of your home is not overly expensive.  It’s rare to find one of these houses made with hard-to-find materials.  This means that simple home repairs will only require finding a good contractor and buying standard building materials.

Take a peek at this most interesting slide show, put together by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Historic Preservation Division, that will take you on a historic tour of the Split-Level design:

Whether you are raising a family or just need some affordable extra space, the unique split-level house is worth looking into.  Give Greg Rapp a call at 704.213.6846 to explore the homes for sale and the possibilities of owning a split-level of your own in Salisbury, North Carolina! There is an affordable split-level home here waiting for your personal touch!

June 17, 2012

The Bernhardt House ~ Filled with Special Features!

The Bernhardt House, c. 1882 and on its original site at 305 E. Innes Street in Salisbury, North Carolina,  is a unique 2-story, late Victorian Italianate style and the cornerstone to the entrance of Historic Downtown Salisbury. This significant landmark is filled with special features above and beyond its expansive space (over 4500 square feet), its architectural integrity, and its prime location for a business.  Let Greg Rapp show you the details that take The Bernhardt House, at only $180,000, to a new level!
While the house has been through several renovations, many original features remain, and the renovations were done with respect to the house’s high style, architectural period, and design integrity. 

Let’s take a walk around the exterior of the home.  Because The Bernhardt House was refashioned to house office suites in the 1990’s, there are four entrances . . . the front entry across the front veranda to the main hall and parlors with original door and glass, a rear door that leads to the center hallway, and two more rear entryways, each leading to individual 2nd floor office suites.  The rear porch extends across the back of the house where a leaded glass window looks out to the parking area.

The house was built in 1882, but from the expansive parking lot at the rear (off E. Fisher Street), one can clearly see the 1940’s addition that was originally designed to hold kitchen space when the home was still a residence.  Notice the light poles around the home and in the delightful patio garden ~ there are (14) gas lights around the property!  What a special effect this has on The Bernhardt House and any business or family that may own this special piece of history!

And speaking of the patio garden…this courtyard style entertainment area is nestled between the no-longer used ramp drive up to the city sidewalk and the stockade fence along the Norfolk Southern Rail tracks, just off the parking area. Shade trees offer a leafy canopy over a large decorative concrete fountain basin and large stone benches.

Let’s walk inside. Throughout the main center hallway, up the stairwell, and along the upper hall, period wallpaper decorates the walls and lighting mimicking wall lamps of the Victorian era. The wood spandrel from the grand staircase across the hall is original and completely intact. You won’t find features like this in many homes of this era that are so carefully preserved.  The sweeping staircase itself is adorned with simple carved risers, also carefully preserved.

As we enter the grand first floor rooms, the first thing that will be impressed upon you is the 14-foot ceilings, perfect wall paper, and floor-to-ceiling windows (many complete with designer window treatments) that allow natural light to stream in. 
There are eight fireplaces in the home, one in each of the grand-scale rooms, originally intended for coal-burning heat.  Many retain original mantels and tile work.  But the modern touch on these beautiful architectural features is that many have been up-fitted with gas log systems, with gas logs in place. Those that do not have the log systems are still plumbed for gas and only need the addition of the logs. Where will you find an 1882 Victorian house under $200,000 with gas log systems in every original fireplace?

As we take in the modern touches seamlessly integrated with the over-the-top preservation effort that has obviously been painstakingly implemented at The Bernhardt House, you might not notice the ample number of electric and phone line outlets in each room.  So many older homes are loaded with charm, but lack the outlets required for today’s computer-reliant society.  Not so with The Bernhardt House.  This special Victorian structure is move-in ready and wired for today’s e-world. The many rooms equipped with built-in storage features additionally compliment modern life-styles.

The second floor of The Bernhardt House is distinctly divided into two separate suites, ideal for office spaces.  A main center hallway can take visitors downstairs to the main level that has one of the large parlors designated as a conference room.  Each second story suite has its own lavatory (there are no full bathrooms in the building), and a small kitchenette/breakroom area (there is no true kitchen in The Bernhardt House).  Downstairs on the main level, you will find another kitchenette area, and handicap accessible Men’s Room & Ladies Room lavatories.  There are (3) staircases in all: The main grand-hall stairwell, and two separate staircases leading from the rear suite entrances to the individual 2nd story suites.

As we head back outside, you will note that the large paved parking area is enclosed with 8 ft. high stockade fencing, providing both a visual and auditory barrier between other area businesses and the nearby railway. The parking area could easily be closed and locked to allow for entry at the owner’s discretion.
There is currently no access to The Bernhardt House from Innes Street, the main road from Interstate-85 through downtown Salisbury NC.  A staircase leads from the landscaped City sidewalk to The Bernhardt House front entry, however an iron fence encircles the front walkway and there is no gate.  New owners could easily install a gate for pedestrian access to the front entry.

Call Greg Rapp at 704.213.6846 to make an appointment to see these and many more fine details The Bernhardt House has to offer, at $180,000 ~ a 19th century restored Victorian gem, rich with details ~ waiting for you!

June 10, 2012

The Bernhardt House, c. 1882, Historic Property for Commercial or Residential Use ~needs someone with an eye for a diamond!

UPDATE (8/21/2014): The asking price on the Bernhardt House is now $149,900 ~ for over 4500+ square feet of living or commercial space!

The Bernhardt House is a unique property that acts as a cornerstone to the entrance of Historic Downtown Salisbury. This significant landmark sits on its original 1882 site and is a wonderful example of a 2-story, late Victorian, reflecting the two successive phases of the Italianate style.  The Historic Salisbury Foundation's 2010 refurbishment of the structure included new roof coating, new exterior paint, floor repair, new plumbing, and fresh interior paint. The Historic Salisbury Foundation has rescued, repaired, and returned the historic Bernhardt House to the market, looking for a compassionate buyer.

The Bernhardt House, c. 1882, although built as a family dwelling, has most recently been used as a commercial building with 8 large office spaces. The property is close to the commercial and entertainment area of Fisher Street, Salisbury's emerging Arts District, the Rowan County Courthouse, and downtown Salisbury and has ample parking in the back. The Bernhardt House is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places and qualifies for NC Preservation Tax Credits.  The Bernhardt House has a Preservation Agreement with the Historic Salisbury Foundation.
The 1882 Bernhardt House, at 305 East Innes St in Salisbury, North Carolina, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is arguably one of the more important symbols of preservation in the city. It stands at the eastern gateway to the downtown — the first noteworthy structure leading into what people consider Historic Downtown Salisbury and the last pre-20th century house left between the railroad corridor and I-85. The property is close to the commercial and entertainment area of Salisbury’s Fisher Street (aka ‘Brick Street’) with plenty of parking in the back.

The Bernhardt House features wood floors, high ceilings, period wallpaper, new paint inside and out, wide moldings, fireplaces seemingly in every room, a magnificent staircase, four half-baths, 10 rooms, space for up to four office suites, Victorian architectural features, ample green space for gardens, and rear parking for at least 14 vehicles. 

The 10-office house is rich in history, sitting near the front section of the historic Confederate Prison site and once housing one of Salisbury’s more noted families, the Bernhardt family.

Paul and Mary Jane Leake Bernhardt built the house in 1882 and remodeled to its present appearance in 1902. The Bernhardt family lived in the house until 1947, most notably George Bernhardt, a man who epitomized Southern gentility. People say the house is a monument to the man’s civility. People at one time nicknamed the house “Old Cinder Sides” because of cinders thrown against it from passing steam locomotives.

The Rufty family bought The Bernhardt House in 1948, when they added extra kitchens and dining room additions, converting the home to apartments. Rufty heirs conveyed the property to The Historic Salisbury Foundation in 1990, when it invested considerable funds stabilizing the house, then selling it to builder Eddie Beaver. Beaver did a full-scale, elegant restoration in 1999, purchasing a machine that would reproduce much of the house’s woodwork on site. The machine’s chisels were milled so that carpenters could match the surviving woodwork and return the house to its original appearance as much as possible. All the fireplaces were rebuilt, or restored.  Most of the interior doors are original to the house, except for a fire-rated door in the corridor.

During the 1999 restoration, the interior designer had carte blanche approval to design and supply furnishings for all the interior, and worked to have the structure look as it did 100 years ago. 

In several rooms, you will find anaglypta ceilings – vinyl wallpaper glazed and painted to return a rich, aged feel to the house - and lincrusta, the painting, and glazing of wallpaper to create borders resembling cornice work along the ceilings. Reproduction gas lighting, period furniture, bold wallpaper, plush area rugs, flowers, fittings, photographs, and mirrors recreated a feeling throughout for the late 19th century period of the house. 

An expansive upstairs hall, which seems like a good-sized room itself, leads into practical offices, where again attention was paid to Victorian themes and treatments on the walls and ceilings. 

In the downstairs hall, a spandrel (a spindle-work screen hanging from the ceiling) calls attention to the house’s dominant feature, a stairway that ties the house together structurally. Both the spandrel and stairs are painted and gilded. A stained glass window in back came from a local antiques store, assembled on-site to fit its spot.

The latest Historic Salisbury Foundation rescue of The Bernhardt House came in 2010, when the foundation repurchased it as foreclosure property from two banks.  It had been empty for a few years, but the Historic Salisbury Foundation knew The Bernhardt House was worth the reinvestment. Volunteers cleaned the house and grounds, clearing way for a repair budget to bring the house back to life. The paint budget alone was $20,000. Flooring experts replaced wooden floors; wallpaper experts restored plaster and made repairs; plumbing experts replaced all the fixtures and plumbing connected to the four bathrooms; crews replaced (13) windowpanes. Crews made carpentry repairs outside, remedied slight termite damage, and re-caulked everything to seal, as well as scraping and double-coat painting the original tin roof. The Bernhardt House even has new waterlines.  The property features a large parking lot, high wooden fencing, handsome light poles, and Victorian-styled gardens to the side and front.

Don’t discount the possibility The Bernhardt House could be a single-family dwelling again, but it is an extremely large  home where rooms open upon rooms.  The structure is not beyond a family, but it may be better suited as a business location and sits in a DMX zoning district (Downtown Mixed Use). The large house, over  4500 square feet with a plenty of paved parking and four exterior entrances, would be well suited for offices.

The rear of the structure is fashioned to provide three separate entrances into different parts of the house. The front entrance is decorative and welcoming, yet little foot traffic would be coming in from East Innes Street.

When Norfolk Southern Railway built a new, and higher, bridge over the railroad tracks in the mid-1990s, it created a different elevation, putting the house below street level and cutting off its vehicle access from East Innes Street, therefore the Bernhardt House has no parking or access off East Innes Street. The rumbling from passing trains actually is quieter than one might think. The train passes below the East Innes Street Bridge on tracks that sit in a ravine below the house that helps in damping the sound.  Some find the proximity to the trains of Salisbury and the near-by Salisbury Depot charming.

The Bernhardt House, at $188,000, is one of the many jewels in the crown of Salisbury North Carolina historic properties, and really is a jewel unto itself.  All it needs now is someone with an eye for a diamond, a diamond out of the rough.  Contact Greg Rapp at 704.213.6846 to see this jewel for yourself and find a new, special, unique, and historic site for your home or business.


Wineka, M. , (February 11, 2012). Bernhardt House back on the block for a mere $180,000. Salisbury Post.  http://www.salisburypost.com/News/021112-wineka-bernhardt-house-w-jon-pix-qcd

Wineka, M., (June 12, 1999). Bernhardt House: Saving a home with a lot of history. Salisbury Post. http://www.salisburypost.com/newscopy/061299bernhardt.htm

June 07, 2012

Open House ~ 1108 Gracebrook Drive ~ Sunday June 10th 3PM-5PM

Clean ~ clean ~ clean country living!   1108 GRACEBROOK DRIVE is an immaculate home with lots of elbowroom, right outside the City of Salisbury, North Carolina limits. This c. 1998, two-story, 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath home sits on over an acre of land ~ and is freshly painted and vinyl sided. 1108 Gracebrook Drive is in move-in condition with no updating required! Take in the views of the landscape either from the large deck in back overlooking the huge yard or from the cozy front porch. This home is in excellent condition both inside and out.

1108 Gracebrook is part of the Grace Ridge Community. When you purchase this home in this neighborhood, you will enjoy walking paths through the trees, a clubhouse, ball field, and pool. Each section of Grace Ridge is joined by walking paths.  

Charles Glover, on behalf of Greg Rapp, will be hosting an Open House at 1108 Gracebrook in the Graceridge subdivision:

Date: Sunday June 10th
Time: 3~5pm  

Come on out to see this special house with loads of space to live, play, relax.  The price was recently reduced to $164,900 . . . and this home is eligible for USDA Rural Housing Loans .  See you Sunday!

For more info: Contact Greg Rapp at 704.213.6846  or Charles Glover at 704.642.2471.

June 04, 2012

Rare Opportunity to Own Historic Firehouse in Salisbury NC

The beloved 1897 Old Salisbury Firehouse that once housed the fire department, the mayor's office, and the "calabose" ~ the jailhouse ~ is for sale in Historic Downtown Salisbury, North Carolina.  An opportunity to own a special building like this comes once-in-a-lifetime.  Any business here is sure to succeed.  The Old Salisbury Firehouse is surrounded by thriving businesses in the heart of downtown Salisbury, and the support network provided by Downtown Salisbury Inc. is unmatched.

The building, because of its original roots as a firehouse, has wonderfully unique characteristics, from its brass and wood cupola which once housed the fire bell to its high hipped roof punctuated with decorative gables featuring heavy console brackets on each elevation to the many other exterior features that leave The Old Salisbury Firehouse appearing much as it did when first complete in 1897. 

The Old Salisbury Firehouse is one of North Carolina's oldest firehouses.  The first firehouses here were often small buildings that reflected the nature of early American firefighting when citizens answered alarms with buckets, ladders, and eventually hand-powered fire engines.  Larger and more formal buildings appeared as the size of the hand pumps increased, and engine houses needed meeting rooms, sleeping areas, and accommodation for horses.  The State's oldest firehouse is a single-story brick building in Old Salem in Winston-Salem.  Built in 1803, the Market and Fire House served as both the town market and as a storage facility for the town's hand-pulled, hand-powered fire engines.  The Old Salisbury Firehouse, completed during the spring of 1897, housed Salisbury's Fire Department on the first floor, the city jail in a one-story rear section, and city offices on the second floor.  The fire department included four horses, four horse carts, two horse wagons, and hone hook and ladder truck. A one-story brick addition was added to the north side of the building by 1913 and was used to store the city's police wagon. The building continued to be used by the City of Salisbury as a fire station into the early 1960s, then stood vacant for several years before being adapted to a restaurant in the late 1970s.  A fire in the 1980 destroyed much of the building's interior, but by the 1990's it housed a florist and gift shop.  It now sits empty awaiting its new resurrection!

The structure retains many of its unique firehouse architectural features.  A heavy wooden cornice with console brackets runs around the edge of the entire roof, which has an attractive brass and wood cupola in its center that was the original site of the fire department's bell tower. The first floor is characterized by broad arched openings with striated brickwork frames that originally accommodated the wagons and horses of the fire and police departments. The second floor features a three-part square window flanked by two round-headed windows with heavy arched hoods with keystones.

Downtown Salisbury Inc, (DSI) a non-profit agency devoted to promoting, enhancing, and managing the development of Salisbury's central business district, helps to ensure that any business that might make its home in The Old Salisbury Firehouse is supported in a manner which will make the district the economic, governmental, social, and cultural center of Rowan County. DSI addresses the needs of impacting neighborhoods and businesses within and adjacent to the Salisbury Municipal Service District and accomplished this by promoting activity in economic restructuring, design, promotions, and building partnerships.

The Old Salisbury Firehouse building has recently undergone some minor interior rehabilitation.  Central Piedmont Builders recently created an estimate for further rehab work. For more information regarding estimated costs for further rehabilitation, or for a customized estimate to meet your individual business needs, contact Greg Rapp at 704.213.6846.  The building is a 4,300-4,400 square foot space in a mixed-use zone in downtown Salisbury, mere minutes from the Interstate-86 junction. The Old Salisbury Firehouse building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, making it a property that qualifies for N.C. & Federal Historic Tax Credits, and potential city grants. This special opportunity to own this landmark building in historic Salisbury North Carolina is available for the unbelievably attractive price of $188, 750!

The listing agent for The Old Salisbury Firehouse is Marie Leonard-Hampton of Wallace Realty.  You can contact Marie at 704.636.2021 or contact Greg Rapp as your buyers agent at 704.213.6846.  Call Greg Rapp to see for yourself the completely unique characteristics of The Old Salisbury Firehouse and learn more about opportunities in downtown Salisbury.

June 03, 2012

3rd Annual “Buy History” Event ~ Sunday June 3rd ~ 1PM - 4PM

Sunday June 3rd, the Historic Neighborhoods Alliance (HNA) hosts its 3rd annual historic open house event: "Buy History".  All real estate agents and home owners (For-Sale-By-Owner) who have homes for sale in any of Salisbury, North Carolina's  historic districts are invited to participate in an area-wide open house. By opening as many homes for sale as possible in Salisbury’s historic districts in one afternoon, the HNA promotes sales of historic homes, strengthens neighborhoods, and raises awareness of the benefits and livability of Salisbury’s downtown historic districts.

Salisbury, North Carolina is known for its rich heritage of Piedmont architecture dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Domestic and commercial buildings from a variety of stylistic periods contribute to the distinctive character of the downtown and adjoining neighborhoods.
Salisbury has taken a progressive approach to preserving historic resources, establishing itself at the forefront of preservation in North Carolina with the designation of its first historic district in 1975. Soon after, the City Council adopted a local historic overlay and established the Salisbury Historic Preservation Commission to oversee design review. In 1980, Salisbury was among the first five North Carolina communities to participate in the North Carolina Main Street Program.

Today the historic inventory includes ten districts as well as seventeen individual buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Five of these districts, including the downtown, are also locally-designated with design review for alterations or major changes. This stewardship of the downtown and historic neighborhoods, in conjunction with federal and state tax incentives with substantial private investment and Salisbury's Historic Preservation Incentive Grants, has resulted in an award-winning downtown and urban core that is revitalized, vibrant and authentic.

Buy History

The "Buy History" open house event will be held:

When: 1 to 4 pm, Sunday, June 3rd  

Where:  Homes in any and all of Salisbury’s historic districts (i.e. Fulton Heights, West Square, Downtown, North Main, Ellis Street Graded School, Brooklyn-South Square, Kesler/Canon Mill, Shaver Rental Houses, Long Street/Park Avenue Corridor, Salisbury Railroad Corridor, Livingstone College)

The "Buy History" flyer showing the fifteen (15) homes open for viewing can be downloaded at http://www.historicsalisburyhomes.com/images/stories/buy-history/2012_Buy_History_Property_List.pdf
A map showing the locations of each "Buy History" open-house can be viewed at http://www.historicsalisburyhomes.com/buy-history.

The HNA provides the following:
1.Flyers listing all of the open houses with a picture and basic details of each home
2.Maps of the open homes and the historic districts
3.Brochures on tax credits available to buyers including the possible 30% North Carolina HistoricPreservation Tax Credits and information on city grants for those in a local district
4.Brochures on the benefits of living in Salisbury’s historic districts and the differences between Salisbury’s local and national historic districts

For more information on The Historic Neighborhoods Alliance "Buy History" historic open house event, contact Realtor Greg Rapp at 704.213.6846.  Make a historic home in Salisbury North Carolina yours today!