Wednesday, October 3, 2012

COA is like ABC

Back in January I gave you guys and gals a quick preview of what we had planned for the front of the house (read about it here), and I'd even whipped up a little visual sneak preview to give everybody an idea of what our Ugly Duckling would look like with all these changes.

Mind you, except for the fence, the entrance door and a few minor details, this is pretty much what the Ugly Duckling would have looked like in her prime. And it feels -so- right.We are feeling confident enough in our DIY skills to tackle both porch railing and fence (and leave the door to our lovely contractors) but before we could tear out the ugly rusted metal railing and replace it with something pretty we had to file for a COA, short for "Certificate of Appropriateness."

No worries - this blog post will remain work safe :o)
Nothing inappropriate going on here!
Move along, move along.

In the spirit of preservation in a national registered historic district, any changes to the -outside- of a historic house (Except for painting. You can paint your house Barney purple and nobody can stop you. True story!) has to be approved by the Historic Preservation Commission before work can start. To make things a bit easier and faster, possible changes are divided into smaller ones or standard alterations/restorations that can be approved administratively and larger/complex ones that require a public hearing at a monthly Historic Preservation Committee meeting. The first ones are free of charge, the second kind costs you $300.- to present it to the committee. As its own version of Rock-Paper-Scissors, you could say it's our own game of Repair-Restore-Replace.

Since our porch railing affects the outside of our house, we needed to file for a COA. For that we downloaded the form on the Jacksonville city page and started filling it out with our property information, contact information, and a brief description of the work we were planning to do. We included a simple drawing with measurements of the wooden railing we were going to build and attached pictures of the old rusted railing and the slots cut into the ashlar bricks indicating the historically accurate placement for our railings.

Alright, so that sounds more complicated than it really was. I mean, all I wrote was "replace rusted wrought-iron railing on front porch with a new wooden railing" along with a drawing and some photos.
Not rocket science. Really. It sounds more intimidating and complicated than it really is. The average HOA sounds more intrusive and controlling than our HPC with its regulations.

That's not to say that things can't get complicated (more on that maybe in a future blog post, and no, it wasn't us) or cannot go wrong, but this was pretty straightforward. I faxed it over to the office on Friday and had my approval by email on Monday - woot!

-Now- nothing would stop us from ripping out that crapola piece of wrought iron railing.
Good riddance!

So stay tuned!


  1. I'm so glad you're back! I've read your entire blog and love it, love your personality and your house.

  2. Thank you! That is so sweet! I'm hoping to be back more regularly with renewed DIY spirit and new projects (although probably not every day ):o) I love your farmhouse and your garden is killer! We're planning to paint our house too so any tips and advice you have ...!

  3. This house is simple yet looks great. My pleasure to visit your post. Big thanks and keep posting