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By the time Sheila Ogle walked through the door of the decaying victorian home  in Downtown Cary she had already opened many doors.  The door to her first home, down Chatham street, right next to her mom and dad on one side and her sister beside that.  The dark wood door inscribed in gold with “Howard, Merrell and Partners” where she did a man’s job in a man’s world running a media department with sweetness and steel.  The door to her first company, Media Research Planning and Placement Inc a full-service media agency that she built one client at a time.  Oh and yes, the door to Carroll Ogle’s heart which was thrown wide open to her the first time she tried to buy an antennae for the top of her house (except he sold the kind that was 10 stories high and talked to satellites).  Then finally, the door to the dilapidated victorian house right next to the post office that had caught her eye one too many times to ignore.

The day she walked in was not the first time she had explored around the home.  Sometimes she just looked for a lingering second when she got in the car at the post office.  Sometimes she walked up the sidewalk in front of it, taking in new details as she strolled past.  Sometimes she felt a bit brave and walked right up to it.  One day she walked past the For Sale sign in the front yard, and right up to the front door of the house.  She knew there was no going back.  No, really, there were no front porch steps, there was literally no going back.

She stood in front of the door, the stained glass was still in the doorframe, the wood trim was long gone.  As she reached her hand to the doorknob she wondered briefly, instinctively, well, should I ring the bell or go right in?  Was she a visitor or was she home?  It felt a little like both.  The brass knob felt cold in her hand, its protective finish weathered with the hands of everyone who had visited and lived there since it was built in 1915.

“Might better ring the bell”, she thought, even though she knew no one had lived in the home for 10 years.  Maybe she just wanted to hear what it sounded like.  There was no button to push, just a small flat knob to turn, about 2 feet from the ground, right below the stained glass.  It turned with the resistance of 100 year old metal, a little tough to get started but then symphonic in its clang.  The metal lever clanging against the bell sounded like a bellman pressed into service at a fancy hotel, or a clerk called to attention from a back office by a customer, or an old telephone ringing with news. A tin-y, metal, vibrating trill that announced your presence to the whole house.  And to Sheila Ogle, as she stood on those steps in 1992, it sounded a lot like home.

About this Series

Our first studio space in Downtown Cary was in the Cary Innovation Center, which Sheila founded and manages.  As almost anyone around town will tell you, once you meet Sheila you just want to know her better.  In 2016 we moved to Ashworth Village, where we can see her pink victorian home in Downtown Cary from our office window.  A few months ago we asked if we could do a short video and blog post about her and her pink victorian house on Academy Street.  What were we thinking?!  There is no way either that strong and storied home or woman could be documented in 5 clean paragraphs.  We wanted to know more, and we knew you would too.  We wanted to share it with you, residents of the Town of Cary who are as curious as we are, friends, and neighbors, about the Guess-Ogle house.  We’ll be spending the year with Sheila Ogle and the Guess-Ogle home, taking it apart piece by piece and showing it to you with stories, videos, interviews, and blog posts.  We hope you love it and share it.

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