MARSTON — Charles Gainey, Dennis Holloway and a team of other volunteers are working together to renovate the family home of the late Claude and Lois Smith on 2455 U.S. 1 North to make way for its new owner — Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina.
The home, donated by the Smiths’ daughter Claudia Robinette in honor of her parents, was her family home, she said. Robinette and her husband are active in their church family at First Baptist Church in Rockingham, so it seemed like the perfect way to honor the legacy of her parents.
The Claude and Lois Smith Family Care Home, a ministry of Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, will be a facility for housing young single mothers with children and helping them to get back on their feet.
Updating the spacious residential home to a modern state has required more than a fresh coat of paint, Gainey said.
“You can see here we’ve totally replaced the ceilings,” he said as he entered a room in the rear of the property. “We put a wall right here, and this is going to be what we call a refrigerator room. Everybody will have their own refrigerator. This is a big house. All we’ve done down in here in the bedrooms and the bathrooms is just paint.”
Gainey said new carpeting would be laid next week. The renovations will continue between now and an open house event scheduled for Aug. 30.
“The open house will be the day we introduce it,” said Neil Robinette, grandson of the Smiths. “All those volunteers have worked really hard with painting and reflooring, they’ve been a huge help out there. Invitations will be sent out soon, and the event will introduce the facility to the community. It will be a kind of a kick-off party and a ‘thank you’ to celebrate everyone who’s helped.”
“Here’s the disaster room in here,” Gainey said of a pine-paneled room with a large fireplace. “We had to completely redo the ceiling and tear out all this up here. The paneling is going to stay.”
As room after room opened further into the spacious home, a surprisingly shaped, large room came into view with a suddenness that brought the tour to a sudden stop. The ceiling rose up to twice its height, possibly higher in places. Its angles drew the eye toward a staircase and gave it the look of a grand entryway or lobby. The smell of clean, fresh paint filled the room.
Entering a bathroom with a new textured paint job on the walls, Gainey explained this room had been difficult.
“The walls were rough,” he said. “We had to take down this wallpaper. It was rough.”
Gainey was there early waiting for the other volunteers to join him Friday and said he hoped the crew would get even more accomplished by the end of the day.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.