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Wednesday
Dec022009

Nimmo House

The James D. Nimmo House, 208 Hartman’s Mill Road, Charlottesville 

Winner of the APVA’s Outstanding Domestic Project Award for 2007

In the summer of 2005, Howard and Linda Carey found themselves in a difficult predicament.  Eleven years earlier, they had bought the house next door. Vacant since the early 1990s, it was in rough shape and had continued to decay rapidly. A string of contractors had declared the structure too far gone to save.  The Careys wanted a decent, nearby house for their daughter.  Starting from scratch seemed like the only way to make that plan come true.  But, when the Careys applied for a demolition permit, they learned that 208 Hartman’s Mill Road is one of Charlottesville’s Individually Protected Properties, and that the City’s Board of Architectural Review (BAR) would need to approve the demolition. The BAR did not approve the demolition, and an appeal to City Council was also turned down.

Several members of Preservation Piedmont contacted the Careys and learned that a usable house, not demolition, was their principal goal.  Preservation Piedmont pointed the couple toward Lithic Construction, a local contractor familiar with (and undaunted by) old buildings.  Lithic furnished the Careys with an estimate.  Although the figure was higher than they Careys hoped, Lithic explained that it would cost approximately twice as much to build a new house of comparable quality.  Preservation Piedmont board members contributed further by helping to apply for state rehabilitation tax credits on the Careys’ behalf, by measuring the building, and by coordinating the production of measured drawings by locally based Arcadia Preservation. Thanks to the Greenwalt Charitable Trust, even the state’s preliminary fee for processing the tax-credit paperwork was covered.

Slowly but surely, the James D. Nimmo house came back into glorious repair.  Lithic Construction worked tirelessly on the project, as did members of Preservation Piedmont.  To the Careys’ surprise and delight, their house has turned out to be a gem.  As of December, 2007, they moved in and their “old” house, a 1960s ranch, turned out to suit their daughter just fine…

(For more information on the Nimmo House, see the Spring 2006 and Spring 2007 Preservation Piedmont newsletters.)