Details Matter! The left photo shows a 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 in “Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners.”
Signed and personalized copies of the award-winning and bestselling 720-page hardcover book are available from the author in our shop, YourHistoricHouse.com/shop/.
Our shop also carries “A Field Guide to American Houses” by Virginia McAlester and select preservation and restoration titles by other authors. Save with our multi-book combo packs!
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