Some of you know that I started my Facebook page, which led to this website, in memory of my sister that died unexpectedly. It was a way to help me with the grieving. This “hobby” gave me something to focus on. I have often felt my sister, Jennifer, was guiding me at times and making sure certain people crossed my path. Carla and Tom, the owners of the Sublett Miller mansion in Danville, Virginia are two such people.
I saw their house online a few years ago and on a whim I private messaged Carla and boldly asked if I could come tour it and take pictures for my Facebook page. I was pleasantly surprised when she said yes!
The very next day I was knocking on her door. It might sound cliché, but it felt like we had known each other for years! Carla and I became fast friends and I can often be found sleeping in her fanciest bed! Lol.
They purchased this house at an auction on the front lawn two decades ago. And they have been working on it since then! They are doing a true restoration. When they purchased the house it was the white color in the above picture. At some point there was a garden tour, and the second Mrs. Miller wanted her flowers to really pop! So the house was painted white! And the inside was no different! Look to the right of the picture, notice how the far right entrance is gone? Carla and Tom used pictures of the house from the 1800’s to restore the exterior! The side porch area was originally the servants’ entrance.
Above is Mrs. Miller on front porch in the 1800’s. They recently found another picture of Mrs. Miller!
There are various levels of restoration work, and often times it is based on finances. Some people do an HGTV job on a house, or do a renovation, rather than a restoration. Which is all fine. Saving history is saving history, no matter how you do it. But to walk through their home and to see the detail in person, it is truly awe inspiring.
The clock featured above was an original to the house. It was sold at an estate sale. Carla and Tom tracked it down, purchased it and returned it to the house!
I have been inside their house over half a dozen times and each time I notice things I missed before! Every piece of furniture, every painting, every light fixture is period correct. Some pieces they acquired from descendants of the original owners, some pieces they had to track down for years, and some came from as far away as Rhode Island.
The video attached up at the top of the post is the interior tour of the first floor. Let me give you some basic history. This house was originally built in 1874. When it was first built it was a four square house. So that is four rooms, over four rooms.
It was built for Mr. Sublett who was a dry goods merchant. He died shortly after it was built and Mrs. Sublett remarried Mr. Miller. He was also a dry goods merchant.
At that time, Danville was prospering! Mansions started being built up around them. Mr. Miller decided it was time to keep up with the neighbors and he transformed the house into the current Gothic Victorian.
No post about the Sublett Miller mansion would be complete without showing off their refrigerator!! So take a look at this custom made piece in their kitchen!
And this is all just the first floor of the house!!! The next post and video will be from the second floor.
When they purchased the house, the wrought iron fencing was gone. Carla and Tom found one very similar at a house in Connecticut. (I believe it was Connecticut) They purchased it and had it installed! Now you can understand why they are the perfect stewards for any historic home! It has taken 20 years, but just look at it!!! A true work of art!