The Resurrection of A Ruined Mansion – The Page Mansion: Before and After Pics

Abby and Trey Brothers, a married couple in search of a new home, never anticipated that their journey would lead them to renovate an old, neglected mansion. Just a little over three years since discovering their new passion project, they’ve successfully transformed a once-dilapidated building into a charming family home.

Abby stumbled upon the home by chance on Zillow in April 2018 while house-hunting in her home state of North Carolina. The property had been listed for sale in 2017, having recently been owned by a businessman with plans to convert it into an events venue. Despite residing in Maryland at the time, the couple embarked on an eight-hour drive to see the property, and it was an instant love connection.

“I pulled up and thought, ‘that’s the house, that’s ours,'” Trey recalls, even though he had not been enthusiastic about purchasing a fixer-upper. In July 2018, Abby and Trey secured the mansion for $155,000 (£110k). The grand staircase, visible through the windows, proved to be the final selling point, prompting the couple to make the significant move from their three-bedroom home in Maryland back to Abby’s hometown.

Pictured in 2018, before the couple moved in, the Page Mansion in Aberdeen, Moore County, had been exposed to the elements. Abby describes the initial state of the property, saying, “It was so overgrown, you couldn’t get into the house.” Tall grass, as high as Trey, surrounded the mansion, and a narrow path to the entrance had been carved out by the previous owner.

The abandoned mansion, constructed in 1913 for the Page family, had a rich history dating back to the establishment of a lumber mill by Allison Francis ‘Frank’ Page in 1880. The local economy thrived under Page’s influence as he developed homes for neighbors, including one for his own family, known over the years as the Page-Wilder house and eventually the Page Mansion.

Reviving the dilapidated building was undoubtedly a significant undertaking, but the rewards were abundantly evident. At the time the couple discovered the house, it was concealed behind dense bushes and greenery so thick that the house itself was virtually invisible from the road. Nature had not only enveloped the exterior but had also breached the confines of the main structure, emphasizing the extent of the neglect and abandonment the property had endured.

The passage of time had also left its mark on the aging brickwork, and the house, on the brink of condemnation, required substantial care. Trey explains, “Pretty much all the exterior was cracked or broken away,” necessitating a comprehensive restoration of the exterior, including resetting the chimney. Professionals were enlisted to tackle this significant task, essentially reconstructing the chimney due to crumbled mortar—the most substantial exterior job.

Presently, the transformation of the exterior is nothing short of remarkable. The remnants of rubble and dirt have been replaced by a sweeping gravel driveway. Situated on eight acres of land, the couple acknowledges they still have substantial work ahead to complete the grounds, including clearing additional land around an ancient willow oak tree currently surrounded by overgrowth.

Like many old structures, insulation was a scarce commodity in the Page Mansion. As a true brick home with no insulation, it became a necessary addition for the couple. Abby notes, “We lost square footage by adding in insulation and then drywall on top,” but with a home spanning over 6,000 square feet, there remains an abundance of space.

Prior to moving in, the couple dedicated nine months to renovating the property, effectively finding themselves temporarily homeless. Abby reminisces, “While we were selling our house in Maryland, we actually lived with my dad for a little while because we were selling and renovating another.”

Rebuilding the front porch emerged as one of the more substantial tasks. Following a massive snowstorm in the early 2000s, the porch struggled under the weight of the snow, coming close to collapse. To address this, Abby and Trey opted to dismantle it entirely and start afresh.

Maintaining fidelity to the home’s original style was a priority, leading them to rebuild the porch in a like-for-like fashion. Abby explains, “It’s exactly the same, just much lighter and built to today’s engineering standards.” Enhanced with a cozy swing bench overlooking the newly graveled driveway, the porch now serves as a perfect relaxation spot for the couple, who have recently welcomed their first child.

The entrance to the mansion, fortunately, required minimal alterations, remaining one of Abby and Trey’s favorite spots. Abby expresses, “It’s the wow-factor for everybody that comes to visit. They walk through the front door and say how gorgeous it is, and that’s what I (also) say whenever I walk in the door.”

However, due to building standards in North Carolina, the layout of the staircase had to remain precisely the same; otherwise, Abby and Trey would have needed to install an entirely new set of stairs. Abby remarks, “People evolve over time, and so people were shorter back in 1913. The railing is too low to meet today’s standards, and when you stand next to it, you realize how low it actually is.”

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The initial step involved finding professionals to assist with the more intricate aspects of the renovation. Abby explains, “If there’s stuff we can do on our own, we do, but if it comes to something that we couldn’t do then we weren’t going to try it – especially as it is our forever home.”

One project they confidently undertook themselves was revitalizing the wainscoting in the hallway. With a fresh coat of white paint, the once tired paneling was rejuvenated, giving the hallway an entirely new aesthetic.

Rich in history, the couple continues to discover remnants of the past within the home. Upon moving in, they uncovered a small telephone closet hidden beneath the grand staircase, with phone numbers from decades past scribbled on the walls.

Taking advantage of the space, the couple decided to transform this secret room into a downstairs toilet for guests. Painted red as a nod to its previous use, the space provides a convenient alternative for guests, sparing them from using the bathroom in the master suite.

Requiring attention both inside and out, the home, when initially purchased by the couple, bore the marks of years of neglect in every room. The dining room, in particular, exhibited peeling wallpaper from dampness, creating an impression that someone had hastily left, leaving cups strewn on the dining room table.

With a vision for a more contemporary layout downstairs, Abby and Trey decided to break down walls and integrate the dining room with the kitchen. Despite the modernization, they were intent on preserving original elements, such as the fireplace—one of three in the house.

The current study was in a state of disarray when acquired from the previous owner, covered in a layer of dirt and requiring a comprehensive overhaul. Lacking air conditioning and featuring exposed plumbing, the study was due for a significant upgrade.

The study has now undergone a complete transformation. As part of the plumbing update throughout the home, the plumbing in the study was exposed, prompting the installation of a new decorative tray ceiling to conceal any visible pipes. In their commitment to repurposing old items discovered in the home, the couple also had a sofa from 1873, found on-site, reupholstered, adding a touch of history to the revamped space.

Painted in a vibrant ochre yellow, the space, although used less frequently, stands out as one of the most stylish rooms in the house. The cabinet doors, sourced from the laundry room, were repurposed for the new built-in cabinets along the wall, cleverly concealing the newly installed air conditioning unit.

An image from the original listing showcases the living room before its makeover. While relatively easier to clean up, the walls required some tender loving care due to encroaching nature, and the floors needed polishing.

Presently, adorned in a chic navy blue, the living room provides an ideal setting for the growing family. As their forever home, the restoration remains an ongoing project for Abby and Trey, who are open to experimenting with ideas to see what works. Abby mentions, “We are going to pick new paint for the living room.”

The kitchen was a space that Abby and Trey were certain needed a transformation. Comprising several small rooms, including the dining room and pantry, they aimed to create an open-plan area suitable for family time. The old kitchen had also started sinking into the basement due to years of neglect.

In the cramped utility and pantry area, Abby and Trey opted to knock down just two walls to create a more open space. They erected a new wall in the middle to establish a separate pantry. Abby recalls, “I think the first time I walked in there and all the walls were down, I thought it looked as big as a football field.”

Today, the kitchen stands as a modern delight and ranks among the couple’s favorite spots in the home. In a bid to adhere to their budget throughout the project, they chose concrete for the worktops instead of granite or marble. Trey cast the concrete himself, and the total cost amounted to around $300 (£212). The current valuation of the house is just under $1 million (£700k).

The couple, always eager to introduce quirky and decorative elements into their home, decided to forgo a traditional knife block in favor of a fun storage hack for their utensils, showcasing the creative idea on their Instagram account.

The laundry room underwent a transformation, evolving into a functional space where Abby drew inspiration from Pinterest. What was once a small kitchen area has now been converted into a modern pantry.

Before renovations, the bedrooms were deemed unlivable, resembling a time capsule, according to Abby. The master bedroom was filled with tons of rubble, while the guest bedroom featured a sizable hole in the floor that required repair. Despite the challenges, one of the most rewarding aspects for the couple was connecting with people who had once lived in the house. An encounter with an elderly woman in her 80s revealed her ability to identify her initials scrawled on one of the bedrooms.

Following extensive renovations, the bedrooms have been transformed into perfect retreats, though the journey had its hurdles. After one of many hurricanes, Abby and Trey found themselves standing in the guest bedroom, witnessing a torrent of water pouring down the hole and into the previously unstable basement, which had recently undergone joist replacements. Abby reflects, “I just remember feeling so defeated after we had done so much work.”

The bathrooms were in dire straits before Abby and Trey took on the challenge. Determined to reuse the old baths and fixtures, the Jack and Jill bathroom has undergone a complete transformation.

With assistance from family and friends, the décor is now unrecognizable, and the bathroom feels like an entirely new space. The next task on the agenda is fixing up the floor tiles.

Continuing to work on their home, Abby and Trey have caught the fixer-upper bug. Abby shares, “Ultimately, we want to find another place and do the same thing.” The anticipation is high to see their next project unfold!

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