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Porch Portraits: When Staying Home Is The Order, Many North Carolinians Get Creative

Jones Price-O'Neil, looks through the window of his home in Raleigh, N.C. on Friday, April 24, 2020. Jones and his older sister Prestyn, like many children, are staying home and being home-schooled by their parents, TJ and Justine.
Ben McKeown
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For WUNC
Jones Price-O'Neil, looks through the window of his home in Raleigh, N.C. on Friday, April 24, 2020. Jones and his older sister Prestyn, like many children, are staying home and being home-schooled by their parents, TJ and Justine.

These last few weeks have tested many North Carolinians, as work and school, parenting and extra-curricular activities have moved from in-person settings to virtual spaces. For many, it's been an opportunity to explore a new, albeit temporary, way of living.

Teaching Dance Class Online

Allison Daniels Gordon, a professional dance teacher and choreographer, leads an online dance class from her patio as her daughter, Marlo Blue Gordon, and niece, Macy Daniels, participate in person during the coronavirus pandemic in Raleigh, N.C. on Tuesday, Apr. 28, 2020. In-person dance classes have all been canceled as a result of the pandemic, so Allison, with the help of her husband Rob and son Rush, converted their patio into a makeshift dance studio, complete with an awning to protect against bad weather as well as spotlights to illuminate the space. Allison leads virtual dance classes several times a week from the patio.

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online dance class coronavirus staying home
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Starting An Unexpected Business

Brad Shewmaker, stands for a portrait with his daughter, June, and partner Mary Alice Holley at their home in Chapel Hill, N.C., Sunday, Apr. 26, 2020. Brad, June, and Brad's partner Mary Alice Holley, started making and selling cedar planter boxes during the coronavirus pandemic. They didn't intend to start a business during the pandemic. Prior to the lockdown, the couple bought the materials to build some cedar boxes for themselves and decided to sell one of the boxes to pay for the wood they purchased. When people saw their boxes on social media, they begin receiving inquiries about selling more boxes. They decided to name their new business North State Bee Works. Orders for boxes have continued to come in through the pandemic.

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Coping With Loneliness During Self-Isolation

Oliff Pratt and Clarice Pratt stand outside their home in Raleigh, N.C. on Sunday, Apr. 26, 2020. Both are retired, but have been essentially quarantined to their home with few visitors during the coronavirus pandemic. Clarice is eager to talk with anyone who might walk by, since human interaction has been scare during this lockdown. "We don't get to have many conversations these days," she said.

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Teaching And Parenting From Home

Justine Price-O’Neil and TJ Price-O’Neil sit for a portrait with their children, Prestyn and Jones, at their home in Raleigh, N.C. TJ and Justine are both teachers, and due to the pandemic, they are both working from home while simultaneously home-schooling Prestyn and Jones. While the change in lifestyle came abruptly and required some quick adapting from the family, it’s been a relatively smooth process. When Prestyn, despite being a fastidious and dedicated student, learned that school had been canceled for the rest of the year, she jumped and cheered with joy. Still, this has not been an entirely anxiety-free period. Before taking this photo, Jones nervously asked his parents whether the photographer was wearing a mask before agreeing to come outside. While at home, Justine and TJ spend a lot of time in their back yard and using the greenway trail that runs right past their home.

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Converting A Garage Into A Fitness Studio

Jojo Polk stands outside his home with his son, LJ, and daughter, Aubrey during the coronavirus pandemic in Raleigh, N.C. on Wednesday, Apr. 29, 2020. Jojo owns Core Fitness Studio, a gym in Raleigh, where he usually leads fitness classes. Due to the pandemic, however, he's had to convert his garage into a gym and lead his classes virtually. The family is being extremely cautious during this pandemic because Jojo's wife and the kids' mother, Shirley, has a pre-existing heart condition that makes contracting this virus very dangerous. Shortly after the birth of their son, LJ, Shirley developed peripartum cardiomyopathy, which nearly killed her. Because of this, maintaining social distance and wearing masks is routine practice for the Polk's during the pandemic.

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Planning A Wedding Amid Uncertainty

Kate Farthing, middle, and her fiance, Cody Charland, right, stand with Claire Hughes, left, on the patio in their back yard in Raleigh, N.C. on Sunday, Apr. 26, 2020. All three are currently working from home, and during the pandemic, their patio has become a de facto living space. Kate and Cody have their wedding scheduled for September 26, 2020, but Kate says she is unsure as to whether she'll be able to invite guests due to the coronavirus pandemic. "We might just have to go to the courthouse," she says. Cody, who loves to surf, recently traveled to Wrightsville Beach, N.C. for a brief surfing trip. The town of Wrightsville Beach recently opened for "individual, non-stationary exercise activities," including surfing. Claire, Kate's coworker, came to the United States on a work visa from the UK just two days before travel between the two countries was restricted. She's been living with Kate and Cody during the lockdown in North Carolina.

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Finding New Hobbies Around The House

Tim Bulla and Maddie Hornsby sit outside their home with their dog, Oden, in Raleigh, N.C. on Saturday, Apr. 25, 2020. Tim works for Cisco, whose offices are in Research Triangle Park. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, he is currently working from home. Maddie worked in the restaurant industry before the pandemic hit, but is now unemployed since her restaurant closed. To pass the time at their home, which they purchased last year, Tim has been working on a number of projects, including building a greenhouse, converting an old water-heater into a meat smoker, and clearing leaves and debris from their densely wooded back yard. Maddie frequently checks in on her neighbors, some of whom are elderly, often bringing gifts of homemade food.

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Working and Studying From Home

Elliot Acosta and his wife Sara stand outside their home with their son, Ephraim during the coronavirus pandemic in Raleigh, N.C., on Sunday, Apr. 26, 2020. Elliot works for Cree, a tech company in Research Triangle Park, but is currently working from home. Just several days before the United States restricted travel to foreign countries, Elliot was on a work trip in India. After he returned home, Elliot says he was quite nervous about his health, given that he'd just spent hours in close quarters on an airplane with strangers from all over the world. "Every cough, every scratch in your throat, it was like, is this the virus?" he said. Sara works for Carroll's Kitchen, a nonprofit restaurant in Raleigh, and is also a student at Campbell Divinity School. Due to the pandemic, she's also working and studying from home. The couple made the decision to remove Ephraim from his daycare facility, despite the fact that it is still open, because of fears about the virus.

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