Magnolia Grange – DBA


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Historic Restoration of Plantation House
Chesterfield, VA

Historic Preservation, Data Collection, Feasibility Studies, Surveying Existing Conditions, Budgeting

Magnolia Grange, a substantial masonry house built in 1822, currently operates as historic site for the Chesterfield County Historical Society of Virginia. As the preservation architect for Chesterfield County, Davis Buckley Architects and Planners performed an initial evaluation of the structure in 2008. Four years later, the County asked DBA to address repairs to the building’s original single-hung windows. Rather than a traditional architectural project, however, Chesterfield County asked DBA to prepare construction documents to direct county workers, with carpentry skills but without preservation expertise, to restore the sash. Recent organizational changes and limited funding encouraged the client to develop this approach, and DBA was eager to find ways to meet their client’s needs, and to develop cost-effective, resource-efficient approaches to preservation work, ensuring the long-term stability of important historic structures.

A careful survey of the windows allowed DBA to prioritize which windows required most immediate attention. When detailing the openings, DBA also discovered the triple-wythe exterior walls were only a single wythe thick at the spandrels, impacting the approach to sash removal and frame repair. An examination of the distinctive interior window trim suggested Magnolia Grange and nearby Castlewood shared a craftsman, illustrating the historic connections of the community and inspiring a wider search for other work by the innovative mid-19th century finish carpenter. Specifications incorporated the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards as well as the National Park Service’s Preservation Brief 9: The Repair of Historic Wooden Windows. DBA’s work at Magnolia Grange illustrates the necessity and value of careful survey and observation, and exemplifies our desire to work with a client to assure the best possible outcome for their historic resources.





  • Davis Buckley Architects and Planners
    1612 K Street, NW, Suite 900
    Washington, DC 20006
    T: 202-223-1234
    F: 202-223-1212

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