1940's Picture front

Picture from a 1940's news paper of the front of the Patrick St. Lawrence house. Note that the porch extends almost the entire length of the house. 1/2 dovetailed mortises without wooden pegs were found in the sill beam. The original 1790 mortise was rectangular and the tenon was secured using wooden pegs.

Picture 1955

The front porch was recreated from a Anne Bynum's painting. The Yellow house was also painted a federal blue color in this painting. Janet hand scraped some beaded siding boards on the back porch and found this layer blue.

Anne Bynum Painting

The Patrick St. Lawrence Tavern House, was located on the corner lot number 50 of the courthouse square,  is blue house located in the front left corner of the oil painting. Janet found layers of white, blue and different shades of yellow. The original color was a mustard to gold in color.

2012 picture

The front porch as was first seen prior to purchase. This porch was not well built or flashed. There was major water damage-decay to the post and beam structure in this area. Note the columns that are used were the same as on the 1940's picture.

Oak Grove Plantation

Oak Grove Plantation

Hours of research has been completed  to determine the correct style of porch columns that would have been used in the late 18th century on a Georgian style house. The consensus was that lamb-tongue columns would be the correct choice, many buildings of this era in the Piedmont area use the lamb-tongue style columns.

Oak Grove Porch Columns

Carl Lounsbury, Senior Architectural Historian and Willie Graham, Curator of Architecture at Colonial Williamsburg Foundation


 requested to visit the St. Lawrence house to inspect and document an early American structure. With the plaster and lath removed many years ago, the bones of this house are now exposed. I believe that they were extremely impressed with the large timbers, framing methods and massive door and window casings, falling wainscot panels and the dividing wall that hinges to the ceiling creating a ball room.

I ask them a question about the exterior balustrade and they stated "to keep it simple", with the balustrade being exposed to the elements, there would not have been a great investments in the railing system.

Oak Grove Plantation Column A second photograph of the Oak Grove Plantation porch shows a simple railing system with an oval toped hand rail. My plan for the Patrick St. Lawrence house was a duplication of the interior balustrade  for the front porches. The exterior and interior finish details showed a minimum of molding designs. The country carpenter in the 18th century may not have had a large selection of molding planes to choose from, and the St. Lawrence house moldings-trim was created using hollow, rounds, bead and fillister planes.
Oak Grove Lambs Tougne Columns Full porch view of the Oak Grove porch.
Lambs Tongue columns on Garrett-White House built c.1785 with a restoration front porch. The Garrett-White porch is very close to the porch that will be built at the Patrick St. Lawrence house.
Janet preping for the start of front porch

Janet is prepping the work site for the start of the front porch recreation.

Old porch has been removed and the foundation readied for new porch

Old porch was removed and the pressure treated sill plate is reattached to the foundation for the start of the new porch.

I know that pressure treated lumber was not used in the 18th century, but sometimes it is good to bent the rules! The porch new porch should last longer with this barrier between wood and masonry.

Sill beams ready for layout 8" X 8" southern Yellow Pine sill beams ready for joinery.
Cutting tenons Starting the joinery process, cutting tenon on one of the end sill beams.
Sill beam to house sill Repairs made to the vertical beam and a new mortised to accept the porch end sill beam.
sill head and end sill beam mortise and tenon South end sill beam with tenon  and porch sill header with mortise.
Sill beams ready for assembly using mortise and tenon and wood pegs.
sill beams assembly Sill beam system assembled using mortise and tenon.
mortising end beam Mortising the beams for the floor joist.
Installing joist Installing the floor joist in the floor sill beams and center beam.
reading the yellow pine timbers for porch columns

Hand planed yellow pine column timbers for layout and joinery.

Laying out and sawing control cuts for the lambs tongue chamfer

Control cuts in the edge of the column with hand saw will be chipped out using a wood chisel and then cleaned up using a wood plane and chisel.

lambs tongue and champer

Chamfer edge  ending in a lambs tongue transition.

Lambs-Toungue columns The start of a recreation 18th century porch. The Patrick St. Lawrence house was built for use as a tavern and all architectural components were masses in size. The columns were designed and crafted with the same thought in mind.
Side view of the columns Side view of the center the corner columns.
Feel the power

Super girl! Janet and I got the first two columns installed into the mortises in the sill beam!

Second floor header beam Header beam for the porch second floor with the mortise for the center beam. The end beam tenon will be fit into the mortises in the corner columns.
16 foot outside columns 16 foot outside column. Notch and mortise to support the second floor header beam.
Notch and mortise outside column Notch and mortise for the header beam.
Header beam with center floor beam Front header beam with center floor beam.
Tenon's for the exterior corner north column.
North exterior lambs tongue column set in place and secured to tenon's.
The North 16' column set into place. One more to go!
Back porch

The back porch in this picture was modified from a porch that ran the length of the back of the house. The porch most likely looked like the one pictured in the 1940's news paper picture. The small room to the left was framed into the porch to create a full bath. We have removed the bath, installed a new floor and will be installing a small galley kitchen that will work in tandem with a large country kitchen.

 Patrick St. Lawrence House-Tavern
Designing and Building the Porches