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Michael Perry and Micah Erno began giving the Charles W. Gold House some TLC even before they bought the historic home.
“Even though we didn’t own it yet, we decided to make it safer for the city because it had no back wall and just had blue tarps blowing in the wind,” Perry said. “We spent our Fourth of July weekend here to enclose the back and repair the leaking roof. We got it drier and safer, then fortunately, the owners went along with it and we bought it.”
The house at the corner of Vance Street and Maplewood Avenue had been purchased in 2012, but a lack of resources stalled the renovation.
“If good intentions could have fixed the house, I’m sure it would have been restored by now,” Erno said.
Eventually, the dilapidated house posed a safety risk to the public, and the city began demolition proceedings. In July, Preservation of Wilson was able to secure a reprieve for the house as Perry and Erno, through their company M&M Restoration, committed to redoing the exterior of home within a year.
“The first priority was to get it safe and stop the porches from caving in,” Perry said. “Both the side and front porches have new floors and new roofing. We have the material for the ceiling, but we couldn’t put that in until we had a floor to walk on.
“Our intention next is to finish the exterior for the aesthetic value by scraping and painting the house, but we’re currently working on finding photographs of what it originally looked like.”
Anyone with photographs of 300 Vance St. NE, especially showing the configuration of the back of the house before it was subdivided into three apartments, is encouraged to email them to michaelPperry@icloud.com.
“When it was made into apartments, the backside was torn off and a second-floor staircase was put in,” Perry said. “They put in a door where a window was and we can see that, but we don’t know the configuration of the bottom floor in terms of where the doors and windows were, but we would like to put them back as original as possible.”
The duo has been together for about six years, renovating properties in Vermont and restoring a Stantonsburg plantation home for the past two years. Perry said the Stantonsburg property and the Vance Street home both had been neglected for years.
“My first impression of the Gold House was sadness,” Erno said. “It was just sad to see such a previously beautiful home go by the wayside.”
Perry looked at it from a practical standpoint, immediately deciding the renovation was possible and worthwhile.
“Ed’s house next door is a great example of what a house from that period can look like,” Erno said.
Contractor Ed Lackie has spent the past few years living in and restoring the Gold-Harrell House at 304 Vance St. Lackie, Perry and Erno all appreciate the craftsmanship that went into building more than a century ago, and they are committed to doing the hard work needed to pay homage to that skill again.
“The Stantonsburg house is probably 80% done. We’re sanding the floor now, but everything is painted inside,” Perry said. “It was a lot of work from the day we walked in with no electricity, the roof caved in and raccoons or whatever living there. It was a beautiful, beautiful property though, and it has a great history as well.”
For the Gold House restoration, the men said they have a leg up because many of the original pieces such as molding and railings have been saved.
“We’re probably more than 10% done on Vance because we’ve stopped the house from leaking,” Perry said.
“Sometimes that first 10% of the work can go unnoticed by most people,” Erno said.
“But it is a big 10% because we’ve stabilized it, so we don’t have to worry about further damage on a rainy day or anything,” Perry concluded.
Both men said restoring the house will build upon the work done on other historic properties on Vance as well as investment happening nearby in downtown.
“We have had countless people stop by and thank us for investing in this beautiful home,” Perry said. “It is always nice to hear appreciation for doing something that can help change people’s perspective and contribute to changing the trajectory of the neighborhood.”