Maybe you’ve seen them driving through the neighborhood, confabulating on a street corner, or making friends with the local canine population. Nick Cairns and Tim Horjus, owners of C&H Restoration and Renovation, seem to be ubiquitous in Bolton Hill. This is really no wonder though since Bolton Hill is where C&H got its start.
Tim and Nick met years ago at the Area 405 building in the Station North Arts District. Each was working hard trying to pursue a career as an artist while also needing to earn a living. This shared existence planted the seed for the founding of C&H.
Tim grew up in the Midwest and cut his teeth in the trades helping his dad restore pipe organs and working as a house framer and general contractor. He came to Baltimore to attend graduate school at MICA, ultimately receiving an MFA from the University of Maryland. Along with doing carpentry work and floor refinishing, Tim taught art, from kindergarten to the graduate level. C&H is proud to have employed a few of his former students over the years.
Nick hails from the Philadelphia suburbs, where he spent his childhood in a foundry, helping his father, a sculptor, make plaster and bronze casts. After college in Ohio and several years in New York and Boston, Nick moved to Baltimore in 2004. Here, he developed a small business using his moldmaking and casting skills to restore ornamental plasterwork in older homes throughout Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Having worked together on a number of smaller restoration and remodeling projects, Nick and Tim were given the opportunity in 2010 to help restore Bolton Hill’s well-known “Gargoyle House.” This beautiful, distinctive building had languished in disrepair for years; a tree had even started growing out of one corner of the house. Over the next two years, Nick and Tim helped bring this home back to its original glory (see more photos here.) During the course of this project, C&H was born.
C&H Restoration and Renovation specializes in the restoration and updating of historic homes. One of the most rewarding aspects of this work is getting the opportunity to play Sherlock Holmes. The darkened marks on floors indicating original wall locations, the joinery method of old joists, the oak parquet flooring installed over the original heart pine floors—not to mention century-old whiskey bottles, newspapers and baseball cards: these all become clues in that help Nick and Tim piece together the histories of these remarkable homes.
The discovery process is the starting point of each project. Nick and Time then work to seamlessly and sensibly merge the old with the new. C&H loves to work with homeowners to find ways to combine the history of the house with a new vision, a way for homeowners to write their own chapter in the history of these grand old houses.
Perhaps, some century from now, a future house detective will come across C&H’s handiwork in some of these Bolton Hill homes.