Performing a restoration on a home is never easy work, especially when the home is of great historical significance, several centuries old, and any restorations performed will be under heavy scrutiny. Never the less, when their DC client asked them to refurbish this 18th century home, Four Brothers Carpentry rose to the challenge, and performed marvelously, reworking and modernizing the home while preserving it’s historic features and charm.
The home itself has stood since the 18th century, and in those years, though it has had minor updates, it has never gone through a full-scale renovation. This meant that the home would need a complete workover, from new power and water, to a new HVAC system, and a modernized well and waste system. With the strict standards imposed due to the building’s historical significance, this would prove quite challenging to complete.
While as much of the original layout and materials as possible were to be kept for the job, part of the update was to be the addition of a full new kitchen, as well as three full baths and one-half bath. This presented a great challenge since Four Brothers Carpentry needed to preserve as many of the original walls and doors as possible. In the end, through innovative use of space and materials, they were able to install the new rooms within the existing footprint of the home without having to remove much of the original workings.
The new spaces were also given details such as paneling and woodwork that matched to rest of the home, keeping the overall design and 18th-century feel while providing modern amenities to the home’s new guests. Material historians and period experts were called in to ensure that everything from the paint, to the woods used were color and textural matches for the pre-existing materials. This also allowed new elements, like HVAC vents, to be incorporated into the design without detracting from the overall look and feel of the abode.
In order to preserve it’s nature, the floors were scrubbed clean, but they were not finished to retain their original character. Plaster was re-hung or repaired using period-specific methods, and millwork and doors were either restored or replicated where damaged. The hardwood paneling in the primary reception room was repaired and re-hung where damaged as well.
Despite the many historical challenges, not to mention the construction challenges inherent when working on a home that has not been updated for centuries, the renovation was a complete success, with the home’s stunning revival completed. The historical materials and techniques used were enough to ensure that the experts called in on the project were satisfied with it’s retained accuracy, while the updates completed ensured that the home was up to modern building codes and ready for renewed usage as a vacation rental home.
Special Thanks to Four Brothers Carpentry and Greg Hadley for providing the quotes and photography for this story. If you would like to learn more about the Washington DC Historic Home Renovation or Four Brothers Carpentry and their other amazing projects, please visit their site here.