More than 175,000 of you invite us into your homes each month, which got us thinking about, well, the homes we live in. From that 19th-century mansion in Asheville to the cupola’d landmark in Edenton, houses in North Carolina are as diverse as the people who inhabit them.

This month, we introduce a new series, “How We Live Now,” in which we’ll explore a notable style of architecture — its past, naturally, but more important, how it’s been updated for the 21st century.

Is there a better place to begin than with one of our favorites, the classic Southern farmhouse? We chose an 1880s-era homeplace in Bynum, modernized and updated by the homeowner, who’s also an interior designer.




Historically and necessarily, North Carolina farmhouses were functional and unpretentious, a simple structure meant to protect the people who worked the farm. Wonderfully, their design lends itself to both preservation and transformation. When Alys and Alex Protzman found this 1880s beauty in Bynum, they set about adapting it to accommodate a growing family. The resulting blend of architectural integrity and clean contemporary — old and new — is a light- and love-filled expression of how we live now.

For more information about Alys Protzman and her interior design, visit





This story was published on

Since 1933, Our State has shared stories about North Carolina with readers both in state and around the world. We celebrate the people and places that make this state great. From the mountains to the coast, we feature North Carolina travel, history, food, and beautiful scenic photography.