Trinity Park Home Tour : The Thaxton House

Aug. 09, 2014 @ 06:09 PM

212 Watts St.

Owners: Lindsey Glickfeld and Court Hull

The late Victorian two-story house at 212 Watts St. has been home to several young families over the past 15 years, and each family has added its own touches to a slow but steady rejuvenation process.

But it wasn’t until Court Hull and Lindsey Glickfeld came to Durham from Boston that the house got the complete makeover it needed. They settled on Trinity Park because of ‘”its beautiful tree-lined quiet streets, the proximity to Duke, downtown and the walkability.” Frustrated that they could not seem to find the perfect house in Trinity Park, Court  posted a note on the neighborhood listserv soon after he had moved to Durham to start his work as assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology.  With Lindsey still living in Boston, Court toured the house and made an offer even before she was able to fly to Durham to see it.

Lindsey describes the seven fireplaces, each with its own tile pattern, the six stained-glass windows and pocket doors in the living and dining rooms as major elements that attracted them to the house. She and Court also fell in love with the high ceilings and large windows. They saw enormous potential, and set about making the home their own.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the renovation was the removal of the aluminum siding. The couple realized that no matter how much work they did on the inside of the house, “its value would always be determined by the aluminum siding.” And so they had the aluminum removed and restored the original wood siding.

“We had never done renovations before, and our biggest fear was what we would find when we took off the siding or opened the walls,” Lindsay says. “Luckily, everything was in pretty good shape and we didn’t run into many unexpected problems.”  Also a part of the renovation was the addition of a screened porch, a built-in outdoor grill, and an enlarged and completely renovated kitchen.

J.J. Thaxton, Durham County deputy sheriff and county tax collector, is the earliest known occupant of the house, which was probably constructed between 1900 and 1920. In 1925, after several occupants had lived in the house, Duke University purchased it for Edmund D. Soper, who was to become the first dean of religious education at the newly minted Duke University. 

Later, Professor Gilbert T. Rowe occupied the house, and it was sold to the White Family in 1944. Various members of the extensive White family lived in the house until the early 1990s. The family then sold it to two neighbor couples in an effort to prevent it from becoming a part of a growing collection of single-family homes turned into multiple-occupant rentals in violation of the city housing and zoning codes.

Trinity Design Build managed the renovation of 212 Watts Street.