Until she closed on her home in Greensboro’s Lindley Park neighborhood, Margaret Winslow had never heard the term “possum-trot house” (one with a breezeway through the center), much less “informal duplex.” What she bought, she says, was a “train wreck” of both — a single-story structure built between 1913 and 1916, with no central air or heating and walls closing off parts of the living area. Of her decision to gut the 1,500-square-foot interior, she says, “I had to arm-wrestle with my contractor” because he thought that digging deep might not be worth it.
It was worth it. Hidden behind layers of cheap wallboard were the original beadboard walls — ceilings, too. Hardwood floors waited to be discovered and refinished. Behind one wall was the original brick fireplace, which has become an architectural focal point. Together with doors and furnishings that Winslow scavenged or inherited, those features landed the house on Preservation Greensboro’s annual tour.
The heart of the house is the renovated kitchen, whose cabinets and windows are in keeping with the home’s original feel. Also original? A wooden sign from the 1920s, advertising Winslow’s great-grandfather’s Edgecombe County business: E.C. Winslow’s Horses and Mules. Beside the lettering, a cartoon horse laughs silently, all these decades hence. Because when it comes to history, and challenges, and contractors, we all know, like Winslow, that whoever laughs last …
Preservation Greensboro’s Tour of Historic Homes & Gardens will be held on May 16. Call (336) 272-5003 or visit preservationgreensboro.org.