PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Fort Worth September 2020

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E arly last year, Brent Hull walked into the city of Fort Worth permitting offices with plans for the redo of a historic house tucked under his arm. It was something he'd done countless times during his 23 years as a builder and historic preservation- ist: the essential but mundane task of getting approval to move forward on a renovation project. But this time, things didn't go quite as expected. The preservation officer compared Hull's plans to the old Sanborn maps from the 1920s, which showed what the property looked like when it was first developed. "Where's the garage?" the officer quizzed, brows furrowed. Hull's heart skipped a few beats, and his stomach churned. At the homeowner's request, Hull had torn down the dilapidated garage, with intentions of rebuilding it when work on the house began. "It was one of those stunned moments, when you're, like, 'Oh, crap, I shouldn't have done that without permission,'" he says. Instead of fines or some other kind of punishment, the officer offered Hull a deal. The city had four free workshops coming up on repairing historic windows, and he wanted Hull to lead them. The topic struck an im- mediate chord. "Of all the things that are important in historic preservation, windows are the big one," Hull says. "People are always tearing out original windows and putting in new ones. But that's the worst thing you can do. Win- dows are among the defining elements of old architecture. It's like ripping out the eyes and soul of the house." A Fort Worth native, Hull stud- ied historic preservation at Boston's 139-year-old North Bennet Street School. As a nationally recognized authority, he's restored historic hotels, centuries-old courthouses, landmark train depots around the country, and built historically inspired houses and millwork. The North Bennet Street School honored him with a distin- guished alumni award, and he's re- ceived three John Staub Awards for classical architecture in craftsmanship and historic restoration. But nothing prepared him for the enthusiasm he REVIVALIST BRENT HULL, RECOGNIZED NATIONALLY FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION AND THE RECIPIENT OF THREE JOHN STAUB AWARDS, IS PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF RESTORATION. HIS TRAVELING WORKSHOPS FOCUS ON PRESERVING OLD WINDOWS — THE EYES AND SOUL OF A HISTORIC BUILDING. BY REBECCA SHERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY STEPHEN KARLISCH Brent Hull's offices, located in an old warehouse in Fort Worth 52

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