Home designer to transform historic house into brand new living space

Published 3:20 pm Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Natalie Kirbo has always loved tiny homes.

Combine that with her passion for restoring historic properties and you’ll have her latest project. Kirbo intends to move a historic home on Shelton Street to her property on Broughton Street and turn it into a renovated, one bedroom shotgun house.

While once thriving, the home on Shelton Street is now a blighted property. However, Kirbo sees beyond that and sees real potential. She said the house is pretty much down to its studs, but the wood floors are salvageable and there is one door that is salvageable, along with most of the windows.

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“It has really good bones,” Kirbo said.

While the home may not seem like much to many, Kirbo said she has searched high and low for the perfect shotgun house.

The house she was searching for would need to be the perfect size to fit on the lot that already exists. It wouldn’t need to be too large, because there is already an older home that sits at the back of the lot, and most importantly it would need to be moveable and keep with the historic elements in the residential area.

This little home checked all those boxes. Kirbo said the home currently does not have a bathroom or kitchen, but she has plans for the space.

She wants to knock down a wall to create an open layout for the living room, dining room and kitchen area, while still keeping the bedroom separate and adding on a bathroom to the bedroom.

“I hope that it is a clean, bright, funky little space that brings inspiration to others,” Kirbo said.

The home, with the addition, will be approximately 630 square feet. Although it’s small, Kirbo knows the house will still take a ton of work. She said she hopes to have the bulk of the work done within a year, doing most of it herself.

While the work seems daunting, Kirbo said she is excited.

“Old houses are always full of surprises, it’s part of the fun,” she said.

Following the completion of the project, Kirbo wants to turn it into a short-term rental for Airbnb. Kirbo was one of the few who pushed for the short- term rental ordinance last year, already in hopes of completing a project like this.

“The short- term rental ordinance enables a monetary return, but I also really believe in downtown and I really want to see people come to the historic district as a destination and this allows for that,” she said.

While Kirbo is just in the beginning phase of the project, she said she is enjoying it so far and if successful, she would consider doing another renovation like this.

She hopes this rental creates a new experience for visitors and plans to put a scrapbook inside the home for people to view the progress of the home and sign their name. She also hopes to include bikes so visitors can visit downtown easily.

To follow along on the progress of the house, Instagram users can search #gmbshotgun and when available rent it exclusively online.