Restoration

The restoration of Warner Hall, and its subsequent conversion to a country inn combined our enthusiasm for hospitality with our passion for historic preservation. The rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of the 19th century manor house at Warner Hall Plantation gave us a unique opportunity to preserve over three centuries of history while providing the public with access to one of Colonial Virginia’s most important historic plantation homes.

With the guidance of the Virginia Department of Historic resources and a team of architects, structural engineers and builders, we pursued the least invasive methods possible with emphasis on keeping the existing floor plan, walls and moldings intact.

An interview with William Darwin Prillaman, Restoration Architect

Q. How many historic buildings have you helped restore?

A. A number in Lancaster and many other places in Virginia, including Edgemont, one of Thomas Jefferson’s homes in Charlottesville. I have been an architect now for more than twenty years and have always been fascinated by working with old buildings.

Q. What was your first impression of Warner Hall?

A. Warner Hall reminded me of a beautiful, peaceful English country house with its architecture … the solitude … the extensive grounds around the house.

Q. How long have you and your firm been involved in this restoration?

A. About eighteen months.

Q. How do you begin a restoration of an historic building?

A. My mind acts like a video camera. I imagine the building as it will be. This involves a little “imagineering” as they do in Walt Disney World. I see in my mind’s camera the building full of people, enjoying themselves. This helps me visualize how the building will ultimately look. And keeps me from being surprised when I walk into the newly restored structure.

Q. Many historic preservation groups require that the building be restored to its original form. Does this hinder you as an architect?

A. Not really. We have a high level of respect for the original architecture. However, it is true that not all structures, even though they may be a hundred years old, represent good architecture. Some of the later additions may not meet the high standards of the original concept.

Sometimes restoration means finding the right balance between preserving the old and using more pleasing architectural designs. For example, finding interior framing for a window that no longer exists may provide the restorers a reason to create that window again. We have been very fortunate here at Warner Hall because so much of what is here is first rate, including the original plaster moldings and the fine details on the railings.

Q. What is your vision of how the Inn at Warner Hall will look when the last workman has left?

A. It’s going to be a place I want to be. Warner Hall will have all the elements that appeal to me. An historic structure. Great people who are going to run it. I know that breakfast will be served properly. And I can wander through beautiful grounds by the river. An English-style country retreat where I can just kick back for a week or a weekend.

Interview with the Ron Davis, Restoration Contractor, and Roland MacPherson, Structural Engineer

Q. Ron, what was your first impression of Warner Hall when the new owners, Theresa and Troy Stavens, asked you to supervise all of the reconstruction work for the new inn?

A. Ron: I first became involved in May of 1999. By then Roland MacPherson and his company and a team of workers had already done much of the preliminary structural work. It has been a great project – especially when I remember where we started and where we are now. It has required meticulous workmanship because we were all committed to preserving or restoring this 19th century mansion as close to the original as humanly possible, following the guidelines of the Virginia Department of Historic Preservation.

Q. How about you, Roland?

A. Roland: My company, MacPherson & Associates, had just recently completed another major restoration project – the Governor’s mansion in Richmond. But I was also excited when I walked through Warner Hall the first time. It is such a beautiful house – with so much history.

Q. What would you both say were your major challenges here?

A. Ron: There were several. But one that stands out in my mind is the restoration of the great white columns on the portico. The columns consist of 6×6 wooden posts circled by wooden stays. Many of these stays had deteriorated over the years.

Roland: We felt it was essential to restore these columns from a structural standpoint – they provide support for the porch beams, as well as for aesthetic reasons. They add such a graceful touch.

Ron: The key problem was getting the stays to fit together properly together and then form a smooth circle around the central core of each column.

Q. On a smaller scale, was it like the construction of the St. Louis Arch where the final piece has to fit exactly in place?

A. Ron: Yes, that’s true. We took a sample of one of the stays to a mill shop, and they replicated all of the stays to the same specifications of the original. They did an excellent job.

Roland: But there was no way of knowing for sure that all of the stays would form a perfect circle until they were actually glued together. But they all did, and we had those beautiful columns in place again. We’ve been fortunate in working with many people who are so meticulous and proud of their work.

    • Warner Hall Entry Drive

      Great Gloucester! – Now through Dec. 15, 2018

      Spend three nights in splendid Warner Hall style now through Dec. 15, 2018 and we’ll give you a $75 gift certificate to your choice of our favorite participating Gloucester restaurants, markets & shops. To name just a few: Bangkok Noi Thai Cuisine, Brent & Becky’s Bulbs, Goodman’s Antiques,  Juan’s Mexican Café and Cantina, Kelsick Specialty Market, Lulu Birds Kitchen, Nuttall’s Store, Olivia’s on Main, Patriot’s Grill, Scoot’s BBQ, Little England Mercantile, The Silver Box, Smith’s Florist, Sweet Tooth Café and Bakery, Tony & Milena’s, Up South!,  Ware Neck Produce, Yolanda’s, York River Oyster Co.

      You must enter GREAT GLOUCESTER in the guest notes when you make your reservation online! This special can not be combined with any other special. Only one special applies per stay.

      Click HERE to select your room and make your reservation now!

    • Dog Days of Summer 2018 Lodging Special

      For each online reservation made between Aug. 17 and Aug. 31, 2018 with a two day stay period through October 31, 2018,  the Inn at Warner Hall will donate 15% of lodging proceeds to the Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society. Additionally, guests that bring a 5lb. bag of pet food to check in / out will be entered in a drawing for a free overnight stay on Valentine’s Day.

      You must enter LOVE THAT TAIL in the guest notes when you make your reservation online!

      Click HERE to select your room and make your reservation now!

    • Gloucester Wine Festival – Sept. 22, 2018

      Great wines are waiting to be discovered at the 9th Annual Gloucester Wine Festival – Sat. Sept. 22, 2018.  Reserve your stay at Warner Hall for the weekend and receive two free tickets to the Wine Festival!

      Join fellow wine enthusiasts for a tasting of top Virginia wines & fine foods. Learn more about the art of wine making and tasting. Shop with local artisans and vendors and enjoy exciting live music while strolling the grounds of the internationally acclaimed Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.

      You must enter SEPTEMBER IS FOR WINEing in the guest notes when you make your reservation online!

      Click HERE to select your room and make your reservation now!

    • BrewJam Festival – Oct. 20, 2018

      Brew up some excitement this autumn over the weekend of Oct. 20, 2018. Spend two nights at the Inn at Warner Hall and we’ll give you two free tickets to Gloucester Main Street’s BrewJam. Sip some tasty “Brews” and spread your best dance “Jam” moves with friends who enjoy great music, craft beers and delicious food.

      You must enter BREW IT UP BABY! in the guest notes when you make your reservation online!

      Click HERE to select your room and make your reservation now!

    • OHHHHH For the Love of Oysters – Nov. 3, 2018

      Spend the weekend at Warner Hall and we’ll bring a taste of the Urbanna Oyster Festival to you here at the Inn! Experience the warmth & ambiance of one of our signature Boathouse Bonfires while feasting on tasty hors d’oeuvres, soups, salads and of course, OYSTERS!

      Saturday, Nov. 3, 5 – 8pm.

      $20 pp incudes Wine, Beer and live Bluegrass music!

      You must enter LOVE OYSTERS! in the guest notes when you make your reservation online!

      Click HERE to select your room and make your reservation now!

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    • There’s no doubt, it makes our day to know that keeping Warner Hall and its history alive for all to enjoy is so meaningful to all, from the descendants of the great men and women who lived here to the guests who lodge here. We recently received this lovely note of thanks and had to […]

    • We are certainly sad to see this vacation of ours come to an end. How lucky we were to have found this place. Warner Hall is exactly what the B&B experience should be. You have combined all of the essential elements of the perfect getaway. We will be back, many times I’m sure! Thank you! […]

    • Warner Hall not only equaled but exceeded our expectations. The warm Southern hospitality, the gracious surroundings, and the incredible cuisine combined to create a memorable birthday for Donna and for our friends. An outstanding evening of fellowship and food! You have paid attention to detail in the restoration, decoration and in the reception, hosting, “ghosting” care […]

    • Summer and Fall 2018 Lodging Specials and Event at the Inn at Warner Hall

      Make your reservations online to qualify for these SUPER SPECIALS and BASK IN THE SUMMER AND FALL BENEFITS of a visit to Warner Hall! Please note that all applicable price adjustments will be made by the Innkeepers as reservations requests are made and accepted. Great Gloucester! – Now through Dec. 15, 2018 Spend three nights […]

    • A Night of Romance at Warner Hall Starring Elijah Rock & The Virginia Symphony Jazz

      A concert like no other that has come to Gloucester will close out this year’s Gloucester Arts Festival later this month, right here at Warner Hall! On Saturday, June 30, starting at 6:30 p.m., Elijah Rock, a triple threat entertainer breathing new life into the Great American Songbook from coast to coast, will join the […]

    • Keeping History Alive – A Note of Thanks

      There’s no doubt, it makes our day to know that keeping Warner Hall and its history alive for all to enjoy is so meaningful to all, from the descendants of the great men and women who lived here to the guests who lodge here. We recently received this lovely note of thanks and had to […]

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