Making an eyesore neighbors' delight


In good repair: A home that once had holes in the walls has new lighting, paint and English country drapes.

May 16, 2004|By James Gallo | James Gallo,SUN STAFF

The small street that Marcia Clark's North Guilford home and five others are located on is not built for cars.

It is approachable only by foot. And the front door is not visible from the surrounding streets.

The semidetached houses face each other on a cul-de-sac with a sidewalk entering the middle of the neighborhood. Clark's house sits between large holly trees and is adorned with an array of landscaping that she brought from a home she used to rent just blocks away.

The house has a garage that is accessible from an alley that runs behind it. In order to get to the front of the house, one has to walk around the block to a partly hidden sidewalk that leads to the center of the court.

According to Clark, the late 1930s home once was repossessed. It later was fixed up by Charles McEvoy, a mortgage broker and real estate investor. McEvoy purchased the house with the intention of renting it. But several months later, after McEvoy made some renovations, Clark bought it.

She paid $160,000 and has put an additional $70,000 into fixing up the house. Clark moved into the North Guilford residence in January 2003 and the renovations were completed by June.

"When I first entered the home it was in a complete state of disrepair," McEvoy says. "There were holes in the walls, dead animals in the basement, and it smelled so badly I had to hold my nose when I walked in."

McEvoy had the house cleaned out and painted, replaced the windows, put a slate roof on the house, replaced a furnace that he says was more than 40 years old and installed central air conditioning. McEvoy also added more windows.

"He made it presentable," says Charlotte Dorsey, one of Clark's neighbors. "But when I saw the house after Marcia was done with it - I was completely shocked."

Clark added more lighting to the house, as well as a new kitchen, a powder room and a gas fireplace. The house had three bedrooms and one and a half baths. Clark converted one bedroom to a sitting room. Another became an office for her commercial real estate practice. The home's 1,500 square feet includes an unfinished basement.

The walls are painted in bold colors - raspberry and yellow to name just two. An interior designer helped place the furniture to accentuate the various colors of the home. Old carpeting was taken up and the hardwood floors restored.

Clark said a set of drapes that she has owned for about 17 years helped set the tone for the house. The drapes grace the living and dining areas and are now in the fourth home that Clark has owned. The drapes are a misty blue and green with a beige background and include a pink cabbage rose design.

"It's an English country design," Clark says. "It's the only print I have in the whole house."

She also has installed a garden with a bench and fieldstone patio, all visible from the screened porch.

Clark says the renovated home made her neighbors happy.

"This was definitely the eyesore house in the neighborhood," Clark says. "The neighbors thanked me for moving in."

Dorsey agrees.

"Marcia has done miracles with that house. It's beautiful. She has great taste. We're happy to have her. She's good and pleasant. It's nice to have a neighbor like that.

"Marcia made it look like another house," Dorsey says.

"It's been fun," Clark says. "It'll be really neat as the weather gets nice and the azaleas ... come out."

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