Welcome to 'The Phelps Compound"

Jul. 08, 2014 @ 10:07 AM

On the Caldwell County side of Rhodhiss, a small house surrounded by a towering black fence sits off the side of Spruce Street. Aside from the fence, it’s a happy looking home with a large back deck and saplings sprouting in the yard.

Inside, sunlight glimmers in the sun room. An impressive collection of glass toothpick holders, creating the colors of the rainbow, look out on the small dining room. The living room boasts a television framed by two oil lamps, one from an antique store and the other, covered in moons and stars, previously owned by Brian Phelps’s grandmother, who used the lamp to light her home. Nature prints by Bob Timberlake loom over the soft, red sofa.

“Being in this little community has been good for me,” Phelps said. “It’s a nice place. This is small enough for one old man, and it works well.”

Phelps lived in Conover for 25 years working in child care. When he retired, he wanted to find a place close to his son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren in Granite Falls.

“I’m a mile and a half away from my grandchildren, and it’s wonderful,” Phelps said.

Phelps also enjoys the home because of the expansive backyard. He said he put in his life savings into making it the perfect home for his chocolate labs, which he has been breeding since 1996. When asked why he decided to breed chocolate labs, Phelps joked, “Because I love chocolate.”

A kennel sits on the back of the property to house the dogs, and the large fence circles the yard to give them plenty of room to run and exercise. Because of this, Phelps’ son calls the place “The Phelps Compound.”

“I didn’t want my dogs getting out in the street and becoming speed bumps,” Phelps said. “If you value your animals, you try to protect them and take care of them. Like a child, when you take care of children, you sometimes have to protect them from themselves, and you do that with dogs.”

Phelps said that it is enjoyable living in Rhodhiss because his neighbors are understanding when it comes to his chocolates.

“If I had my dogs and I moved to one of the fancy subdivisions, the neighbors would tar and feather me. They’d be up in arms. The people here have been very gracious about my dogs. When the girls get excited and bark, the neighbors have not complained,” he said.

“This has been a good place to be. It gives me access to family, and it gives me space for dogs. It’s been good to be retired.”