Real Estate

Hemingway's Hideaway

When Ed and Cecile Broadhurst contemplated moving from Raleigh to Topsail Island in 2003, Ed went first to check things out.

“We loved it down here,” says Cecile, who inherited land and a small house on the sound when her mother died in 1999. “The building business was slowing down, and we decided Ed would see if he could make a go building down here because this is where we wanted to retire.”

Building was booming at the beach so Cecile followed in 2004. Ed, founder and president of Broadhurst Development Company since 1979, had built homes all over Raleigh and surrounding areas, including Apex, Garner and Wake Forest. Why not build a dream home for himself and Cecile in Topsail Island?

Construction on the three-story, 3,000-square-foot home started in 2005; Ed built the home with his brother-in-law (Cecile’s brother) Phil Mayrand, who had a keen interest in green development and building long before it was popular.In 2000, Mayrand provided seed money to Appalachian State University to fund the now annual NC Sustainable Building Design Competition, a contest where college and university students all over the state compete to design and build green homes. Each year the competition awards more than $20,000 in prize money.

Conserving trees and water

So with Mayrand at his side, Ed Broadhurst got to work. The first task: preserve as many trees in the surrounding maritime forest as possible. “We did a footprint and then went out and looked for plans that fit the footprint and we found one that was close,” says Ed, proud that he cut down only one small tree. “I totally redesigned the house in order to fit the footprint.”The home also features an innovative storm water management system from BRAE Rainwater Systems, the first of its kind on the island, says Cecile. An irrigation system harvests rainwater from the roof and stores it in a 450-gallon tank buried in the front yard. A matrix of plastic buckets buried under the driveway filters and disperses the rainwater at the touch of a button. “It conserves water, irrigates the yard year-round, even in drought conditions, and prevents excessive rainwater runoff,” says Cecile. “Because it’s both cost effective and efficient, it has been adapted by several homeowners on the island.”Adds Ed: “When we put the yard back we replanted it with either plants that were indigenous to the island or that did not need a lot of water after they got established. We basically have a yard that’s very sustainable with very little maintenance.”

Low-maintenance exterior

Hemmingway’s Hideaway is located in small neighborhood called GoldenPointe. It’s unique in two ways; first, it’s the highest point on the island (we’ll get back to that in a minute); and, second, the land includes views of both the sound and the ocean.Meaning, of course, that exposure to the elements is constant. The last thing Ed Broadhurst wanted to doing in retirement was replace rotten wood and siding.

He chose a solid vinyl trim made by AZEK which is supposed to be impervious to corrosion, deterioration and rot. So far it’s lived up to its name. “We haven’t had any maintenance whatsoever on the outside of this house. Everything is just exactly the same as it was,” says Ed.

The Broadhursts have also been happy with the siding. “It’s highly wind-resistant and locks tightly into place,” Ed says. “The foam behind it makes it rigid and gives you an insulation factor. It helps make the house very energy efficient from the outside. There’s nothing to paint. The only exposed wood on the entire house are the decks and the walkways.”

Powerhouse windows

When it came time to select windows for the home, Ed did a little research. He wanted the toughest windows he could find because while the location provided for excellent views, it also made the home vulnerable to storm damage. Ed started researching building codes for Miami-Dade County in Florida and decided to go with Simonton StormBreaker Plus doors and windows which met those qualifications, although they were nearly twice the cost of traditional windows. “If a piece of debris hits the window, it will shatter but it holds. That was such an important part of this; we’re sitting on an island looking right out at the ocean.”

Buried treasure

GoldenPointe is, as mentioned earlier, located on the highest point of Topsail Island. Local lore has it that the Broadhurst property is located on the “Topsail Island Gold Hole,” chronicled by local historian David Stallman in his book Echoes of Topsail.

Rumor has it in the 1750s a Spanish Flotilla headed toward Spain was blown off course by hurricane winds. At least one ship was thought to have come ashore on Topsail, the bounty buried somewhere on the Broadhurst property.In 1937, a group of entrepreneurs from New York City called the Carolina Exploration Company came to the Gold Hole to unearth the treasure, hiring locals and putting out a call for investors. The group claimed it was certain the treasure was buried there as a result of research it had conducted. Soon, everyone in town was excited about the project. Workers sunk a steel-reinforced shaft to excavate the treasure but soon hit water, prompting workers to bring in pumping equipment. The work went on until 1941 when one morning the Carolina Exploration Company simply vanished. Had they found the treasure and absconded with it, leaving behind their investors?For many years, no one knew for sure, but Stallman says information found in 2010 reports the expedition was discovered by the military, which feared the men might be German spies. The military launched an investigation and discovered the company was simply a fraud.

Although the shaft of the Gold Hole is barely visible today, overgrown with weeds and plants, it makes for a great story and a lesson of sorts on get-rich-quick schemes. A happy ending

Ed and Cecile have decided to sell Hemmingway’s Hideaway. It’s listed for $598,000. It’s a little nostalgic, but both had anticipated they might sell the home one day even though it was dubbed their dream house in the beginning. It’s not uncommon with builders. There’s always something different to build, another project to explore.