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At Moss Neck, it's 1856 again page 2
Moss Neck was returned to its original splendor in a renovation that took less than a year; today it's for sale for $4.9 million

 Moss Neck Manor in Caroline County was built in 1856 for the Corbin family. It was recently restored and is for sale.
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Date published: 5/21/2004

By RICHARD AMRHINE

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But he did share in the travails of the owners, the Corbin family, who suffered the loss of three children during that harsh winter.

Gloriously restored

The Corbins had patterned the house after their mansion in King and Queen County, known as Laneville. Moss Neck is described as a five-part Palladian design, with a two-story center portion flanked by symmetrical "hyphens" leading to terminal wings on each end.

The brickwork is done in Flemish bond, with noticeably narrow mortar joints between the bricks. The porches, front and rear, are original to the house and are floored with black and white checkerboard marble tiles.

Moss Neck was in serious need of rehabilitation when current owner Howard H. Stahl bought it in 1998.

His goal was to put it back as close as possible to its original condition--a challenge given the changes and remodeling that had taken place inside and out over the years.

Stahl brought in Tom Miller, a contractor who is well known for his work on historic restoration projects. The restoration of Belle Grove in King George County was another of Miller's projects.

"Howard told me he wanted to be able to take a black-and-white picture [of Moss Neck] and not be able to tell what time period it was," said Miller.

Over the years, Miller has assembled a platoon of contractor/artisans experienced in historic restoration work, from repairing ornate plasterwork to installing complex climate-control systems without disturbing a building's original integrity.

To accomplish that at Moss Neck, indoor pipes, for example, were routed along channels cut in interior brick walls. It's an expensive and time-consuming process but avoids any reconfiguration of the rooms.

Miller said Stahl had a clear idea of what he wanted to do. There was no architect.

Miller said the interior demolition work was already completed by the time he arrived at the site, so he had a clean slate to work with. That allowed his part of the job to move extremely quickly, from start to finish in seven months. The whole project took less than a year to complete.

"There's a saying in construction that the last 10 percent takes half the time," said Miller, "and I remember working seven days a week at the end of that one."


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