Hunt Country has always embraced its history. Our winding country roads are peppered with beautiful old homes that have been carefully preserved. Additions built at pain-staking effort to mirror the original structure. Enhancements made to interiors that bring in new world luxuries – but never at the expense of the old world’s character.
Understanding our area’s commitment to the past, we thought we’d check in with Jane Covington Restoration to get her thoughts on what to consider when it is time to restore, enhance or preserve a historic home.
Where to start:
Jane’s suggests your first consideration should be to find someone with a similar mindset.
“Find someone who approaches restoration with a creative perspective – no one needs to live in a home unnecessarily tied to the past. At the same time, find someone that has a light touch. Don’t erase fabulous historic elements that give a home its unique character.”
Photos below from one of Jane’s most recent restorations, East Lynn Farm in Loudon County, offer a great example of preserving a home’s “unique character.”
While wonderfully original and stunning aspects of the home are left untouched, such as the gorgeous, curving staircase – top-notch appliances & beautifully selected colors bring subtle hints of the modern world into the space.
Not all of us are skilled in the language of tax credits, but according to Jane there are many incentives available for restoration and green building for “listed” properties. Before making the plunge into historic restoration, be sure you have someone in the know.
“Definitely choose to work with someone who understands the ins and outs of the tax credits process! The cost savings can be enormous – allowing you to do more than you may think you can.”
Preserve the Story:
As we know, every historic property has a great story to tell & it is important that we hear it. As Jane explains, ”Each property weaves a great story of the rich cultural heritage of where we live. We erase that and we lose the unique identity of this place.”
One great story is that of East Lynn Farm (from the interior photos from above & exterior below). This charming 19th century brick home was originally built by a Virginia state senator for his new bride. Today the property is used as a Farm-to-Table venue for events and perhaps in homage to the original owners, is a popular site for Hunt Country weddings.
Another great story Jane has brought back to life is that of Furr Farm. Here a collection of 18th & 19th century barns – stable, hay barn and corn crib – were once the site of a famous Civil War battle know as “The Fight at Furr Farm.”
The photos above show Jane and her team’s pain-staking measures to repair and restore this beautiful corn crib to its original glory. Once the restoration was complete, the owner opened the site to the public for a reenactment of the farm’s notorious battle in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
Jane credits much of her firm’s success to the knowledgeable team of professionals with whom she partners and finds this type of collaboration KEY to any well-done restoration.
“You really need to work with a firm whose knowledge and capability extends through everyone involved – not just the guy in charge. The individual abilities of the tradesmen on your job are key. You need to have talented craftsmen who know their trade, who have apprenticed in the field, and love their work.”
Jane relied heavily on her team to take this once pair of 1800s corn cribs to the weekend cabin retreat it is today. – Sunny Side Farm, Fluvanna, County
The end all:
Above all, Jane suggests you find someone who loves what they do!
“Restoration takes a lot of attention to detail. Someone who’s skipping onto the next project for the next paycheck might skip through your details too…each restoration takes a bit of discovery, patience and dedication.”
As you may be able to discern, we believe Jane Covington Restoration is the best choice for anyone considering a complex, historic restoration. Her knowledge and passion for what she does, and the careful, responsible way in which she does it is to be admired.
The photo above from The Scout Guide Hunt Country Vol. 2, was taken in a lovely old church, turned hay-storage barn. Jane has adopted this beautiful structure and will one day bring it back to its original grace. We look forward to seeing it – and the many other works of living history she will revive for us all to enjoy.
Jave Covington Restoration