Most often, when discussing how to do any detail on
the restoration of an old house, you will hear the
phase: "No one will know the difference", to justify
cutting corners.  Rather than wondering who will know
the difference, our goal is to leave a finished product
that the craftsmen themselves, 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.
Below are photographs of the
Robinson-Elam House built in
1828.  The old photo was taken
a year or two after Hurricane
Hazel blew the top of the
nearest  chimney off.  The
restoration work began in
2007.  It was in a much worse
state than what is shown
in this picture when restoration
work began.
The EdwardDromgoole 1798 house will
also be featured here.  To the left, are
a couple of pictures.  E. Dromgoole
was one of by one of the first
Methodist Circuit Riders, and this is
one of the very few Methodist Shrines
left from the beginning years of the
Methodist Religion.

It is was purchased for preservation by
The Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation.

The OBCF currently does not have a
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.

More times than not, these old structures need some
help to the way they were originally built.  Even then,
the new "improvements" need to be done to look like
they were built by the same craftsmen that built it to
start with.

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 match.  You
just have to find someone that knows how.
1828 Robinson-Elam house
Below are pictures of 1850 Glen Ivey, in Halifax,
NC.  There are many pictures on this website of
work we did on it.