c. 1900 – Tyner, NC

Off Market / Archived
Posted December 2014. This home has been archived on OHD. The sold status is unknown. Added to OHD on 12/3/14 - Last OHD Update: 2/14/18 - 29 Comments
622 Dillards Mill Rd, Tyner, NC 27980
  • $75,000
  • 3 Beds
  • 1 Bath
  • 2.52 Ac.
Restoration time! A gorgeous 2.52 acre lot w mature trees in the heart of Chowan County. This 1900 traditional 2-story home features double porches & fireplaces on both levels. Home is in need of a total restoration. 26 x 40 storage building w lean-to on rear side. Selling As-Is.
Last Active Agent
Cindy Twiddy Small Realty      (252) 796-7062
Links & Additional Info
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29 Comments on c. 1900 – Tyner, NC

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  1. Kelly, Old House DreamsKelly, Old House Dreams says: 10360 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Sometimes I’ll sneak in a house that won’t go out in emails or be put out to Facebook and Twitter. I published this one by accident (seems even if edit it, it still will go to Twitter and email so here it is.) It is a house I normally would hide on the site, here for my personal interest. I have a thing for abandoned houses slowly being dissolved by nature. 🙂

    Thanks to the agent for taking photos, many wouldn’t have bothered.

    • RosewaterRosewater says: 4561 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1875 Italianate cottage
      Noblesville, IN

      It’s the “Charlie Brown X-mas tree” of houses. Bless your heart for loving it. 🙂 Thought you weren’t going to be posting much through the holidays. Thanks’ for changing your mind. Frankfort KY, and Spencer MA made my day!

  2. AvatarMW says: 727 comments

    I think you’d have to get this house pretty much for free if a restoration was in the cards. But, if by some miracle the structure wasn’t in too bad shape, this would be a good candidate for a full dressing down and, discrete modernization and then careful and carefully budgeted refinishing. But at the $75k starting point, the land should be worth that by itself at least if not more so to take care of the house for either a full renovation or sadly a clearing of the lot which isn’t usually free either.

    If one was good at the craft, you could take out all of what is left of the good stuff and have it commercially stripped and then reused again in the renovation. I’d do that, gut the entire thing down to the framing and then install all new wiring and plumbing, insulate it, then drywall and reinstall the old trim and casework as much as could be salvaged. The missing fireplaces are probably long gone but shouldn’t be that hard to make new ones in kind if needed or source vintage ones.

    Of course in reality, it is a small house, so it probably would need an addition too to make it worth all the effort and cost.

    But, the porch is cute and probably restored it could be a pretty charming house. It is in pretty bad shape not doubt, but maybe not a definite goner quite yet.

  3. RossRoss says: 2406 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    Kelly, I agree that this is kinda intoxicating.

    It would be cool restore it without somehow losing some of its faded, overgrown allure.

    MW, I agree this place only makes sense for the land value. A house nearby is being sold for its land value, and at half an acre is $12K:

    Here is a nearby waterfront lot for $60K:

    And 2 acres for $40K:

  4. AvatarBethany says: 2663 comments

    I started pinning these pics to my “abandoned” board on Pinterest even before I read Kelly’s comments. I love the look of this place! But I was thinking as I scrolled, is a “total restoration” even possible here?

  5. John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4718 comments

    Old house restoration, by definition, is the repair or reconstruction of an old house to bring it back to its former appearance. Ideally, this work is done with in-kind materials and the traditional methods used in the original construction but that is usually the domain of museum houses or designated public historic sites. Therefore, what is probably most applicable in this instance is to first have a vision of what the finished house would look like post restoration. I think a lot of flexibility for the work that follows is allowable here. The mantel-pieces are gone but I would hasten to add that in a minor farmhouse like this one, fancy highly carved versions were uncommon. The 1900 date seems suspect; “I” houses of this type appeared during the Federal period and remained popular as folk style houses until the end of the 19th century. Some clues are suggested in the porch posts with scroll sawn corbels that were popular from the 1870’s until 1900. However, the triangular pediment over the double galleried porch may hint at an earlier Greek Revival porch version that may take the original construction back to the mid-19th century or earlier. The smaller two over two and four over four paned windows and wider floorboards could also indicate an earlier date. It would have been helpful to see the staircase and newel (if surviving) as these often changed rapidly throughout the Victorian era. But for a simple house like this one, a lot of creativity is appropriate-one could either take a primitive country farmhouse approach or borrow details from other restored homes of this type. Job one would be to clean up the exterior, insure the roof does not leak, and remove the asbestos/cement composition shingles. The floors appear sound so they could probably be lightly sanded and refinished even leaving some minor defects to add character and visible marks of age. The wood trim around the doors and windows is simple and might have been painted from day one. A kitchen with period flavor/style would work well as would a sympathetic to the period bathroom with modern conveniences. With two and a half acres, this might be the ideal getaway for someone who seeks country living. Local ordinances might allow an RV to be parked on site so one could work on the property until it becomes habitable. It would be a nice project for a creative individual but if pockets are shallow of funds then a strong back and lots of motivation are needed. As for price, I seldom comment as each old house property is unique and local market values fluctuate considerably. Given its long period of vacancy/abandonment, expect surprises as the work continues.

  6. AvatarLaurie says: 1609 comments

    Not much to say that hasn’t been. In an ideal world, this house would be a good candidate for restoration. There’s something inviting about it — I see why it appeals to you, Kelly. Without John S.’s expertise, I agree anyhow with his thoughts on an earlier date — the room proportions (height/width) are more mid-19th century, though the house could have been built that way earlier.

  7. AvatarGraham says: 163 comments

    What a great set of pictures. It would take awhile just to find the house under the all the overgrowth. As John says ‘expect surprises as work continues’ i.e. bring money!!!

  8. Avatarlynsey says: 29 comments

    My first thought is “wow, Mother Nature is taking back the house.” This house doesn’t even look salvageable without going straight down to the bones of the house. @ John Shiflet: I love reading your posts, they’re so informative and interesting. Thanks for the post!

  9. John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4718 comments

    Thanks for the kind words, lynsey. This house may also be surprising in positive ways. The original clapboard siding might be in relatively good condition under the asbestos/cement fiber siding. (although it would probably take a gallon of Polyester filler-“Bondo” to fill in the million nail holes) One would also need to determine a method to insulate the walls. (if possible, I would keep the somewhat scarce original windows and if needed, add storm windows inside or outside) The cheapest but also less effective way would be to have blown in insulation added via holes drilled at the top of each floor. Because its likely to have balloon framing for this house, the voids between the studs probably go all the way from the floor sills to the attic. An alternate method but more destructive to original materials would be to remove the plaster and lath inside and insulate between the studs. (but not until routing new wiring and plumbing where necessary) Then drywall, tape, mud, and paint unless you are among the handful of people who can do an authentic 3-coat horsehair plaster wall. It’s likely whenever walls are open and visible some insect damage (beetles, termites, rodents) will be discovered and will require repair/replacement. I can’t tell if it has a basement or not but the stone foundation looks sounds at least from what can be seen in the photos. I can envision a fully rehabilitated house painted in simple colors. (a Painted Ladies multi-colored scheme would be overkill on this farmhouse) It would be a fun, albeit, “labor of love” type project for someone who would not only gain a distinctive period home for their labors but would save a local piece of history. I feel historical research would reveal some interesting stories as well. I wish anyone with the determination to save this old homeplace good luck and suggest that they take lots of “before and after” photographs to document the transformation. I feel this house is a diamond in the rough which is an over-used term but truly seems applicable here.

    • RossRoss says: 2406 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Hi John!

      You wrote: “The cheapest but also less effective way would be to have blown in insulation added via holes drilled at the top of each floor.”

      This is a common approach, but I would suggest that any new owner research this option carefully.

      The problem is that blown-in insulation has no vapor barrier. So, water vapor from INSIDE migrates through the plaster walls, condenses on the insulation, and these zillion water droplets end up at the very bottom where they will make a soggy mess of the insulation (be it fiberglass or cellulose), which will then likely rot the sill, exterior sheathing, and siding, AND attract termites. Yikes!

      I might suggest NOT insulating the walls at all, or spending money on storm windows.

      Other options which have great results is HEAVY attic insulation, and sealing all windows (with peal-away caulk), excellent weather stripping on all exterior doors, and, most importantly, making sure that the outside is TIGHT and not letting wind freely blow into the framing.

      In short, stopping air leakage, and heavy attic insulation, is the best way to assure a comfortable interior.

      More here:


      • AaronAaron says: 38 comments

        Ross is right that infiltration is much more of an enemy to energy efficiency in an old house than insulation R-value is. The biggest bang for you buck is always sealing holes and adding a little more insulation to your attic.

        As an architect, I’d add a little bit of a caveat to the question of wall insulation: It depends greatly on your climate. We’ve run several building models evaluating drying cycles for various types of wall construction in our mixed climate (Tennessee), and here, a vapor barrier tends to hinder drying rather than prevent moisture buildup, since the direction of moisture migration varies by season. The locally correct method is the use of “infiltration barriers” rather than “vapor barriers.” This isn’t true for the deep south or the wintery north (which require vapor barriers on opposite sides of the wall assembly), but it’s not quite simple enough to be able to make a generalized statement about wall insulation everywhere.

        My own house is 107 years old, has no vapor barrier, and has cellulose blown into the walls. I definitely ran a simulation of the wall construction before I had it insulated, but the natural drying cycle from our local climate doesn’t cause soggy insulation. North Carolina is probably similar.

        Oak Ridge National Laboratory has a relatively user-friendly and free modeling software if anyone is interested, called WUFI, and available here:

        • John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4718 comments

          Thanks, Aaron. Ross may be correct that blown in insulation could trap moisture in some locales and situations but his statement cannot be correct 100% of the time because I’ve seen scores of old houses with the tell-tale rows of plugged clapboard holes at the tops of walls-if conventional wisdom was that blown in insulation hastens the destruction (rot/decay) of wall framing, then I think this practice, which has been around for decades, would have fallen out of favor. Probably the most convincing argument against blown in insulation is gradual settlement of the insulation leaving voids and gaps at the tops of the wall cavities. I’ve also seen several houses where all the clapboards were removed, and insulation was put into the wall spaces before new siding was applied. Here’s a Victorian house in my neighborhood where this technique was used: photo link New siding was then added for this finished result: photo link 2
          The TV home improvement shows seem to favor plaster and lath removal followed by insulation from the inside either fiberglass or in newer applications, expanding polyurethane foam that is sprayed in and allowed to expand before being the dried foam is then trimmed flush with the studs. Drywall is then applied over it. Since heat rises, it make sense to emphasize insulation in the attic.

          • RossRoss says: 2406 comments
            OHD Supporter

            1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
            Emporia, KS

            Hi again John!

            You wrote: “if conventional wisdom was that blown in insulation hastens the destruction (rot/decay) of wall framing, then I think this practice, which has been around for decades, would have fallen out of favor.”

            John, removing old wood windows from old houses, and replacing them with vinyl windows, is basically a bad idea (as you would concur!). Restored old wood sashes can have another century of use while vinyl has an effective lifespan of about 12 years.

            Yet, a POWERFUL industry is dedicated to vinyl window replacement. There is no such powerful lobby dedicated to restoring wood sashes. So, it should not be a surprise that people, every day, replace their old wood windows with vinyl — even though it is basically a bad idea.

            Well, the same with blown-in insulation, which has a POWERFUL industry behind it, no matter that such insulation in old houses is, generally, a bad idea. Even the government site about the issue (I provided a link above) recommends against it: “Adding blown-in insulation to historic wall assemblies may trap moisture within the wall and lead to accelerated and often hidden deterioration of the structure.”

            That said, the issue is not an absolute, which is why I stated above that blown-in insulation will likely lead to rot — likely being the operative word.

            As Aaron put so well: “It depends greatly on your climate.”

            • John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4718 comments

              Ross, then you would also agree that vinyl (or other synthetic) siding also has a powerful industry behind it, right? What chance do we few preservation minded individuals have against such industries and their misguided or misleading advertizing? I can hardly count the number of times I’ve driven by older houses and found a pile of original windows set out for trash pickup. I have a set of paired Craftsman style windows that was set out still with the framing and intact sash weights that was set out in front of one house built in the teens. Just too nice to pass up. It’s disappointing some home improvement practices continue because of ignorance or misleading advertizing. From the numerous replacement window ads, you’re led to believe every old window was as porous as a mesh screen with horrific R-values. some even go further to suggest the effect of old windows is like having a window wide open all of the time. One (local) replacement window company even showed a thermal image of a house where it looked like flames were coming out of the old windows to dramatize the claimed heat loss. (“dramatization” was noted in small print under the image)

              • RossRoss says: 2406 comments
                OHD Supporter

                1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
                Emporia, KS

                John, as you will 100% concur, in our country there has long been a disconnect between what is rational, and irrational!

                What else can explain the Kardashians being a media sensation??????

  10. joyjoy says: 62 comments

    As an old house “dreamer” and not a real restorer, I really like the sad fixer uppers. I can imagine what they could look like, what they did look like, and dream about the possible history of the house without the depressing realism of knowing that some of these houses have probably lost their chance at survival.

    That being said, I think this house is pretty neat but sad.

    I do appreciate the experts that can realistically discuss what needs to be done for restoration, real world prices, and man hours needed, etc. It is great to learn from this site. Thanks to all of the experts for sharing their knowledge!

  11. AvatarBarabra says: 25 comments

    Oh Kelly thank you for sharing this one!

  12. AvatarMia says: 4 comments

    So glad you ‘sneaked’ this one in, Kelly, even if it was by accident. I have always dreamed of taking an old abandoned home and restoring it to it’s former beauty…like in the move The Notebook. And this house would be an ideal choice. …Of course, in my dream money is no object!

  13. Avatarglynn says: 35 comments

    They need a good chimney sweep.

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