What began as a sketch on a table cloth in the '30s eventually became Peyton Hudson's home. She calls it her creative outlet, her hobby.
The single mom, author and apparel manufacturing expert says she'd like to retire - and could - if she'd just stop embellishing 5418 Guida Drive near Guilford College.As long as it holds a fascination for her, however, the house will change and grow and delight her, Hudson says. An N.C. State University professor, she prefers to commute rather than be away from home for more than a few days.
Her next home-front project is a glass room, for which she has already purchased double-pane glass.
Hudson always has collectibles waiting in the wings of the barn she built on almost six acres in 1975 when she bought the rundown property.
Storage isn't the reason she built the barn. Daughters Peyton, 25, and Adrienne, 29, wouldn't make the Guilford College move from a Jamestown mobile home back then until their mom agreed their ponies could go, too.
``Place des Peytons' is Hudson's name for home. That's French for Peytons' Place, she says.
Hudson is a born collector, always buying architectural and textile gems and vintage furniture long before she has any use for them.
For example, she replaced plywood arches and bookcases flanking the living room fireplace with four glass-encased, mirror-backed bookcases acquired for $30 each. She uses two upside down atop the others.
For $80,000, she bought what neighbor children called the haunted house after it had sat empty three years.
``I'm the wicked witch of the west. No one ever comes on Halloween!,' she said.
Hudson, the house's third owner, relies on her across-the-lake neighbor, Russell Simmons Jr., for information about most of the house's history. Simmons said the house was under construction as World War II erupted.
Having moved to the area at age 14, Simmons says his dad and John Simpson bought almost 100 acres from Alfred Moore Scales. Scales developed and lived in Irving Park before creating Hamilton Lakes, a separate town near Guilford College in which he put his 36-room Georgian mansion. He built the 16-acre lake for which the neighborhood is named.
Before building Guilford College homes for their families, Simmons and Simpson divided their land with a two-acre lake and built facing temporary cabins. The sketched plans of Peytons' Place occurred at the Simmons cabin.
Because the government froze wartime building supplies, used materials went in the Simpson house, finished in 1942. John Simpson built an annex to his house for his parents, Simmons says. The annex is the area over the attached double garage that Hudson has in mind for enlarging into a glassy master bedroom suite.
She bought the 4,000-square foot brick-and-asbestos house fifteen years ago from the estate of Ida and Guy Turner, the second owners.
The Turners created their street name, Guida, from their first names. Hudson says the original dirt lane went to Dolley Madison Road one direction and to West Market Street the other.
Hudson wanted the wreck of a house on first sight. ``The grounds were a wilderness. You couldn't walk to the lake. The doors had swelled and cracked,' she said. Mildew formed an inky border around the carpeting and blackened the ceilings.
The carpeting in much of the house concealed damage to hardwood flooring in a fire during Turner ownership. Hudson uncovered and refinished the oak flooring. She says lumber dealer Russell Simmons describes them as ``too pretty to be floors.'
Hudson had hoped to restore the master bedroom to its original sunken level (Ida Turner had raised it to the level of the other rooms), but the fire damage was too great.
For a year, Hudson was without a kitchen as renovation began. ``When I got a dollar I'd have another something done,' he said.
She turned the kitchen into a den, rearranging doors and replacing the room's picture window with diamond-paned windows she bought for $5 apiece out of an old house being demolished in Maryland. Then she made a kitchen and dining area out of a small bedroom and hall off the foyer and added a greenhouse window. Parquet replaced unsalvageable portions of the oak flooring.
The usable cabinets in the old kitchen went into the den area overlooking the lake, as do almost all the rooms. This portion of her den is Hudson's favorite work area.
Hudson, a Baltimore native whose family roots are in Sparta, has a doctorate in clothing / textiles / education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
In addition to teaching, she's author of the 1989 ``Guide to Apparel Manufacturing,' and is president of her entrepreneurial venture, MEDIA Apparel. She is the only woman to reach the rank of associate professor in N.C. State's College of Textiles.
Hudson added a patio, three decks and three bedroom-wing entrances. A French door fancier, she's installed seven pairs. She also added a spillway bridge to the dam, a pier, outdoor lighting front and back, 50 trees, and numerous plants and shrubbery.
A configuration of space - including a former closet - contains a hot tub and deluxe shower. Hudson installed a spiral staircase to the downstairs laundry room and created a lower-level kitchen to serve parties at the lake.
She replaced overhead light fixtures with antique and handmade reproductions, reroofed in copper, replaced ceiling moldings and wall coverings, installed central heating and cooling, a Jenn-Air range, built-in ovens, side-by-side refrigerator, compactor and dishwasher, Ben Franklin stove in the den and a basement heat-vented fireplace. She estimates spending three times the cost of the house in renovation.
Hudson says occasional housemates use the lower-level quarters that open to the lakeside natural garden area.
``You would not believe the condition of some of the furniture which my parents (the late Dr. Willard Peyton and Blanche Spicer Peyton of Bel Air, Md.) had stashed in a damp basement or my sideboard in which dad stored his tools and nails and the spool cabinet a friend stored his tools,' she said.
Other spool cabinets were gifts from her mother. A dealer sold the used pieces for $12 a pair.
Hudson's namesake daughter and the late Dorothy Streett of Maryland translated the medallion in the Oriental-style rugs to needlepoint for dining room chair seats.
Among Hudson's special pieces are an heirloom three-quarter, four-poster bed and 1840 quilt, focal point of the master bedroom. Antique textiles catch the eye throughout the house. Quilts grace all the beds and hang from racks and walls. Hudson says she hasn't cut any of the antique textiles, but she sometimes takes strips apart to display in unusual ways.
From exterior lion-head wall fountains to heart-shaped drapery hooks, Hudson's collection of these design motifs add charm throughout her home. Hudson's astrological sign is Leo (the lion); daughter Adrienne started the heart collection for her mother years ago.
Hudson says friends gave her the idea for her home's name. On a first visit, they'd remark - pun intended - that they'd finally been to Peyton's Place.