The Katydid mill is genuinely one of America’s unique historical properties.

Katheryn Pettygrew looked beyond the dusty saws, the abandoned mill machinery and the near ruin of the old Boone Mill near Greensboro and dared to imagine the charming home that could be built in its stead. The Boone Mill, which is the oldest remaining sawmill built in North Carolina, was originally constructed circa 1835, and had ceased operation in 1920. But in 1935, when Ms. Pettygrew drove past the building, all she could see was potential.

It took her three years to transform the deserted sawmill into a rustic summer home, which she completed with great artistic vision and ingenuity. Ahead of her time in architectural technique, Ms. Pettygrew chose to use recycled lumber in the home that she took from nearby crumbling structures and barns, and she converted old pulley wheels and rollers into unique pieces of furniture that served as an homage to the home’s former life as a sawmill.

She was so successful in her repurposing of the mill that American Home Magazine took notice and dedicated an entire spread to the home, which was featured in their June 1940 issue. “It would be hard to top the simple, natural character of the place,” the magazine article read. “A charm due in great measure to the fact that the house has kept its original outline and has been left in its unpainted, weathered gray finish. It’s the very unpretentiousness of the place which is so ‘right,’ so peaceful, and most important, so utterly comfortable.”

Because of her unique approach to the construction and remodel, the Boone Mill—now known as the Katydid Mill—remains a rustic retreat, located just 10 minutes from downtown Greensboro and easy commuting distance from the Winston-Salem, Durham, and Raleigh metro areas. Situated on 2.7 acres of private, thick-wooded land, the home is a welcome respite from the haze of the city, but with contemporary design details and amenities that don’t make you feel like you’re living off the grid.

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