Chapel Hill News

August 8, 2014

Three classics for sale on Gimghoul Road

“If that house ever comes up for sale, I’m going to buy it.” That’s what Michael Jacobs told his wife, Donna, when they passed by the house at 719 Gimghoul Road in Chapel Hill during a trip to his alma mater in 2005. At the time, the couple was enjoying a football weekend away from Atlanta where Jacobs Capital LLC was founded in 1998. The firm opened an office in San Francisco in 2000. Jacobs moved his principal office from Atlanta to Chapel Hill in 2006. Donna is office manager. In addition to being the Chief Executive Officer of Jacobs Captial, Michael is a part-time professor of Practice of Finance at Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill

“If that house ever comes up for sale, I’m going to buy it.”

That’s what Michael Jacobs told his wife, Donna, when they passed by the house at 719 Gimghoul Road in Chapel Hill during a trip to his alma mater in 2005.

At the time, the couple was enjoying a football weekend away from Atlanta where Jacobs Capital LLC was founded in 1998. The firm opened an office in San Francisco in 2000. Jacobs moved his principal office from Atlanta to Chapel Hill in 2006. Donna is office manager. In addition to being the Chief Executive Officer of Jacobs Captial, Michael is a part-time professor of Practice of Finance at Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The house on Gimghoul Road came on the market five years ago and the Jacobs bought it.

Jim and Pam Heavner were the previous owners, having lived in the Colonial house near the front of the Gimghoul Historic District for 20 years. During their time at 719 Gimghoul, the couple extensively restored and enlarged the home with the help of local craftsmen and architect Hutch Johnson of WHJ Design.

Pam Heavner is an interior designer and her influence and the genius of Johnson can still be seen in the bones of this circa 1927 house that has had only three owners in its long history, according to Beth Louden of Franklin Street Realty who got background information about the home from the late UNC Professor Emeritus of Geography Doug Eyre.

The house was designed in 1926 by H.D. Carter whose original plans were given to the Jacobs by the Heavners when they sold it. The house was built in 1927 for Frederick and Harriet Schnell by Charlie Brooks, Louden said.

“Frederick’s intention was to build a wonderful, fresh-air retreat for his wife, Harriet, in a beautiful, quiet location,” Louden said. “The twin sleeping porches were very important in his scheme. Although the sleeping porches are now enclosed, they still provide hours of retreat and happiness for children, grandchildren and guests.”

The Colonial-style house was built on almost a half-acre of land that has been lovingly maintained by local landscapers over the years. The 18-room house has a media room, dressing room, main-floor master suite and another main-floor bedroom, unfinished attic, entry foyer, art gallery, fitness room, formal living room with space for a baby grand piano and ample seating, den, family room, breakfast room and formal dining room.

The 6,434-square-foot house has five bedrooms, six full baths and a powder room. A dream main level master suite has separate “his and hers” baths and closets, and a beautiful screened porch that can be enclosed in glass at the flip of a switch.

“My favorite room is the ‘hers’ bathroom, which we had remodeled when we moved here,” Donna said. Her bath has marble floors and spa tub surround, granite counter on the vanity and a separate shower.

The enclosed porch off the back of the house that is accessible from the main floor master bedroom and the living area is Michael’s favorite.

“I also like the dining room, where we have family gatherings and entertain friends,” Jacobs said.

Original hardwood floors, heavy crown moldings and paneled short walls combine with mahogany cabinetry to give this house warmth that is hard to achieve in such a large house. There are gas-log fireplaces with gas starters in the den and family room.

A deck, enclosed patio, garden area, glass porch and screen porch make this house perfect for entertaining – indoors and out! There is a 26- x 26-foot garage with an electric charging station for a Tesla Model S electric car – and the car can come with the house!

Jacobs said his Tesla was the first one in Chapel Hill and the Model S has Consumer Reports highest rating.

“I’m assuming whoever buys the house won’t really want the car,” Jacobs said. “If they do, that’s fine. I’ll buy another one. It’s a great car.”

While the living room is used for entertaining – especially when someone plays on the baby grand piano, the family spends more time relaxing in the family room off of the kitchen.

“We both like the deck off the breakfast room with views to the Twin Sisters Garden and the street,” Donna said. “Neighbors stop by – especially mothers with young children – and enjoy the swing on this deck.”

“We have lived here since my daughter, Jessi, was four-years-old,” Jacobs said. “During that time she has formed a special relationship with the sisters, Barbara Stiles and Bernice Wade, twins who will be celebrating their ninety-ninth birthday this year.”

The Twins’ Gardens are an annual community event every April when the tulips are in bloom (more than 2,000 bulbs were planted in 2005). Flower lovers of all ages come to admire the sisters’ year-long labors of love. Author Pamela Pease paid tribute to the sisters in a pop-up children’s book “The Garden is Open” published in 1998.

“I’m sure Jessi will miss afternoons talking with the sisters on their front porch,” Jacobs said, “but her school is now in Durham and we’ve bought 10 acres near it so we can spend more time together.” Children living in homes on Gimghoul Road would attend Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools: Northside Elementary, Grey Culbreth Middle School and East Chapel Hill High School. Like the Jacobs’ house, the house at 707 Gimghoul Road has also had few owners. Built in 1926, the house is available for purchase for the second time in almost 90 years. The 5,415-square-foot house on almost an acre of land is being offered at $2,770,000 by listing agent Martha Bick of Allen Tate Company (919-500-7981).

The Heavners enjoyed life on Gimghoul Road so much, that they had architect Eddie Belk design a 10,539-square-foot Southern manor house which by 2008 noted Durham builder Leon Meyer had constructed where the old Catholic Church was at the end of the street. Gimghoul Manor, located on two acres adjacent Gimghoul Forest, is now listed at $4,900,000 through Sotheby’s Raleigh office, Hodge and Kittrell (919-876-7411).

The homes on the market in the Gimghoul neighborhood are: 707 Gimghoul listed for 2.77 million or $512 per square foot; 740 Gimghoul listed for 4.9 million or $465 per square foot; and 719 Gimghoul listed for 2.395 million or $372 per square foot.

This $2,395,000 Colonial home at 719 Gimghoul includes a Tesla Model S electric car. The house and car are being offered by Franklin Street Realty listing agent Beth Louden who can be reached at 919-619-0973. Go to franklinstreetrealty.com to see more photos.

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