The College Hill Queen Anne was in an unfortunate state of repair. The addedon kitchen was a grimy mess. An old, 30-foot well under the porch needed to be filled. It was abandoned for years except for storage purposes.
Yet this 90-year-old building was going to be home for Leslie Millsaps and her husband, David. It just needed a lot of work, help from trades and two years of busy, project-filled weekends.
Leslie learned to use power tools. “It was mainly a question of what could we afford that we could put sweat equity into,” she says. “It turned into a serious love of old houses.”
And a home-remodeling business.
In 1993, fully pregnant with her first child, Leslie took the exam to get a contractor’s license. “We decided since we didn’t kill each other or get divorced during the renovation, we could start a business together,” she says. “I have the number skills and he had the people skills.”
Today, Leslie Millsaps is the president of DLM Builders, a full-service home design and remodeling business, while David serves as vice president. Together they’ve developed an impressive portfolio of historic restorations, including the Sweeney-Penn House in Fisher Park. But they’ll also tackle structural work or handle the smallest of jobs, like window replacement.
Leslie supports citywide preservation efforts as a secretary of the board of directors for the nonprofit Preservation Greensboro and its development fund. The fund is responsible for saving important properties such as downtown’s Cascade Saloon, which was renovated and re-christened the Christman-Cascade Building last June after being left to decay for more than 40 years.
“It took years to put together,” Leslie says of the Queen Anne’s renovation plan. “It was a wonderful day when it all came together.”
This story is courtesy of Made in Greensboro, an initiative of Action Greensboro and the City of Greensboro.