Photos courtesy of Hull Historical
You know that expression “God is in the details”? Brent Hull probably whispers it to himself about 100 times a day. As owner and president of Hull Historical in Fort Worth, Hull is a nationally recognized authority on historic design, architecturally correct moldings and millwork.
His most recent book, Building a Timeless House in an Instant Age, is a must-read among people who love old buildings and bringing them back to life. Hull will be in Houston Tuesday evening, May 10, at an appearance organized by the local chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. Click here for tickets to the talk and book-signing at Canopy restaurant (3939 Montrose).
We recently caught up with Hull to ask a few nosy questions.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR EDUCATION. UNIVERSITY OR STRAIGHT INTO WORK?
I studied history and English at Baylor University. Worked and taught at a boarding school in Connecticut for a year and then went to the North Bennet St. School [in Boston’s North End]. I studied historic preservation for two years and then returned to Texas to start Hull Historical in my brother’s 1917 garage.
WHO HAS BEEN YOUR MENTOR?
I have had a few. Robert Adam was my teacher at North Bennet Street. He has been an inspiration and taught me a great deal about craft and historic work. Ken Hays was my first employee, an older man who taught me how to work. He had an eighth-grade education but was wise and hard-working. He was always prepared and always on time, ready to work on the job.
LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
“EVERY DAY I READ …”
The Bible and books on historic design.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR OWN HOUSE.
I live in a 1960s ranch home. It is rather uninspiring architecturally, thus I get to live vicariously through my clients.
FAVORITE TEXAS BUILDING?
We have too many to list. I love the courthouses, the train depots and public schools built before 1930.
THE MOST COMMON DIY HOME-RESTORER MISTAKE?
Tearing out original material for the home in an effort to “update it.” On pre-1940 homes people should not replace windows, moldings, doors or hardware.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT OF YOUR LIFE SO FAR?
My family. I’ve been married for 25 years and we have three great kids. Also a sweet dog named Romeo.
IF YOUR 20-YEAR-OLD SELF COULD SEE YOU NOW, WHAT WOULD HE THINK?
He would be pleasantly surprised. I have been blessed. I love what I do and am pursuing my passion for learning and craft.
LET’S TALK FAVORITES …
Wood: Walnut or cherry. It depends on the purpose.
Paint color: Wedgwood Blue
Architectural style: Greek Revival. It’s so Americana. I love its stark harsh lines.
CAN RESTORING A BUILDING BE MORE “GREEN” THAN BUILDING NEW?
AFTER WORK, WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO DRINK?
I don’t drink like I use to, but I love an Old Fashioned. A good one with a muddled cherry.
DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER BOOK IN THE WORKS? CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT?
No new book in the works. I’m waiting to see what inspires me.