Carpentry Division Solves Problems With Ease, Skill

Carpentry Division Solves Problems With Ease, Skill

The word “carpentry” might not be in H.J. Holtz & Son’s company logo, but woodworking has become the fourth appendage in the body of services the company provides, alongside painting, wallpapering, and specialized finishes.

“People don’t know everything we can do,” says company president Rick Holtz, noting that carpentry work is often involved in projects that are originally seen as purely paint- or wallpaper-focused. “When we paint windows, doors, trim, moldings … all of those are wood. And when we prepare surfaces, we often find damage that needs to be repaired. We’re happy to be able to handle that for our clients.”

Woodworking was a love of Rick Holtz’s grandfather, company founder Herman J. Holtz, who opened his own woodworking business after he sold H.J. Holtz & Son to Rick Holtz’s father, Richard Holtz, Sr. The tradition of craftsmanship is evident in the work that the carpentry division is now creating, Rick Holtz says.

“Our team can replicate historic baseboards or moldings, fabricate decorative and functional wood elements, and rebuild damaged window sashes or pillars,” he says. “We’re never happy when we find problems that need fixing, but we’d rather deal with the problem up front than have it become an issue later.”

Recent projects from Holtz & Son carpenters have included fireplace mantels, built-in shelves and cabinets, radiator covers, and even coffered ceilings, which add architectural interest to an otherwise standard living or dining room. Carpenters have also fashioned new railings and support pillars damaged by years of wear and tear. That broad skill set is useful for clients.

“We’re not here to fully renovate anyone’s home, but we can handle every aspect of work that’s related to an aesthetic update or refresh,” Rick Holtz says. “We’re coordinating all those elements in-house, which means clients don’t have to find other vendors and worry about timing. Plus, we bring the same attention to detail with our carpentry services that we bring with our painting and wallpapering.”

The goal is simple: to deliver an excellent finished product that flows from a professional process.

“All our team members take pride in the work they do,” he adds. “We want every client to be able to look at their house or room and know that the work done there is of the best quality possible.”

Just think of the carpentry possibilities…..

  • Mantels
  • Radiator covers
  • Baseboards & door trim
  • Crown molding
  • Ceiling coffers
  • Window sash repair
  • Railings
  • Pantries
  • Built-in cabinets


Unexpected Joy in the Garage – New Cabinets

Unexpected Joy in the Garage – New Cabinets

Ann Green knows she likes order and function. When a pipe failed under her garage sink earlier this year, the ensuing flood damaged existing cabinets and boxes on the floor used for storing items that didn’t fit in the kitchen. Once the pipe problem was resolved, Green reached out to Jeff Nonnemacker, manager of H.J. Holtz & Son’s carpentry division, to help her think through her options.

“I told Jeff what my needs were, and he seemed to understand what I wanted,” she says. “He helped me come up with a design and a budget that I could convince myself was worth spending.”

Green’s initial thought was to have the Holtz Built team craft all-new custom cabinetry. But the cost of custom work was more than a garage seemed to deserve. Instead, Nonnemacker suggested high-quality prefabricated cabinets designed for outdoor use, which can withstand moisture and temperature fluctuations.

Holtz Built custom work was limited to a specialty corner cabinet, a cabinet base, and a garden workstation. Architectural touches are found in the frame surrounding a pegboard for tools and in crown molding atop the highest cabinets – not something you’d expect to find in a garage.

With deeper cabinets on the lower level, and more cabinets overall, Green has enclosed storage for extra serving pieces and other kitchenware. She also has cabinets for patio dishes, grilling tools, and cleaning supplies. And the designated garden workstation is even more than she hoped for.

“I asked for something on wheels that I could pull into the middle of the room – something separate from the cabinets,” she says. “[The Holtz team] built a cabinet, and underneath is the table. That doubles the work space. It’s really, really cool.”

Green had hired H.J. Holtz & Son to paint her home’s interior when she first moved in, so she was willing to trust the company with another project.

“I didn’t think I needed this many cabinets, but I’ve actually used all the space,” she says. “This isn’t something that people usually have in their garages. Maybe some people would think it’s peculiar to put kitchen cabinets in a garage, but this is a way for a space that can easily get cluttered and messy to be really useful and pleasant to be in. Here, everything has a place. It might seem excessive, but it’s so nice for me.”

Just what she wanted.


Custom Built Internet Bar Keeps Technology in its Place

Custom Built Internet Bar Keeps Technology in its Place

With five children ranging in age from 6 to 17, Ann Meade Trahan sees the importance of order in the home.

“The more structure and more routine you give your kids, the more comfortable they are,” she says.

That’s why Trahan asked H.J. Holtz & Son’s carpentry division to craft a desk that would accommodate her kids’ electronic devices, in a very public spot adjacent to the kitchen.

“As someone who was trained and worked as a therapist, I understand the effects of the internet and social media, and unfettered access of both on children,” Trahan says. “I didn’t want laptops in bedrooms, no hiding away to lose hours on YouTube.”

Trahan was familiar with the company because a Holtz team painted and hung wallpaper throughout the family’s Richmond home. For the new desk, Trahan worked with Holtz Built carpenter Josh Hastings to design a table to fit the location with the features she wanted.

The outcome is a maple desk, 40 inches high, 22 inches deep, and more than eight feet long. The height allows the “Internet bar” to serve double duty as a workstation while the children are seated or as a standing bar when the family hosts friends. Built-in electrical outlets and USB ports ensure cords are contained, and two drawers offer subtle storage. The desk is hung with French cleats, so it sits flush to the wall. Two front legs are tapered, and the drawers spring open when pushed. An inlay strip of brass adds to the elegance.

“Josh was able to really finesse those details,” Trahan says.

Hastings says he enjoyed working through the design with Trahan.

“She had a table she really liked that was black with brass trim accents,” Hastings says. “We talked about the [drawer] storage and decided to go with drawers that didn’t have any hardware to open. That gives a nice clean front. The brass inlay is under the surface lip all the way around; it’s also on the top edge of the drawers when they’re open.”

So far, the desk is doing what it was designed to do.

“I took out a huge armoire – almost a butler’s pantry – which was a loss in storage for me, but I wanted to have a zone and a place that is established for the children’s devices,” Trahan says. “It helps us negotiate the relationship with technology. And it can serve a variety of purposes; I can clear everything off and it becomes a casual place where people can hang out. Josh came and really got what I was talking about.”

Mission accomplished.




Visitors to Colonial Williamsburg expect to see history interpreters in period-appropriate attire, craftspeople demonstrating skills essential to the era, and residences that show how Colonial Americans lived. But on certain days this year, they can also see how nationally known designer Heather Chadduck Hillegas brought Williamsburg’s oldest house – the Nelson-Galt House – into the twenty-first century as a showhouse and her home away from home.

And H.J. Holtz & Son was a partner and sponsor of the project.

Colonial Williamsburg’s Designer in Residence program is a collaborative initiative established by WILLIAMSBURG, the licensing brand of Colonial Williamsburg. The effort launched in 2019, when the first Designer in Residence, Anthony Baratta, redecorated the eighteenth-century Palmer House. As the second Designer in Residence home, the Nelson-Galt House, parts of which date to 1695, opened its doors for tours in December 2022.

The Designer in Residence program was conceived with twin goals: to show visitors how an older home’s history can coexist with modern-day style, and to showcase the traditionally inspired decor – furniture, paint, and wallpaper – that the WILLIAMSBURG brand has created with business partners.

“How do you make tradition and today work together?” posits Liza Gusler, associate director for WILLIAMSBURG Licensing. “One of our challenges now is to show people that eighteenth-century design is still relevant; it can be inviting and comfortable for a family to live in today.”

Using its extensive archives, WILLIAMSBURG has partnered with Benjamin Moore, Schumacher, Paul Montgomery, and Adelphi Paper Hangings on proprietary paint colors, fabrics, and wallpaper. Inspiration comes from archaeological finds, rare books and prints depicting scenes of the time period, and historic buildings. A 1750s silk gown worn by Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, who married George Washington in 1759, inspired the new Dandridge Damask by Schumacher.

While much of the work on the interior of the Nelson-Galt house was handled by Colonial Williamsburg’s staff – “We have to follow stringent strictures with our preservation team about what we can do and what we can’t do,” Gusler says – H.J. Holtz & Son wallpaper craftspeople were hired to install all the wallpaper selected by Hillegas.

“It’s a compliment to Holtz’s reputation when I share that it was sort of a command from our facilities and maintenance vice president [that we hire Holtz],” Gusler says. “The team could not have been nicer; they were very professional.”

The team’s job wasn’t small.

In the living room, the team hung a WILLIAMSBURG Kensington Whitework mural by Paul Montgomery, which was inspired by a pair of late seventeenth-century embroidered curtains in Colonial Williamsburg’s collection. In the dining room, the team installed a panoramic Paul Montgomery mural, Regency Views, wrapping it around three walls with multiple interruptions caused by entryways and windows. A first-floor hallway and adjacent powder room feature a custom iteration of WILLIAMSBURG Jefferson Trellis by Adelphi Paper Hangings. Adelphi crafts papers in the eighteenth-century manner, using a separate block to print each color.

On the second floor of the house’s annex, the hallway and a bathroom sport a modern Kumano Jute covering in Putty from Schumacher. Upstairs in the original house, the blue-and-white twin bedroom showcases Lafayette Botanical, a new WILLIAMSBURG Shumacher chintz pattern, which covers the walls as well as headboards and bed frames. A nearby second-floor bathroom is papered in Front Waltz in Sage by Schumacher.

As the largest living history museum in the country, Colonial Williamsburg takes its mission of bringing history to life, Gusler says.

“We think the Nelson-Galt House is a good opportunity to showcase the WILLIAMSBURG brand and help people understand we are still relevant today,” Gusler says. “We are so thankful for our partners and sponsors, including H.J. Holtz & Son.”

To purchase tickets for upcoming tour dates in the Nelson-Galt House, visit The sale of WILLIAMSBURG products supports Colonial Williamsburg’s educational and preservation mission.






Photo courtesy of Todd Wright

The homes presented in the Garden Club of Virginia’s 2023 Historic Garden Week share many characteristics: they have elegant spaces, they have carefully designed plantings, and they are impeccably maintained, inside and out.

H.J. Holtz & Son is proud to have helped numerous homeowners through the years – including two on this year’s tour – prepare their homes for the hundreds of HGW ticket-holders who come every spring to see not only their gardens, but also their homes. Holtz craftsmanship will also be on display this year in Charlottesville at Carr’s Hill, the residence of the president of the University of Virginia.

“We know our clients want to show their homes at their best every day,” says company president Rick Holtz. “Garden Week takes that up a notch, because these are public tours.”

The origins of Historic Garden Week date to 1927, when the Garden Club of Virginia hosted a flower show to raise money to save trees planted by Thomas Jefferson at his mountaintop home of Monticello. That first effort netted $7,000 – the equivalent to roughly $117,000 today. In 1928, the club raised money to help save Kenmore, the Fredericksburg-area home of Betty Washington Lewis, George Washington’s sister. In 1929, multiple houses and gardens were opened for a “pilgrimage,” with ticket prices going to fund restorations of historic properties and gardens throughout the state. This year’s Garden Week comprises 29 tours organized and hosted by members of clubs from Virginia Beach to Roanoke, from Martinsville to Middleburg.

Richmond, as in years past, has three tour days: April 18, 19, and 20. Tuesday’s tour, in the Westhampton neighborhood, includes 6407 Roselawn, where the Holtz team has assisted with painting and carpentry work. Thursday’s tour, along Three Chopt Road, includes 6207 Three Chopt, another property where Holtz craftspeople have completed projects.

Company president Holtz says he’s always pleased when a client reaches out for assistance prior to Garden Week. “It’s usually someone we’ve worked with in the past, who knows we can come in for touch-ups,” he says. “Sometimes, people will use the fact that their home is going to be on tour as a reason to do a project they’ve been putting off, like painting exterior trim or shutters, or the front door. Everyone wants their home to look good as people are walking up to the entrance.”

It’s common for homeowners to think about improvements prior to big life events, such as a wedding, graduation, retirement party, or the birth of a child. Rick Holtz advises those considering fresh painting or wall coverings as well as carpentry repair – which is managed by the in-house Holtz carpenters – to reach out well in advance of the special occasion, so there’s ample time to complete the project.

“You don’t want to rush into making decisions about color or décor,” he notes. “From our years in business, we know that a selected paint color, once it’s on the wall, may appear to be a different hue, based on the way the light is hitting it. We all want time to make sure that the final project is done to everyone’s satisfaction.”

For more information about the 2023 Historic Garden Week, visit Tickets are $50 per day if purchased in advance; $60 per day at the tour headquarters.  



Lizzie Cox’s clients knew they wanted to revitalize their comfortable river place … but not too much.

“The key theme throughout was to maintain the integrity of the old charm of the cottage,” says Cox, principal of Lizzie Cox Interiors in Richmond. “We wanted to update and refresh it without losing character.”

Cox recommended H.J. Holtz & Son to the client after having worked with Holtz on prior projects. She knew the team could handle the many tasks involved – and with the right touch.

“Because our goal was to make the house feel like it had not been updated, we did not want people to notice any major changes,” she says. “Holtz was definitely the right team for the job because they always listen to what the clients want.”

The interior project included painting the first floor’s walls, as well as redoing the floors both on the main level and upstairs. The original heart pine floors were refinished before they were painted, but were finished gently, both with stain and paint, to allow their history to show.

In addition to the painting, Holtz carpentry craftspeople patched stair boards, and even designed and fabricated a new stair banister. “We worked together to come up with a charming design, and they executed it perfectly,” Cox says. “It feels like it’s been there forever.”

The cottage was painted with Benjamin Moore Simply White, Cox says, because it has no undertone and looks good in all types of light exposures.

“It was really important that the painting not be so perfect,” she says, explaining that the homeowners really wanted to maintain the cozy, comfortable feel of a house that had been in their family for some time. “Because of [Holtz’s] experience with faux finishes and because they are such professional painters, they were able to get it just right.”

Despite the “normal” hiccups that come with any renovation project, Cox says, the update went very well. And working with the Holtz team makes her job easier, too.

“I know they’re going to get the job done from start to finish, and I don’t have to check in with them all the time,” she says. “They own their projects and put their heart into it and get it done. Essentially, they’re like the contractor for me – they coordinated it all.

“At the end, it turned out better than anticipated, which was really fun,” she adds. “It feels like an old river cottage that’s been there forever.”

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