Blands have been restoring ‘old Prince House’

Published 9:33 am Wednesday, November 30, 2016

by Mary Woodruff

The Riparian Woman’s Club of Emporia welcomes the Bland Home to this year’s tour. The owners have completed a renovation project that will showcase a new kitchen and bath that will be the envy of everyone.

David and Rosemarie Bland are proud to present their home for the Christmas tour this year. David is a fine woodcrafter and has designed and carved many of the wood elements within the home himself. He loves to do wood carvings and gilding. He has carved, painted and gilded many large and small signs for homes and businesses. He is involved with the local Boy Scouts of America troop and teaches wood carving and other skills to the young boys.

Rosemarie is a math instructional coach at Franklin Public School Division and is pursuing higher studies in math education. She loves to bake, putting the newly renovated kitchen within the home to good use.

The Bland Home located on Peachtree Street is referred to as “the old Prince House” and was the first home to be built on this street. This property was sold to Nannie Prince by W.T. Tiller in 1900 on the condition that she had to build a home valued at nothing less than $1,000. The home was completed in 1902 with a recorded value of $1,200 in 1903.

In 1922, the home changed hands and was sold to Mattie and P.E. Prince for $4,500. At some point in the mid-1900’s the home was turned into a rooming house for teachers. The current owners purchased the home in 1979 and have been in the process of restoring the home to its original grandeur.

Walking up to the house from the street you pass through a beautifully vined arbor leading up the sidewalk to the house. The front features the original wrap-around porch perfect for sitting on a cool evening sipping on sweet tea and greeting the neighbors. Upon entering the front door you step into a small entryway that leads into the foyer, with the original oak flooring throughout many of the rooms and features a Virginia Metal Craft reproduction Globe light.

In 1988, due to remodeling of the foyer by previous owners, the Blands gutted the foyer all the way back to the studs, taking three days of continuous work to remove all the old plaster and lath strip, then restoring it to its original design.

To the right is the staircase with a new banister and landing built by the current owners. The banister is a replica of the one in the early 1900s, and the landing has a checkerboard wood design that blends in perfectly with the original woodwork, making it seem that it was part of the original plans.

To the left is the Blue room accented with white and crystal décor. The piano is the focal point of the room and once belonged to the Nolde family out of Richmond, who owned and operated Nolde Bros. Bakery.

Period reproductions from Biggs, Virginia Metal Craft and others are placed throughout this room giving it a finished touch. From the Blue room you enter the dining room decorated in reds, golds and greens. This room features a beautiful Hinkle Harris corner cabinet.

After roaming through the dining room you enter a wide hallway leading toward the rear of the home. To the left, which was once the pantry, is the newly remodeled powder room with floor-to-ceiling tiled shower and stained glass window. The sink is a unique, one-of-a-kind wash basin made from 2,000,000-year-old petrified wood.

Proceeding down the hall leads to a newly created kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances, cabinetry, counter tops and flooring and also a family room, which overlooks the shady back deck overhung with mature wisteria vines, creating a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, prefect for making delicious meals or hot drinks to snuggle and relax with on a cold evening. The perfect ending to a hard day of work!

The tour will be on Friday, Dec. 2 from 4:30 to 8 p.m., and on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served at the Masonic Lodge on Saturday. The proceeds will go toward the Community Improvement Project, a two-year project to make the community a better place to live, work and raise a family.

The tour will also include the homes of Mike and Dawn Veliky; the Historic Masonic Lodge located in Emporia; the home of Jamie and Robin Rawles of Southampton County (Drewryville); Kurt Whitehead of Jarratt; and Timothy and Stephanie Dunlow of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.

Tickets are $13 and are available from Riparian members; the Emporia-Greensville Chamber of Commerce; Paws, Purrs and Hers; the Nottoway House Courtland; or by calling 434-594-4369.