Originally from Minnesota, Nichole (pronounced Nicholee) Lewis married and moved to Baltimore, where she used her degree in broadcasting (and her husband’s connections) to land a job as a television editor. There she worked on television shows like America’s Most Wanted. Television is a demanding field and so, when her husband passed at a young age, she began to wonder if a more peaceful life might be better for herself and her fourteen year-old daughter.
Nichole was no stranger to older homes or rural living, and when she found a two acre farm on preservation farmland about 35 miles outside of Washington, DC, she thought she perhaps had found the perfect place to start again. She then purchased an abandoned building that had once been a general store and rebuilt it from the ground up. Her restoration efforts won her a top restoration project award in her county, and the store, which sold organic and farm fresh produce, as well as other locally made products, was proving extremely successful. Things took a turn, however, when the recession of 2008 hit. She closed up shop and moved to Colorado, where she began working for Chef Magazine.
In time, her daughter grew up and moved to Durham. When Chef Magazine was taken over by Target, Nichole was once again reconsidering her career and location. Her daughter persuaded her to venture back to the east coast, which she did, only to see her daughter marry and move away. That was ok, though. North Carolina had much to offer and she enjoyed her new job as a buyer and manager for Bulldega Urban Market (which position she still holds.)
During her time in Durham she has met many people connected with Danville and she’s heard a great deal about the revitalization efforts here. At last she decided to come have a look for herself. She was so impressed by the excitement of our ongoing and successful revitalization efforts that she decided she wanted to be a part of it. She visited the website, and after contacting Paul Liepe with a few choices, at last decided on her new restoration project — The Hughes House at 858 Pine Street.
The Italianate home requires a lot of work, but Nichole is excited about the possibilities. Once a multi-family residence, revisioning of the floorplan offers her the opportunity to take advantage of large, open areas that will, in time, provide for ample cooking and entertaining spaces. On land adjacent to the house, she hopes eventually to establish an urban garden. The house offers wonderful light, and standing in the foyer Nichole feels inspired by the home’s possibilities. Not everyone has the ability to see potential, but Nichole is excited to see her vision come to life.
“It’s not just about dreaming,” Nichole says by way of advice to others who may be considering taking on one of the Old West End’s many restoration projects, “but it’s about having the faith to jump in and do it.”
From the moment she considered the idea to her actual purchase of the property took a surprisingly short time. “It all happened really fast,” she says. But that’s the moment when you know something is right. The universe just steps in and makes it happen.
We are as excited as Nichole to see her visions come to life, and we are excited to have yet another enterprising and visionary neighbor in the Old West End. Welcome, Nichole!