Ashville NC old Window restorer

It wasn’t until the construction of the railroad in the 1880s when Asheville began to turn into the urban, tourist-destination it is today. Just three years after the first train rode through, the population nearly doubled. Then, Asheville changed forever in 1889 when George Washington Vanderbilt built a 250-room French Chateaux home on a plot of land that was 125,000 acres (now Biltmore Estate is about 8,000 acres) featuring gorgeous mountain views. From there, Biltmore Village made its presence.

The term “Paris of the South” began to take popularity and represent Asheville well. As WNC became a place of healing and tourism, then came the construction of the Montford neighborhood, luxury inns such as Grove Park, Basilica of St. Lawrence.

Downtown Asheville boasts a colorful and eclectic mix of architecture. Styles include Neoclassical, Romanesque Revival, Art Deco, Beaux Arts, Gothic and Spanish Renaissance, with buildings and monuments designed by greats such as Douglas D. Ellington, Richard Sharp Smith and Rafael Guastavino. Among the highlights are the Guastavino-designed Basilica of St. Lawrence, featuring what is reputed to be the largest freestanding elliptical dome in North America, the massive Grove Arcade Public Market, and Ellington’s Art Deco City Hall. A great way to enjoy Asheville’s downtown architecture is via the Urban Trail.

Why are there so many architectural gems in Asheville? Asheville suffered a greater financial hardship than all others from the 1929 Crash, shouldering a per capita debt burden that was the greatest in the country. Today, the liability that city carried for almost 50 years has turned it into an American architectural treasure.

Ashville Historic Sites:

Thomas Wolfe boyhood home officially the Old Kentucky Home and immortalized by Wolfe as “Dixieland,” painted yellow, and architecturally a Queen Anne-style home.  Having no relationship to Queen Anne Architecture from Britan, it emerged in the United States during the period from roughly 1880 to 1910.[2] Popular there during this time, it followed the Second Empire and Stick styles and preceded the Richardsonian Romanesque and Shingle styles. Sub-movements of Queen Anne include the Eastlake is simply a genre of Victorian Architecture in the united states using heavily ornamented millwork that Gepetto can reproduce for repairs or retrofit. 

Distinctive American Queen Anne building parts:

  • asymmetrical façade
  • dominant front-facing gable, often cantilevered beyond the plane of the wall below
  • overhanging eaves
  • round, square, or polygonal towers
  • Dutch gables
  • a porch covering part or all of the front façade, including the primary entrance area
  • a second-story porch or balconies
    pedimented porches
  • differing wall textures, such as patterned wood shingles shaped into varying designs, including resembling fish scales, terra cotta tiles, relief panels, or wooden shingles over brickwork, etc.
  • dentils
  • classical columns
  • spindle work
  • oriel and bay windows
  • horizontal bands of leaded windows
  • monumental chimneys
  • painted balustrades
  • wooden or slate roofs
  • front gardens with wooden fences

Asheville, North Carolina, nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is renowned for its stunning architecture, vibrant culture, and rich history. From the iconic Biltmore Estate to the charming homes in Montford Historic District, Asheville’s architectural diversity reflects its colorful past. As a seasoned expert in historic window restoration at Gepetto Millworks, I have had the privilege of working on numerous projects throughout Asheville’s historic districts, restoring and maintaining firsthand the importance of preserving these architectural gems. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the significance of historic window restoration in Asheville’s context, highlighting specific buildings and districts where preservation efforts have made a tangible difference like the Star Building the Smith-McDowell Historic Restoration

The Significance of Historic Window Restoration:

Historic windows serve as the eyes of a building, offering glimpses into its past while framing views of the present. They are not merely functional components but integral features that contribute to a structure’s architectural character and historical authenticity. In Asheville, where architectural heritage is cherished and celebrated, preserving historic windows is paramount to maintaining the city’s unique identity.  Read on about the art deco time period and buildings of Ashville in this great article.

Investing in Historic Windows: Aesthetic and Financial Benefits

Investing in the restoration of historic windows yields both aesthetic and financial benefits for property owners. From enhancing curb appeal to qualifying for historic tax credits, the decision to prioritize window restoration can significantly impact the value and longevity of a building. Let’s delve into the specific benefits:

  1. Preservation of Architectural Integrity: Historic windows are often crafted from high-quality materials such as wood or steel, boasting intricate designs and craftsmanship that are rarely replicated in modern counterparts. By restoring these windows to their original glory, property owners contribute to the preservation of Asheville’s architectural heritage, ensuring that future generations can appreciate the city’s rich history.
  2. Enhanced Aesthetic Appeal: Authenticity is a hallmark of historic properties, and restored windows play a pivotal role in maintaining visual coherence and charm. Whether it’s the elegant double-hung windows of the Grove Park Inn or the stained glass masterpieces adorning churches in the Downtown Historic District, each window tells a story and adds to the overall beauty of the structure.
  3. Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings: Contrary to common misconceptions, historic windows can be energy-efficient when properly restored and weather-sealed. By upgrading historic windows with modern technologies such as low-E coatings and weather-stripping, property owners can improve energy efficiency, reduce utility costs, and contribute to sustainability efforts—all while preserving the original character of the building.  Do a bit of googling and you’ll find some of the problems created around modern home ‘sealing’!  Your historic home ‘breathes’ and that helps it manage humidity and moisture changes in the way it was designed when built.  We all too commonly see rot started by the overuse of latex sealants and other small mistakes that cause more problems than they solve.  Give Matthew a call about any of the historic design purposes that contradict ‘modern’ techniques.
  4. Qualification for Historic Tax Credits: One of the most compelling financial incentives for historic window restoration is the eligibility for historic tax credits. In Asheville, several historic districts, including Biltmore Village Historic District, Montford Historic District, and Kenilworth Historic District, offer tax incentives for the rehabilitation of historic properties. By investing in window restoration as part of a larger renovation project, property owners can offset costs and potentially recoup a significant portion of their investment through tax credits.

Case Study: The Restoration of Montford Historic District

Asheville’s Montford Historic District, located just north of downtown, is a treasure trove of Victorian, Arts and Crafts, and Queen Anne architectural styles. Home to over 600 historically significant structures, Montford is a testament to Asheville’s Gilded Age prosperity and enduring cultural legacy. Among its notable landmarks are the Riverside Cemetery, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, and the George W. Pack House.

In recent years, Montford has experienced a resurgence of interest and investment, with many property owners undertaking ambitious restoration projects to preserve the district’s architectural heritage. One such project involved the comprehensive restoration of the historic windows at the All Souls Crescent Apartments, a prominent Queen Anne-style building dating back to the late 19th century.

The All Souls Crescent Apartments, originally constructed as a luxury residence for Asheville’s elite, had fallen into disrepair over the decades, with its original windows suffering from rot, decay, and neglect. Recognizing the importance of preserving this architectural gem, the property owner embarked on a meticulous window restoration project in collaboration with Gepetto Millworks.

The restoration process began with a thorough assessment of the existing windows, identifying areas of deterioration and crafting a tailored restoration plan. Skilled craftsmen carefully removed each window sash, preserving any salvageable components while replacing irreparable elements with period-appropriate materials. Traditional joinery techniques were employed to ensure structural integrity, while historical accuracy was maintained through meticulous attention to detail.

Upon completion of the restoration process, the All Souls Crescent Apartments emerged transformed, with its historic windows restored to their original splendor. The intricate woodwork, ornate detailing, and timeless elegance of the windows complemented the building’s overall aesthetic, enhancing its curb appeal and contributing to the revitalization of the Montford Historic District.

From a financial perspective, the window restoration project proved to be a wise investment for the property owner. By leveraging historic tax credits available for rehabilitation projects within Montford Historic District, the owner was able to offset a significant portion of the restoration costs, thereby maximizing return on investment while preserving Asheville’s architectural heritage for future generations to enjoy.

Historic window restoration plays a vital role in preserving Asheville’s architectural heritage, enhancing property values, and fostering sustainable development. By investing in the restoration of historic windows, property owners not only honor the past but also secure a brighter future for Asheville’s iconic landmarks and historic districts. From the vibrant streets of Downtown Asheville to the tranquil neighborhoods of Montford and beyond, the preservation of historic windows serves as a testament to the city’s enduring spirit and timeless beauty. As stewards of Asheville’s architectural legacy, it is our responsibility to ensure that these windows of opportunity remain open for generations to come.

New frame Colonial Revival and stucco Georgian Revival buildings were built for the Oteen Veteran’s Administration Hospital from 1924 to 1932. Now part of a Department of the Interior’s National Register Historic District and awaiting preservation/adaptive reuse.

oteen veterans hospital restoration supplier