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Renovated city property is made to order for office space page 2
Restoration of building that partially burned in early 2012 is nearly complete.

 A new metal shingle roof and clerestory-type attic windows add to the curb appeal.
ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 1/18/2013

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The Valentinos called on Abby, and an effort was made to tarp the damaged roof. Once the antiques were out, the overall damage was easier to assess. Chris Huie, who is heading up the project for Abby and is the son of company owner Mike Huie, said the interior was spray painted with Kilz, a primer that helps seal in the smoky smell.

"The whole place was this ghostly white," Huie said. "But it did what we wanted it to do."

The actual renovation and recovery project was delayed for about six months as insurance issues were worked out.

Huie said a significant amount of framing at the rear of the structure had to be replaced. To everyone's surprise, the floors were almost entirely salvageable, except in the immediate area of the fire near the back door.

"After more than 1oo years that heart pine is like petrified," said Huie.

Not only will the pine be lightly sanded and refinished, the classic original hardwood parquet in the foyer also will be renewed. The intricate parquet was labor-intensive work for a turn-of-the-century carpenter, with each small plank of oak laid and nailed individually. The foyer floor was then bordered with inlaid bands of two different shades of wood, perhaps cherry and/or walnut.

The main level has three rooms for offices, the original living room or parlor, the dining room behind it, and a room that was probably once a kitchen behind that. A new full bathroom is being added nearby.

The living and dining rooms have their original, coal-burning corner fireplaces that feed a single flue. They are more or less ornamental at this point.

The second floor has a similar layout to the first, with an extra room above the foyer. Sally Valentino said a wall that separated two of the original bedrooms had been removed at some point and was rebuilt by Abby to provide two separate offices.

The third, half-story is being renovated as well, but the space will be limited to storage use. Until the courthouse is completed, a clerestory-type window provides a bird's-eye view of Fredericksburg beyond Princess Anne Street toward the Rappahannock.

The basement has a concrete floor and areas of it could be used for storage, though it does get some moisture seepage after heavy rain.

Huie said the crew turned up lots of 1930s newspapers that were used for insulation in walls and round pipes.

The building has gotten completely new plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems. The monstrous old oil furnace and boiler had to be removed from the basement piece-by-piece.

Valentino touts the ideal location of the building, close to post office, government offices, restaurants and all the rest downtown has to offer.

Richard Amrhine: 540/374-5406
Email: ramrhine@freelancestar.com


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WHAT: Open house at newly listed office property.

WHERE: 702 Princess Anne St., Fredericksburg, opposite the new courthouse. WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 2, 1 p.m.-3 p.m.

If a building could be a jack-of-all-trades, 702 Princess Anne St. would be it.

Since its construction in around 1889, it has housed an accountant's office, a dentist, a uniform shop, a wedding dress shop, an antiques dealer and a craft store.

Given its location directly across from the new Fredericksburg courthouse, owner Sally Valentino and agent Betty Westerlund are both thinking: law offices.

That's also the role long served by neighboring 700 Princess Anne, at the corner of Charlotte Street.

--Richard Amrhine