Coming home: a 93-year-old house restored

History preserved: "Habitat" restores home

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Sandra Miller has lived along Romney St. for her entire life. But her historic freedman's cottage was falling into disrepair.

"You have your normal wear-and-tear over the years, but after awhile it became into a dilapidation condition where as some of the wood was falling off," Miller said of the house built in 1919. "You could see through the walls."

That's when the Neighborhood Impact Initiative stepped in. The program is a joint effort between the Historic Charleston Foundation, the City of Charleston and the Charleston Habitat for Humanity. Their mission is to rehabilitate deteriorated properties with architectural merit.

The 11-month project required crews to be especially mindful of the historical significance of the building.

"That was our job: preserve and keep the original materials as much as we possibly could, and to put the house back in order as close to what it would have been using as many materials as we could," Historic Charleston Foundation President and CEO Kitty Robinson said.

Workers were able to retain original floorboards, siding, beams and many glass windows.

Volunteers worked on repairing the home for nearly a year, before dedicating it on Wednesday.

"Our construction manager really has to learn some new tricks of the trade," Charleston Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Jeremy Browning said. "Oftentimes, you're trying to reuse wood and reuse siding, so you're doing a lot repairs."

Following a dedication ceremony on Wednesday afternoon, Miller is able to move back into her long-time residence.

"To be back home, and to be able to save my mother's home and have them renovate it like this is an awesome blessing," she said. "I'm just grateful to all the volunteers and all the organizations."

Miller's home is the 14th house restored by the Neighborhood Impact Initiative.

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