Article and Photography by ALICE MARY HERDEN
A historic home workshop kicked off at the May Stringer House in Brooksville on Feb. 8, 2019.
Specialized artisans not only shared their knowledge of historic restoration, but also made some repairs to the seven gabled home whose first construction was completed in 1855 by John May. (Dr. Stringer Sr. purchased the home and built an extensive addition in 1903.)
“It’s human,” Steve Quillian said. “These windows, these houses are built with human hands; with love and attention. There is this artisan’s spirit that people used to have that they don’t have anymore.”
Steve Quillian, owner of Wood Window Makeover, teamed up with Jo-Anne Peck to organize the workshop. Ms. Peck is the owner of the local business Historic Shed and serves on the board for the Hernando County Historical Society. Restorationists from around the country joined them for the weeklong workshop.
“The workshop used to be what you see today: classes, demonstrations and presentations,” Quillian said. “We took it to another level where we let people get their hands dirty and they loved it.”
“The culture doesn’t lend itself to working on old buildings anymore because the information that people used to take for granted has now passed away,” Quillian explained. “In order to understand old buildings you have to go to the old books and the old ways and find old timers to understand how they did things.”
For the May Stringer House, one of Florida’s most iconic historical homes, a workshop like this is a bonus. The home has recently undergone extensive foundation repairs and is operating under a tight budget. Assistance with little restoration projects are very much appreciated.
“To be able to host an event like this is monumental for us,” said Morgan Trapnell Curator for the May Stringer House. “We would not be able to have these repairs done anytime soon and they are really needed.”
Jo-Anne Peck with two volunteers replaced boards that were rotting from water damage on the west side of the home.
“We don’t have historical districts in our town,” Peck said. “I think it’s really important to show people what can be done.”
The workshop featured a variety of presenters with specific learning projects like Sash Prep and Glass Cutting by Katie Totman, Solving Plaster Problems by Scott Sidler. Each presenter during this seven day workshop gave those interested in restoring old windows better ways to learn restoration techniques, understand the use of tools and products as well as opportunities for hands on experiences.
The ‘Army of Artisans’ conducted workshops until February 15, but if you missed it, you can still take the opportunity to see their handiwork at the May Stringer House, just one of Brooksville’s most beloved historical homes.
“To have these artisans come from all over the country to host this workshop for us, it’s a wonderful partnership, we are so fortunate,” Trapnell said. “There are not enough words for what they are doing for us.”
Presenters participating in the workshop along with Steve and Jo-Anne included:
-Kim Monticello | Monticello Law Firm | Tampa, FL
-Ty McBride | Wood Window Rescue | Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
-Angel Corrales | Corrales Artisan and Consultants | Jacksonville, FL
-Christine Dalton | Dalton Studios | Sanford, FL
-Scott Sidler | Austin Historical | Orlando, FL
-Danny Moody | Pro Historical | Temple Terrace, FL
-Joe Hayes | Hayes Window Restoration | Minneapolis, Minnesota
-Tim Svarczkopf | Accoya | Groton, Massachusetts
-Katie Totman |Totman Restoration | New Braunfels, TX
-Ryan Carr | Southern Oak Restorations | Tampa, FL
-Jim Baxter | Integrity Home Innovations | Lantana, FL
-Marco Caporaso | Abatron | Kenosha, Wisconsin
-Scott Whobrey | Irish Eyes Restoration | Tampa, FL