The Paul Laurence Dunbar House

Architect: Amy Kaspar
Dayt on, Ohio

Pantry Renovation

In 2011 and 2012, we reconstructed Matilda Dunbar’s pantry, which had been removed years ago to make way for a basement stair. In this restoration, the stairs were removed and a trap door and ladder reinstalled for access to the basement. The door to the pantry was custom built to match the adjacent doors and the pantry was then rebuilt, based on historical record and evidence found on the walls indicating where the shelves had been. The style of the cabinet was copied from other details in the house. Care was taken to finish the wood with shellac to match the original adjacent finishes in both color and sheen.

Library Restoration

The Mundy Library is part of the Paul Laurence Dunbar State Memorial complex. The project here was to add library shelving on both sides of the original fireplace to match the original woodwork of the fireplace. Using new quarter sawn white oak, we carefully matched the profiles of the fireplace moldings, hand carving the large curved molding at the top. Once the cabinetry was made, we were challenged by the task of matching the depth of the original 100-year-old finish color. The final match was achieved by a combination of chemically aging the wood with potassium dichromate, a sealer coat of shellac, two coats of filler, and then several coats of a mixture of three natural colors of shellac, which we mixed up from flakes or buttons, as would have been done when the building was new.

Matilda's pantry viewed from the dining room

Waynesville Lock-up

Owner: Village of Waynesville
Jeff Wray, AIA, Jeff Wray Architects, Inc.

Waynesville, OH

This historic fire station and jail were renovated as part of the Ohio Scenic Byways program. The work included replicating the original belfry, extensive excavation and drainage work, masonry restoration, interior woodwork, plaster repairs, window and door restoration, HVAC, electrical and lighting, a steel walkway, replacement of bars on windows to the cells (now accessible restrooms), installation of conference facilities (including a serving kitchen and retractable projection screen), and a custom-made plate glass sub-entry creating an energy efficient pedestrian entrance, while retaining the original fire engine sized door.

Wright Cycle Co.


The Beehive Oven at Carillon Park

Dayton, Ohio

A small summer kitchen was moved to Carillon Historical Park to be used in living history demonstrations. The large fireplace was not movable. Architectural Reclamation was hired to build a new fireplace with a working woodfired bake oven. Andy Stewart took up the challenge to design an oven for the museum, which would work and look like a piece of history but also have a few key modern improvements.  This design will help the masonry survive repeated heating and cooling without deterioration and prevent the need for extensive ongoing maintenance.

Archive of Projects in Partnership with Museums

Hawthorn Hill

Owner: Dayton History Dayton Aviation National Historical Park

Dayton, Ohio

We have had the honor, over the past couple of years, of helping Dayton History to maintain the Wright Brothers’ historic mansion, Hawthorn Hill.

In the first phase, we repaired some damage on the cornice from a leaky gutter and some bird damage. In the second, more involved phase, we completely rebuilt the balustrade above both of the house's grand side porches. Lastly, we restored several windows by scraping, glazing, and painting.

Although the railings had been rebuilt within the last 20 years, the materials and construction did not hold up well to the weather. Our replacement design included rot-resistant components like durable cypress wood, pressure-treated plywood, and galvanized steel, but the overall appearance of the balustrade remained faithful to the original. The railings and posts were fabricated in our Franklin workshops and later hauled to Oakwood to be installed on-site. Special care was taken to ensure that the balustrade could be completely disassembled and reassembled in the near future, as the underlying roof will need to be replaced in coming years.

Following our restoration of the second story balustrades in 2013, we were called upon to refurbish the balustrades on the ground level in 2014. We also made cosmetic repairs to the second story windows and the garage, and we repaired the south cornice molding where carpenter bees continue to cause damage to the historic woodwork.

Ken and Rob assemble a section of railing

Tod fixes damage from bees and retouches the paint

Our work on the cover of Heritage Magazine


Owner: Dayton Aviation Trail, Inc. / Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park
Architect: Gaede Serne Zofcin Architects, Inc.

Dayton, OH

Restoration and Fabric Stabilization of Wright Cycle

The initial phases of the restoration of the only remaining original Wright Brothers’ Cycle Shop included storefront reconstruction, custom-made doors, windows, and trim, repair and re-glazing of original windows, removal of paint from bricks, brick replacement and repointing, complete reconstruction of an early addition, removal of original flooring, strengthening of the joist system and relaying of the original floor, carpentry, plastering, drywall, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, wood shingle roof, soffit repairs, gutters, and downspouts. This structure is now part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, Dayton, OH.

Andy with his parents, Leatha and Jim who were instrumental is starting the company

Wilber's Room before and after

In the spring of 2016 we had the opportunity to restore the finish on the seccond floor of Hawthorn Hill. 

After Orville Wright's death in 1948, Hawthorn Hill was operated as a guest house for NCR for many years.  During this time the building was remodeled to suit its new purpose.  Carpet was installed and the origional oak floor was extensively damaged.  We were asked to restore the floor after the carpet was removed. 

We hand scraped the paint off the floor and used Andy's special wood restoration solution to clean the floors and blend the existing finish with areas where the finish was damaged. We then applied a wax finish. In the photos to the left, you can see patches where the floor was taken up to add plumbing for additional restrooms. We matched the floor color with a stain to blend with the original floor color. 

As always, we enjoyed the opportunity to play a part in the unique history of this building.