Double Hung times four

Yesterday will command a red letter on the Double Hung calendar for years to come.  First came the call from Hickory, NC. 

Several weeks ago I was asked to intervene in a spat between that city’s preservation community and the Catawba County Center for the Arts (CCCA) that is housed in an adapted re-use of a 1920′s era high school.  Seems that someone had convinced the CCCA’s board that nothing would do but to tear out nearly 150 of the building’s windows and replace them with new aluminum or vinyl clad units.Hickory Science Center.jpg

After an inspection of the building I sent my evaluation to the Board stating that the fenestration needed little more than standard maintenance for appearance’s sake and perhaps some internal ‘storm’ panels to increase energy efficiency.  Yesterday, they took me up on my offer to save not only the windows, but also nearly $150,000, which was the difference between me fixing the old and someone else replacing with new.

Next came the call from Albemarle.

There is a great movement underway in NC to transform many of our old mills into condos, businesses and restaurants – or more often, all three together in a mixed use development like Saxapahaw’s recently completed River Mill project.  Lillian Mill in Albemarle is getting ready to undergo a similar transformation (Biz Journal, Charlotte) but the last remaining question was what to do about the 245 windows that overwhelmingly define the appearence of the structure (sorry, no picture yet).  But, as of yesterday, now we know.  Double Hung to the rescue… we start next week.

Then came Silar City.  A couple from Florida bought an early 1800′s farm house that is listed on the National Registry.  They called me about a month ago to come look at restoring their windows.   Yesterday they asked us to get started.  The house is the original homestead for what used to be the nationally famous resort of Mt. Vernon Springs which is still flowing just down the road.  I went by and tasted it during my visit down there and the water is still excellent after all these centuries.

Then Raleigh called.

Smedes Hall.jpgSt. Mary’s School for Girls is undertaking major renovations to several of their oldest structures.  We completed the windows in the ‘East Rock’ building in June.  Yesterday we came to terms with Clancy & Theys Construction to take on the next phase of the campus’ renovations: Smedes Hall.

This 1834 structure serves serves as the main administrative building as well as faculty and student housing.  Although we can start on the windows at any time, I’m going to hold us off of that project until sometime in November.  We’ve spent enough time in Raleigh for a while.

So that’s four major contracts in one day.  It is kind of overwhelming but damn satisfying I must say.  With these projects on the books, we are scheduled out until February if not longer.  (We will still accomodate some smaller projects, though)

Of course the normal thing to do would be to go out and hire a bunch of new people and try to keep up with demand, but I’ve seen that play before.  I would rather plod along with a lean, mean and efficient crew like we currently have.  My biggest fear is getting too large, too fast, and letting quality fly out the… well… the window.

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7 Comments

  1. Wayne R.
    Posted July 27, 2006 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    David,

    If those Albemarle winders are the big metal casement-type, a good restoration has been done in Pittsboro at the old Chatham Mill there. They restored the windows, kept the floors intact, and the spaces are filling up fast.

    Hopefully, most of the old mills around will find a second life in the same way. Lots of ‘em have been torn down, but there’s hope for a lot of them.

    Thanks again for doing what you do, and you’re actually making a living out of it!

    Ww

  2. Posted July 27, 2006 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Wow! What a great day. I’m happy for your success, David.

  3. Posted July 27, 2006 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    So now you get the grief involved in hiring more folks, eh? I can hardly imagine what it’d be like working for you!

  4. Posted July 28, 2006 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    I’m a piece of cake to work for, Sue. I hire good people and tell them to go out and make mistakes figuring that if they aren’t making mistakes, they aren’t always striving to improve.

    I’ve been lucky so far, I must admit.

  5. Britt Whitmire
    Posted July 30, 2006 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    looks like dh is rockin’. good, honest help is hard to find and it’s good to see one of the good guys being rewarded. i hope it leads to a lot more.

  6. Peggy
    Posted October 27, 2006 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations David! You’re part of the front page news today in the Hickory Daily Record.
    After hearing about your company , I would like to seek your review for possible services at
    our historic structure. We need a recommendation on a vacant school building with about 175 double
    hung windows from that same era, built around 1921.
    See more at http://www.presBHS. org . So glad you’re in the business of restoring windows!
    Peggy

  7. John O'Boyle
    Posted November 4, 2006 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Do you know of company in Southern New England (Conneticut) that does window restoration. We live in a Circa 1840 Gothic Revival mansion (now 3 appatments) that has a large number of very large winds (average 6′ x 30″) that need resuration to improve apperance and heat retention.

    Thanks in advance.

    John O’

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    [...] David Hoggard’s take on local politics and life in general from Greensboro, NC « Double Hung times four Not dead, just resting July 29th 2006 @ 7:53 am Life in General, Family matters [...]