Before & After, showing why accurate details matter. The left photo shows this portico as it appeared when I showed up to inform the contractor that he was doing unapproved work in a historic district, having ripped out and discarded the original columns and bases on this fine Italianate-style house. Such visits were never an enjoyable part of my job as a municipal employee.
Fortunately, the hand-carved capitals of the columns remained. Although the columns were gone, a 1924 tax photo (inset at bottom center) documented their appearance, and the pilasters against the building remained with base moldings that matched the now-missing column bases.
Working with the contractor and owner I was able to locate a source for round fiberglass columns that provided an acceptable match for the originals, which were unusual in having no entasis (taper) along the length of the column. With these replacement columns set up on bases copied from the pilaster bases, the porch was restored to its correct appearance (right photo).
This portico is an example used in Chapter 13 ~ Exterior Trim and Windows in Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners. The 720-page hardcover book is now in stores and available from online retailers.
Signed copies are available directly from the author on this site, click here: https://yourhistorichouse.com/shop/.
Your local bookstore can order copies from their W.W. Norton rep.
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