Most often, when discussing how to do any detail on
the restoration of an old house, you will hear the phase
"the average person won't know the difference" used
to justify cutting corners.  Rather than wondering who
will know the difference, our goal is to leave a finished
product that the craftsmen who built the house to start
with couldn't tell the difference.

Any of this work can be done completely the old way,
including using tools from the same era.  Most of the
time, owners want to save money, so we use modern
tools and equipment to save time where possible, but
joinery and surface finishes are kept faithful to the
original.  All finished wooden surfaces are planed by
hand with a plane that has its iron ground to match the
original plane marks on adjoining boards.
Tom King
Henrico, NC 27842

Tom is a 10th generation Virginia resident, and 9th
generation builder in his family, from early Jamestown,
to the beginning days of Brunswick County, Va., and
nearby in N.C.  to the Lake Gaston area today.
He has been building houses on Lake Gaston, and
restoring old houses since 1973.  Feel free to contact
Tom about your project.
To the left, is a photograph of
the Robinson-Elam House built
in 1828.  This photo was taken
a year or two after Hurricane
Hazel blew the top of the
nearest  chimney off.  The
occupation since 1954, until
restoration work began in
2007.  It was in a much worse
state than what is shown
in this picture when restoration
work began.
Picture to the right was taken
in 2009, as exterior work was
nearing completion.
the EdwardDromgoole 1784 house that
will also be featured here.  It was built
To the left, are a couple of pictures of
by one of the first Methodist Circuit
Riders, and is one of the very few
Methodist Shrines left from the
beginning years of the Methodist

It is was purchased for preservation by
The Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation.
Historic House Preservation
by  Tom King
When you undertake Historic Preservation of a
structure, you are becoming a Caretaker, and
Guardian of history.   

One of the first historic preservation organizations,
maybe even the first, is the Mount Vernon Ladies
Association, that initiated, and supervised the
restoration of Mount Vernon.  Their prime objective is
one to be followed.  They "didn't want to change

If you change the way anything looks, to suit your own
taste, you are no longer a guardian of history, but
simply a remodeler.  Much of written history has been
modified by the writer, but it's not impossible to
present a building to the visitor exactly as it looked in
it's day.

For instance, nothing looks worse, or more out of
place on an old house than new brick, or some
modern type of roofing.  Don't change the type of
mortar joint because you like better a different one
than the original.  These changes don't make you a
Guardian of History.

Don't make a molding that is a thinner one piece, that
looks sort of like the original because the maker
doesn't know how, or has the tooling to do similar, but
old in a house these days.  You just have to find
someone that knows how.