A House Restored: The Tragedies and Triumphs of Saving a New England Colonial (Hardcover)

A House Restored: The Tragedies and Triumphs of Saving a New England Colonial By Lee McColgan, Roy Underhill (Foreword by) Cover Image

A House Restored: The Tragedies and Triumphs of Saving a New England Colonial (Hardcover)

By Lee McColgan, Roy Underhill (Foreword by)


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Shop Class as Soulcraft meets A Place of My Own in this lyrical meditation of a woodworker steadfastly repairing a historic home.

Old houses share their secrets only if they survive. Trading the corporate ladder for a stepladder, Lee McColgan commits to preserving the ramshackle Loring House, built in 1702, using period materials and methods and on a holiday deadline. But his enchantment withers as he discovers the massive repairs it needs. A small kitchen fix reveals that the structure’s rotten frame could collapse at any moment. In a bathroom, mold appears and spreads. He fights deteriorating bricks, frozen pipes, shattered windows, a punctured foundation, and even an airborne chimney cap while learning from a diverse cast of preservationists, including a master mason named Irons, a stone whisperer, and the Window Witch. But can he meet his deadline before family and friends arrive, or will it all come crashing down? McColgan’s journey expertly examines our relationship to history through the homes we inhabit, beautifully articulating the philosophy of preserving the past to find purpose for the future.

Lee McColgan has worked on Boston’s Old North Church, Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, and other buildings. His work has appeared in Architectural Digest, Boston Globe, and Wall Street Journal. He lives with his wife in the Loring House in Pembroke, Massachusetts.
Product Details ISBN: 9781682688366
ISBN-10: 1682688364
Publisher: Countryman Press
Publication Date: April 9th, 2024
Pages: 224
Language: English
Lee McColgan is a gifted storyteller whose tale of restoring his 300-plus-year-old Massachusetts house is not only fascinating but also heartwarming. Following him and a quirky yet endearing cast of characters as he transforms a dilapidated Colonial into a welcoming home is a journey well worth taking. They deserve our gratitude for keeping our collective history alive and vibrant.
— ERIC JAY DOLIN, award-winning and best-selling author of Rebels at Sea and A Furious Sky

Full of warmth, charm, and beauty, this book invites you in and makes you glad you came. In his tale of arestoration project, Lee McColgan restores our sense of what makes a house a home. Really terrific, very nicely written.
— JONATHAN EIG, New York Times best-selling author of King: A Life and Ali: A Life

This meticulous chronicle describes a series of discoveries: of materials, techniques, and principles common in the time of the Salem Witch Trials but now confined largely to the hands of specialists. It’s also a story of innocence lost. As he confronts the cracks, rot, dissolutions, and disconnections of a very old building, McColgan comes to question his motivation. ‘Why restore anything?’ he eventually asks. Still, with admirable persistence, he gets his happy ending, and we get an intense primer in the joys and horrors of historic restoration.
— KEVIN GARDNER, award-winning author of The Granite Kiss and Stone Building

To many, preserving the past seems like a tragic endeavor, but to Lee McColgan, it’s anything but. The journey of his old house is a joyous trip well told with warmth, reverence, and curiosity that will delight. He tells its story with the same craft and care that he uses to form his plaster and hew his timber. His prose is as sharp as his steel. Any lover of old homes and craftsmanship will thoroughly enjoy this tale.
— KEVIN O’CONNOR, Emmy Award–winning host of This Old House