Tag Archives: georgia trust

paint job

Friday we had a workday. The interior color scheme of the Moore-Lewis House in Sparta, is, well, less of a scheme than it is a valiant effort to keep a local paint store in business by finding a use for the colors no one else wanted. I mean, the bold and brilliant orange that adorned the front and upstairs halls was not really that bad a color, but it is much better suited to be on C or B’s bridesmaids’ dresses that on the walls of anyone’s entry hall. Especially sponge-painted.



While half of the crew worked in the yard with gas-powered push mowers and hand-held hedge trimmers, we sweated it out on the inside pushing rollers of Kilz up and down those orange walls and cutting in around the trim. We did alright, and I’ve got to say, it looks way more open, airy, and just downright pleasant when you walk in than it did before.

We’ll let the next owner deal with those red sidelights. Now, anyone in the market for a good cheap house in Sparta?



on becoming an expert

It’s done. I set out for a degree in historic preservation and I’ve got it. But the purpose of that degree, the gaining of knowledge, of expertise in the field, is ongoing and still a long way from done. so I would really only say that Phase I is done, and Phase II is just beginning. I’m not qualified for a Preservation Award yet, come back when I’m complete.

I set out to get this degree because I wanted to learn a thing or two. I wanted to be an expert, honest to goodness that was my goal. it still is, and though I feel I’m falling incredibly short of being an expert in historic preservation most days, there are some days when I can see it shining through just a little bit.

It’s hardly worth bragging about, really, but it makes me smile with amazement that participants in the restoration of one of our Places in Peril sites were consulting me, ME, about the logistics of the restoration. Of the many questions on paint color, roofing material, adding non-historical structural support, etc I was able to offer accurate answers and assurances. I could even hear them nodding with enlightened interest when I suggested the “correct” way of putting on wood shingles (should they pursue that route), as if I’d just taught them something. At that moment I also felt a little snobby, but tried to keep that at bay.

site visit in February 2012

site visit in February 2012


December 2012

After all my involvement over the phone I could hardly wait to see the progress of the pavilion for myself and so V, J, N and I went all the way to Gainesville in search for the perfect Christmas tree in order to stop by. There they had sistered beams on either side of the corner rafters just as they’d inquired about, here was the replaced decking, stained to match what was still in good condition. It looked good, I approved.

So has gone one of my first tastes of being an expert and though it may be partly undeserved, it makes me beam.

turkey chase

On my first day alone on the job I was chased by a turkey. Seriously.


I went out to Lithonia yesterday afternoon to inspect the H Homestead. No one was home so I parked outside the gate, let myself in, and was immediately seduced by the landscaping. A family lives in the house but the property is also used as (i think K said) a nursery, incorporating all the old farm buildings, a pond, etc, into their lush landscape. I intended to check it out after i inspected the house exterior but i would not make it that far. I walked on around the house and started to take pictures and notes, it was such a pleasant place! I got back to the front porch and wondered why it was such a mess—but at least, thought i, that doesn’t seem to be doing any real damage, as long as they clean… and then he appeared.


Thanksgiving incarnate, walking toward me, so fluffed up his feathers dragged the ground with an ominous “shhHHHH” sound. I was in awe, and began taking his picture now. But he wouldn’t leave me alone! He hopped off the porch and began following me around the yard, closer and closer, when i tried to pause he came within a foot or so and I, not really wanting to get pecked took his silent hint and kept moving. No, he never said a word, but he also never let his feathers down until i was out of the front gate and had shut it behind me!

wren’s nest

honestly, a wren’s nest in the mailbox is nothing new, nothing special to any one place though it is marvelous. We’ve almost always had wren’s nesting in our mailbox in jackson (ever since dad built this one at least—that note is to the mailman to please use the alternate mailbox) but we didn’t go and name a dang house after the phenomenon!

The Wren’s Nest IS special. I managed to drag B over there a few weeks ago on a Saturday and we got stuck listening to some storytelling. Stuck is relative, i loved it. When it was done, however, we were hungry and I opted to come back another time and “observe the interior of the house”, my real purpose. Joel Chandler Harris moved to this farmhouse in West End, Georgia, back in 1881. He’d married in 1873 and had a young family which he’d recently uprooted from Savannah in an attempt to escape the yellow fever. He was an author and journalist then, though the Brer Rabbit stories wouldn’t come til the late 1890s. The property then was 5 acres of “country” land, called a “snap bean farm” he would renovate the small Folk Victorian house in 1884/85 to become the Eastlake-style Victorian delight that it is today.

While i listened, interested obviously, to my tour guide, i was jotting notes on the interior design and furnishings. The intricate, usually floral Victorian wallpaper throughout, particularly the Art Nouveau sample in the living room, picture molding, wallpapered ceilings, floor cloths, a mismatched chair at the dining room table, beadboard wainscoting, the oak, late 1800’s golden oak furniture everywhere and the oak woodwork in the house was gorgeous. I have a new favorite. It made me sad that the girls at Sunshine found the golden oak dining room set hideously out-of-date in the 30s and demanded their papa replace it. I wish i knew what it looked like! Yes, I could live comfortably among the busy patterns and dark woodwork of Joel Chandler Harris’s house while reading up on all his books in the reading room or on his front porch. What a lovely life that would be.

now, if you’ve been following any of my links you may have noticed how much fun it is to read about the Wren’s Nest house museum on their website and blog, it might be due to the fact that their young(er than me??) Executive Director is of the Professional Organization of English Majors and also great-great-great grandson of Harris himself. Anyway, i recommend reading, visiting, and participating!

Rhodes Hall

I didn’t expect to be doing much this summer, much less working for the Georgia Trust driving around backroads inspecting old houses. But here I am with a temporary desk on the 3rd floor of Rhodes Hall, a ca. 1906 Romanesque Revival “castle” stuck in the bend of Peachtree and hemmed in by the beginning of Buford Highway and I-75/85. Idyllic location. Of course, it WAS an idyllic location when Amos Rhodes first picked this hilltop location on his 114 acres that extended mostly west from Peachtree (what is now the 75/85 interchange) but this is hard to picture from the ground. It is much easier to imagine the sea of green land and the sweeping view down Peachtree toward downtown from the top of the Rhodes Hall tower.

On my first day there K gave me the tour, introducing me to people, and showing off appropriate rooms. A tour of the famed Civil War windows I did not get though, upon later observations i must admit they’re pretty magnificent. No, the best part of my tour was the Attic. Straight up we went and looked out a 3rd floor attic window onto the front yard and Peachtree. The massive stones are exposed on the interior and rafters spun up the underside of the roof of the turretted corner we were in, the heavy wooden floor and rafters had that wonderful smell and feel of well-built older homes: a smell of quality wood and the undisturbed age of a place. My desk would be located in the 3rd floor gymnasium, though i couldn’t help wondering how much use this place actually got. For a home begun when the children must’ve been nearly grown and then given over to the State of Georgia for “historical purposes” less than 30 years later after Mr. and Mrs. Amos Rhodes’ deaths. Something else wonderful about working in this place is how the people, the offices, and particularly the 3rd floor remind me of my childhood days in the offices at the Old Capitol. Yes, i feel a little bit at home here (: