“Her whole childhood revolved around the house and friends and family, congregating and sharing memories,” said Adam.
Jessica Miller's old childhood house, tucked on Union Street in the center of downtown Concord, North Carolina, is brimming with history and melancholy musings. She and her family moved there around the late 1980s, although its once-glorious Edwardian architecture—complete with a stately columned exterior—was built by the Archibalds in 1906, according to the current owner. A succession of historic residents then followed. The mansion deteriorated significantly over time. Jessica had no idea that she would return to that magnificent mansion on that historic street with her husband, Adam Miller, to totally preserve and restore it to its former glory—and then some. Adam, 38, restores old properties for a livelihood and records his initiatives on social media. Jessica, 35, is in charge of the interior design. “Her whole childhood revolved around the house and friends and family, congregating and sharing memories,” Adam told The Epoch Times. “Our house was definitely the epicenter for a big, giant family.”
The Millers had previously worked on other historic properties (they flip homes for a living), but this would be their first home.“We didn’t anticipate it being Jessica’s childhood home,” he said. When they took control in November 2020, they understood right away that they needed to address the roof and foundation, which were the source of the majority of the problems. “We’d made offers on other houses on the street, it was just right time, right place sort of scenario.” Because the columns' bases were decaying, the spectacular columned façade, which provides for a really dramatic entry, required handcrafted repairs from a craftsman.
To be completed, the columns had to be raised into the air—quite a specialized task! Repairs were also required for the porch, roof, and gutter system. According to Adam, the exterior alone costs well over $100,000. After finishing it in the first year, they turned their attention to the inside. They replaced the tile floor in the living room and kitchen with a chevron design that needed ten times the amount of cuts as standard wood flooring. They painted the salvageable cabinets in the kitchen, but Adam created a whole new island. They replaced much of the lighting with more period-appropriate fixtures. “She designed the kitchens and bathrooms and I do the actual work and labor,” said Adam. “For the most part, she’s the brains and I’m the muscle.”
Part of the challenge of working on historic homes is salvaging as much heritage as possible. Besides the handmade columns, they had to replicate molding and repair plaster. “We’re actually putting our home on tour for our local historic preservation,” he said. “It’s the Residents of Historic Concord.” And now is the right season for viewing. All told, the restoration cost the couple between $180,000-$200,000. “My personal property [cost] is a little bit fuzzier than on my professional flips,” Adam said. Jessica sees a chance to create new traditions in a familiar setting, making "new memories" in her old childhood house, in addition to historic significance. “It’s amazing. It’s a safe feeling,” she said. “It’s very interesting to put my own spin on it and make it our own.”
With its gleaming white exterior—classical columns, elegant balcony, and façade—the house is a sight to behold for tourists, a true piece of Americana that also serves as a nice, large home for a family. “The kids love it,” Adam said. “They’re like tornadoes. It’s such a large home, I won’t go in a room for a little while and then I’ll come back and it’s just torn apart by little fingers." He added, “I love this house. I don’t think I’d sell this house unless one of my kids or someone in my family wanted to buy it from me."