‘I like taking it from ugly to pretty’: Contractor gets new opportunity painting the historic Blandwood Mansion in Greensboro

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Most of us are familiar with painting a home. But when a home is over 200 years old, you have to call in the professionals like Elijah Southern.

“No job is tough if you love what you are doing. It’s therapeutic,” Southern said. “I like painting. I like taking it from ugly to pretty.”

Southern owns Southern Renovation and Paint.

His mission is to paint all the wooden surfaces of Blandwood Mansion. The historic downtown Greensboro landmark is the former home of North Carolina governor John Morehead.

Before Southern can paint, he has to remove layers of old paint and smooth out the rough spots. When he’s done, Blandwood will be back to its 1795 charm.

“When I paint it, I will use a brush and roller like they did when they first painted and try to keep the same look,” Southern said.

Benjamin Briggs is the executive director of Preservation Greensboro: the nonprofit that operates Blandwood. Along with a new coat of paint, Preservation Greensboro also thought it was time to make another change.

“We thought it was important for the organization to reach out to minority owned businesses, woman owned businesses, to see if we have a better representation of contractors here at Blandwood Mansion,” Briggs said.

“To have the opportunity to be contracted to do it as a minority, that’s awesome,” Southern said. “That shows how time has changed.”

Southern has worked on historic houses before but nothing quite as large as Blandwood. So when this job is complete, it could set him on a stage to something even bigger.

“We are working with him to build our heritage trades here in Greensboro,” Briggs said. “His skill level can be applied to many different houses, and we look forward to him becoming a part of our team.”

Joining the team is important because finding someone to take care of a 200-year-old home is becoming harder and harder.

“That would be a great opportunity to do more. I am sure it will come in time if you stay patient and vigilant,” Southern said.

He should be finished painting Blandwood Mansion in a few weeks.

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