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When their children went off to college, Walt and Debbie Marcinkiewicz needed a project — so they decided to turn this 1870 Carthage home into a bed and breakfast. Below, a look at the newly named Carriage House B&B.

The home, at 703 McReynolds Street, was originally built for blacksmith W.T. Jenkins. Additions were made in 1910. Eighty years later, Shawna and Gary Smith would purchase the property, make their own set of renovations and operate it as the Blacksmith Inn. The property was converted into a rental home in 2010.

Walt and Debbie, who met in upstate New York but have lived in the Triangle for the past 14 years, fell in love with the property in 2016.

It wasn’t until 2018 that they would close on the home — and discover that a whole new set of rules for bed and breakfasts was now in place, requiring Walt and Debbie to meet the same standards as hotels and restaurants.

From January to August, the couple tag-teamed the project, bringing in contractors to help with big projects like new HVAC and new flooring in the newer part of the home. They did the rest themselves, leaving the original floors and wood trim untouched. “We threw ourselves into it and it means all that much more to us because of it,” Debbie says.

The entry (still bearing remnants of Christmas that Debbie won’t put it away until Spring) is decidedly Victorian, per the couple’s aesthetic. Their home near Chapel Hill was a custom-built Victorian reproduction with furniture hand-picked from antique stores and auctions.

A fence in the foyer separates the public living and dining space from the couple’s private living areas. It also keeps their 6-pound guard dog, Bailey, at bay.

Beadboard ceilings run throughout, and those that had been stained or painted dark (“it was like a cave,” Debbie says) were whitewashed. The four upstairs guest rooms are each named for a Moore County town and have their own theme.

Two bedrooms flank a jack-and-jill bath (separate toilets and a shared shower) and the others share a single bath down the hall, both with vintage tile and fixtures.

The couple’s private kitchen and dining space is at the back of the house, presumably in the space that was added in 1910 (and had undergone several changes since, not all for the better). It’s there that the couple stripped (almost) everything and made it their own.

A working well, which Debbie is told would pull 9 gallons a minute, lives near her kitchen table.

The side door leads out to a patio and on to the backyard, which is home to those brick archways above; as well as a barn rumored to belong to the blacksmith W.T. Jenkins himself.

See more of the home at thecarrigaehousebnb.com

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