Couple restores Gilbert Street two-flat

Carol Roehm/Commercial-NewsCher and Thom Pollock stand in front of a black Art Deco-style fireplace in a two-flat on Gilbert Street that they have been restoring for the last three years.

DANVILLE — Thom and Cher Pollock were recognized by the Old Town Preservation Association last month for their work to save a unique two-flat structure next door to their residence on North Gilbert Street.

“They maintain the outside and have done a lot of work inside,” Old Town President Dick Cheney said. “It’s nice.”

Thom, who had been president of Renaissance Danville, and his wife, Cher, are no strangers when it comes to restoring old homes. They have restored the stately home they live in on North Gilbert Street as well as a home next door to the north before turning their attention a couple years ago to a brown-shake two-flat to the south of their house.

“What caught the eye of the Old Town Preservation Association is the outside of the house and its style with the white eyebrow,” Thom said.

“What attracted me were the French doors and the little nooks everywhere inside,” Cher said.

Calling it her “labor of love,” Cher has been sanding the original screen doors and plans to stain them before returning them to the outside of the house.

“I wanted to do these doors,” she said. “I’m going to stain them and put them back to their original glory.”

The two-flat’s interior features rich walnut woodwork in the Craftsman style, floor-to-ceiling pocket doors and two fireplaces. The fireplace on the first floor is surrounded by opulent green tile and a mantel with a shamrock carved in the center. A black glass Art Deco fireplace is on the second floor.

The dining room on the first floor is another remarkable feature of the home.

“These old houses have grand dining rooms,” Cher said.

The second floor has a huge finished attic that Cher envisions being used as a large master bedroom or a craft room, but the real showstopper is the retro 1940s or 1950s bathroom that features pink, black and jadeite-colored large glass tiles, including a jadeite-tiled ceiling in a diamond pattern.

“We’ve been working on it for three years,” she said of the restoration work. “The house sat empty for several years. I never thought we’d own it.”

Don and the late Jewel Richardson were the last occupants of the home.

“Jewel had a beautiful flower garden and vegetable gardens,” Cher said. “I’ve tried to save some of her original flowers and grapevines. She used to make grape jelly with the grapes she grew.”

The Pollocks said they are thankful Renaissance Danville occurred 10 years or more ago which spurred interest in preserving some of Downtown Danville’s old homes.

“We’re committed to the revitalization of this area,” Cher said.

Recommended for you