Putting Your House’s Best Face Forward

Putting Your House’s Best Face Forward

Every year, the Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week in Virginia demonstrates the power of “curb appeal” – the term often used to refer to the aesthetics of a property’s exterior. H.J. Holtz & Son understands the importance of that initial impression.

“There’s so much to think about outside,” says company President Rick Holtz. “Shutters, windows, trim, and doors – these are all obvious. But you also have fences, railings, porches, benches, even outbuildings. Sometimes, homeowners don’t consider those elements, because they’re so focused on the inside, but that’s what people see first.”

For 2024’s tour, Holz & Son worked at 4601 Lilac Lane, where on April 23 ticket-holders will be able to tour nearly four acres of garden and farm, tucked inside Richmond’s city limits. The homeowners, longtime Holtz clients, had the company repaint shutters and doors as well as paint the entire pool house. Tour participants on April 25 will be able to see 109 Nottingham Road, which has a fresh, Holtz-painted front door covered in a Fine Paints of Europe coating.

Not everyone has a house that will someday be featured on a Historic Garden Week tour, but an exterior assessment to take stock of what might need a refresh is recommended at least once a year. Outdoor surfaces are subjected to greater wear and tear than indoor spaces, thanks to the effects of sun, wind, precipitation, and even bugs and wildlife. With an in-house carpentry division, Holtz & Son is often able to repair or replace damaged wood, so a separate contractor isn’t necessary. 

“In the past, we’ve rebuilt an entire gazebo, and we regularly fix railing posts and fences,” Holtz says. “Our carpentry team works both on-site and in our new expanded shop, which allows them to manage multiple jobs at a time with greater efficiency.”

To schedule an evaluation of your home’s exterior, call H.J. Holtz & Son, 804-358-4109.

Sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia, Historic Garden Week dates to 1929, when it began as a way to raise money for historic Kenmore, the Fredericksburg home of Betty Washington Lewis, George Washington’s sister. Funds raised support the ongoing restoration and preservation of Virginia’s historic public gardens and landscapes across the state as well as a research fellowship program in landscape architecture. 

For more information about Historic Garden Week or to purchase tickets, visit https://www.vagardenweek.org/.

Holtz Expands Window Restoration Services

Holtz Expands Window Restoration Services

Only one thing can detract from a beautifully painted home exterior: shabby windows. That’s why H.J. Holtz & Son has extended its services to include full window restoration.

“We see this as a need for our customers,” says company President Rick Holtz. “We have the expertise when it comes to painting and carpentry; all we needed to do was apply those skills to windows.”

The Holtz carpentry division has added staff in recent years, enabling the company to increase its wood restoration and repair capabilities. The ability to offer those services has proved especially useful for older homes, which most often need carpentry repair throughout the structure. Because windows involve the joining of glass to wood, they are especially vulnerable to temperature swings, weather ranging from severe summer storms to freezing winter precipitation, and even blunt force (think tree limbs or hurled balls). Without careful monitoring, windows will, quite literally, fall apart. 

Before beginning any exterior painting job, a Holtz project manager completes a thorough inspection, looking for any areas showing damage that can include wood rot, mold or organic growth, or any other harm that should be repaired before painting can begin. That inspection includes the windows, when the need for window restoration might be identified. 

“We don’t want to overlook any issue,” Holtz says. 

Sometimes, only one window needs attention, but if your house has original wood windows that are more than 30 years old, it’s likely they all need work. The glazing – the putty that holds the glass in the sash – breaks down over time. Without a solid seal, moisture and even bugs can make inroads, leading to the need for larger repairs or replacement.  

With an expanded work space in the company’s new location in Chesterfield, the Holtz carpentry team is able to efficiently manage even large jobs. The first step in window restoration is to bring the windows to the shop, where they are disassembled. The sashes are stripped of paint and any necessary repairs are made. Then the window is reassembled, primed, and painted. The team then replaces or reinstalls the glass, reglazing with fresh putty for a thorough seal. Special care is taken during the priming stage to prevent mold growth, as the primer used provides a line of defense against encroaching moisture. The team can also improve the window’s pulley system by replacing original rope with a metal chain, making it easier to open and close the window. 

The team is currently working with a general contractor who is restoring a home nearing its centennial. The owner wanted to keep the original windows for historical accuracy, so Holtz carpenters are fixing and repainting all 50+ windows. 

“It’s a privilege for us to help return this house to pristine condition,” Rick Holtz says. “We are so happy to have the in-house expertise that’s needed to maintain the authenticity of these windows while ensuring they remain fully functional for years to come.”


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Holtz Built Custom Cabinet Adds Elegance and Function to Basement

Holtz Built Custom Cabinet Adds Elegance and Function to Basement

Anne Pulliam, principal of Anne Pulliam Interiors in Richmond, knows she can turn to H.J. Holtz & Son when she wants something done right.

“I’ve been burned before, so it’s worth waiting for Holtz,” she says.

Last year, while visiting the company’s offices for a project, Pulliam happened upon the carpentry shop. Noticing work in progress, she realized the Holtz team could fashion a custom cabinet for her parents’ home.

Pulliam’s parents last renovated their house 25 years ago. With the passage of time and changes in how they use the space, they needed a refresh and asked their daughter to help. The lower level was a particular challenge because there were differences in opinion over how the space could be best used.

“The basement was cheap and cheerful, with wall-to-wall carpet from when we were little,” Pulliam laughs. “It was functional but not aesthetically pleasing; it had served its purpose. [In the recent renovation], Mom wanted it to become a welcoming space where the grandkids could play and keep their toys. Dad wanted it to be clean and masculine, where he could play pool or watch football games with friends.”

Pulliam’s solution was to fill a full wall – nearly 25 feet long – with Holtz Built cabinetry designed to accommodate the twin goals of being both attractive and functional. The base cabinets were built in sections, so they could be easily moved into the room. The top, face frames, and waterfall side are oak. The doors are solid poplar with a V groove cut to match the tongue-and-groove wall paneling throughout the room. The upper towers are plywood and poplar.

Pulliam says her parents weren’t sure the basement warranted the effort.

“They wanted something nice, but wondered if they really wanted to do something this unexpected,” Pulliam says. “I assured them that to get the look they wanted – for the space to not look and feel like a basement – that a little visual interest and a little more character can go a long way.”

The details are essential, she adds, pointing to the toe-kick front base, the “waterfall” oak end, and how the oak was stained to match the vinyl flooring that has the look of hardwood. “This feels like a furniture piece, not just a box that sits on the floor,” Pulliam notes.

Now, her parents are enthusiastic about the custom cabinet unit, which offers both storage and display space for college yearbooks, memorabilia, and toys, and provides an appealing surround for a wall-mounted television.

“Initially, I didn’t know who to turn to for the cabinet construction,” Pulliam says. “But the Holtz team said they could do it, and they solved a lot of problems I didn’t anticipate. All of the craftsmanship really makes a difference.”

Custom Cabinetry Helps Homeowner Make the Best Use of Space

Custom Cabinetry Helps Homeowner Make the Best Use of Space

As a designer, Emily Wood knows the value of built-in custom cabinetry. “It makes rooms more usable, it adds interest,” she says. “And if you want built-ins, don’t sacrifice on quality.”

So when a client asked Wood to help her make the most of her new home, Wood knew who to call for a variety of cabinetry needs: H.J. Holtz & Son. 

“They are the best,” Wood says. “The Holtz team built everything to our specifications. Josh Hastings was amazing and made our requests a reality.”

The client, a single woman in her 20s, had just purchased a ranch home that had been gutted and updated. “As a first-time homeowner able to make all the decisions herself, she was really ready to explore all her options,” says Wood, principal of Wallace Wood Interiors. “She wanted the spaces to be welcoming and lasting, able to roll with life changes.”

Together, Wood and the client talked about practical uses for all the rooms, and eventually called in the Holtz team to create built-ins for three rooms: the sitting room, the laundry room, and a room that is both office and guest bedroom. 

“We’re both very big on multi-use spaces,” Wood laughs. “We kept going back and forth between the use for that room. We ended up with a happy medium. 

In that bedroom, open shelving hangs above the desk and wraps around a corner to another wall. A shelf was added next to the bed, to eliminate the need for more furniture. In the sitting room, the Holtz team built a banquette with drawers underneath that hugs one wall. “Wall space was at a premium in that room, with two wide door openings, plus windows,” Wood says. “The client isn’t a formal entertainer, so she didn’t want the typical loveseat and two armchairs configuration. This banquette balances the sofa on the opposite wall and provides functionality to an otherwise dead corner.”

Another creative approach is evident in the laundry room, where a waterfall countertop was built to create work space above the washer and dryer then drops to become a bench that can hold a laundry basket and hide a litter box below. Two additional cabinets on the wall complete the look. “There’s nothing better than having good storage in your laundry room,” Wood notes. 

The process of working with the Holtz team was excellent, Wood says, noting that Hastings also worked with an electrician to install custom sconces in the bedroom, adjacent to the new shelves. “The communication was clear and efficient,” Wood says. “It makes for a seamless process from start to finish.”

Both Wood and the client are thrilled with the outcome. “I make the cost clear to clients up front, and she didn’t flinch,” Wood says. “Especially after everything was installed, it was very obvious it was worth the cost.”

Mission accomplished.

A Fresh Face for the Historic Bolling Haxall House

A Fresh Face for the Historic Bolling Haxall House

Five years ago, H.J. Holtz & Son team members updated the first-floor interior of the historic Bolling Haxall House, an 1858 Italianate Mansion at the corner of East Franklin and North Third Streets, with fresh wallpaper and paint. Last summer, Holtz & Son was on site again.

This time, the project was bigger – and far more visible.

Following a thorough exterior cleaning from local partner Envirowash, Holtz painters and carpenters repainted the entire stucco exterior, replaced rotted wood, rebuilt balconies, and refurbished windows in the rooftop belvedere, the square cupola at the top of the house.

“So many people drive down East Franklin Street and see this house,” says Leighann Scott Boland, executive director of The Woman’s Club, which calls the Bolling Haxall House home. “For a while now, we’ve been reminded of the Lady Astor quote about Savannah, Georgia: ‘a beautiful woman with a dirty face.’ This house has always been beautiful; now she has a clean face, too.”

The historic Bolling Haxall House welcomes visitors regularly. The Woman’s Club, founded in 1894 to provide educational opportunities for women, meets most weeks from September through April. Additionally, the building hosts special events year-round, including Junior Assembly Cotillion dances, weddings and musical concerts.

“We are looking forward to hosting more events in the near future,” Boland says. “That’s when this house really shines – when it’s full of people.”

Of course, visitors see the outside first. To both improve the home’s aesthetics and fortify structural elements, the Holtz team conducted a full assessment of the exterior, which revealed more rot in woodwork than was expected. Carpentry craftsmen rebuilt railings, balusters, and supports. In the belvedere, which offers 360-degree views of the surrounding city via eight towering windows, the team was also tasked with rebuilding frames and sashes.

“There was more damage up there than we realized,” Boland says.

While the process wasn’t without challenges – a bucket lift brought in to reach the belvedere inadvertently damaged a railing, which was repaired – Boland says the Holtz team made the project as enjoyable as they could.

“I love the guys who were here; they were so respectful,” she says. “They always cleaned up after themselves and found ways to keep working when the weather wasn’t cooperating. They knew we had programs resuming in September and did everything they could to make sure we had a beautiful new facade to share with our members when they returned.”

Passers-by enjoyed the transformation, too. “We would look out the windows and see that people on foot and on bicycles would stop and watch the work; some even took photos,” she says. “And our members were so impressed by the improvements when our programming resumed in the fall.”

The exterior work also garnered attention from industry professionals, as it was named one of four finalists in the “Best Exterior Renovation” category of the Golden Hammer Awards, presented annually by the Historic Richmond Foundation in partnership with Storefront for Community Design. At the awards ceremony held in early November, the Bolling Haxall House Foundation, which maintains the property, The Woman’s Club, and H.J. Holtz and Son were recognized for their efforts to preserve one of downtown Richmond’s most beloved and historic structures.

Though the project didn’t win the top prize – which went to the restoration of Old City Hall – the refurbished exterior of the Bolling Haxall House demonstrates what’s possible when careful craftsmanship is applied to a home in need.

“Everyone at H.J. Holtz & Son was wonderful to work with,” Boland says. “They were quick to respond, professional, and definitely went above and beyond to ensure that our beautiful home is once again one of the shining jewels on East Franklin Street.”

New Holtz Painting Shop Continues to Evolve

New Holtz Painting Shop Continues to Evolve

Everyone knows that moving into a new place is a process. Decisions have to be made about how to best use the space, what renovation or construction is essential immediately, and where everything is going to go.

Now imagine that new location isn’t a house for a family, but a building for a fully functioning company, with ongoing projects in need of attention and employees in need of work areas. That’s what H.J. Holtz & Son has been experiencing over the last six months.

“We knew this was a big change, but it doesn’t really hit you until you’re in it,” says Rick Holtz, the Holtz Painting president and third generation owner. “We’ve been going full steam since we moved in, and there’s more to do.”

The company purchased the new location, a former auto repair shop, in May and began work immediately to make it their own. They’ve removed interior walls to create an open space where estimators and project managers can confer and hung new drywall throughout to create a fresh, clean environment. Virtually all of the interior changes are being handled by the Holtz team, except for significant electrical work, which is managed by Jon Calhoun of Cardinal Electrical Services, a regular partner.

The new shop at 2025 Tacony Drive, near the intersection of Hull Street Road and Chippenham Parkway, is nearly double the size of the company’s former location in Scott’s Addition. The added room allows for additional spray booths, greater dedicated space for the carpentry division, and more holding area for projects that are in process.

“We didn’t realize how cramped we were at the old location until we got in here,” Holtz says. “Even though we’ve got more arranging to do, to use this space to its full potential, we’re already able to better manage work flow. And we don’t feel like we’re constantly bumping into one another.”

The company’s shift from Scott’s Addition to Chesterfield County makes no difference when it comes to serving clients.

“We have clients throughout the Richmond metro area,” Holtz says. “With the Chippenham Parkway right here, we have access to expressways that take us wherever we need to go. It’s a great spot.”

As for when the new shop will be fully finished, don’t hold your breath. “It’s like the old saying about the cobbler’s children who go barefoot because everyone gets shoes before they do,” Holtz says. “We’re still putting our clients first. Our shop can be perfect later.”