Hull Historical Project Featured in White House Historical Association 2015 Look Book

I am honored to announce that Hull Historical’s custom work “Windows of the White House Mirrors – Arched & Triangular Pediments” is featured in the White House Historical Association’s 2015 Look Book.

Hull Historical White House Look Book Mirrors (2)

For more than 50 years the White House Historical Association has helped to protect, preserve, and provide public access to the rich history of America’s Executive Mansion. Part of this mission is rooted in the Official White House Christmas Ornament, a unique collectible that has become part of the holiday tradition of millions of American families.

Brent Hull Hull Historical White House Look Book Mirrors (4)

Windows of the White House Mirrors, arched and triangular styles lined up at Brent Hull’s Hull Historical Custom Millwork Shop, Fort Worth, TX awaiting shipment to Washington, D.C.

In 2015, the White House Historical Association has expanded its offerings to include a wider variety of holiday gifts, such as cookie cutters, snow globes, recipe books, and mirror replicas of the White House Windows.

Hull Historical White House Look Book Mirrors (1)

Inspired by the architecture and details of the exterior windows on the north façade of the White House, each exclusive “Windows of the White House Mirror” spans over two feet wide and four feet tall.

Windows of the White House Mirror's in production at Hull Historical via Instagram

Windows of the White House Mirror’s in production at Hull Historical via Instagram

The project was a collaborative effort between some of the finest craftsman, architects and businesses in the United States. Based off of the detailed replica drawings created by Michael Franck, AIA (Franck & Lohsen Architects, Washington, DC), the corbels were hand carved by Ian Agrell (Agrell Architectural Carving, NY) and then cast in plaster and replicated by Decorators Supply (Chicago, IL). Finally, all moldings and mirror components were assembled at Hull Historical (Fort Worth, TX).

All components of the Window of the White House Mirror were assembled at Hull Historical, Fort Worth, TX.

All components of the Window of the White House Mirror were assembled at Hull Historical, Fort Worth, TX.

Each mirror is handcrafted and painted “White House” white. The end result is a perfectly scaled and proportionate replica of the windows found on one of the most iconic and classically designed buildings in the world. A limited edition quantity of 50 of each pediment style, arched and triangular, were manufactured exclusively for the 2015 Look Book.

You can view the complete details of the “Windows of the White House Mirror” along with a range of other holiday products on the White House Historical Associations 2015 online Look Book.

Recent interview- The Timeless House

Hi, sorry for the recent dearth of posts, I’ve been busy working on a project I hope to share with you soon.

I was in Denver last week speaking at the Traditional Building conference on how to build a great-historic and lasting door. While I was there I stopped in Mountain View window and doors and spoke with Kevin and Devon  on their podcast about my book and problems in challenges of building a great house.

The show is called “The Art of Construction” and they just posted the interview and I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy, let me know if you have any thoughts or feedback.

Link to their website/podcast: CLICK HERE

Link to iTunes episode 31: CLICK HERE

Signs of progress? Recent article about beauty for building.

As a builder I’m an optimist, I think, in fact, it is a required trait to qualify as a builder. A recent article in Builder magazine gives me hope that design and quality are improving and getting better. Or, maybe I’m just being optimistic. . .

As I have given talks around the country on my book; The Timeless House, it seems that at the end of each talk the same question is asked; when will things start to change? When will we stop building McMansions and disposable, ugly houses. The truth is I think things are already changing, but unfortunately change is slow and we live in an instant age.

I was in fact stunned and excited recently to see Vitruvius mentioned in a Builder Magazine article. Vitruvius, was the Roman engineer who wrote the only known book on ancient architecture from Greece or Rome.  Further, I must applaud John McManus, the author, for suggesting beauty as the single most important trait that will cause people to buy a home. You can read the article here.

Overlooking the fact that the article misses the essences of beauty, there are 2 reasons to be optimistic about this article. First, beauty was used and is being considered as a solution for building. WOW!! Stop the presses. This is big news.  Second, Vitruvius was mentioned in an article by Builder magazine. Here’s why this is big news.

In 1926, the Audel’s carpentry guide illustrated the classical orders along with their proportions that every carpenter should know and understand. I use this picture in my talks as an illustration of what we once knew but have forgotten today. There was a knowledge of building and design that existed before WWII and everyone shared this knowledge, from builder, to craftsmen and even the homeowner. After WWII with the rise of modernism and production housing this, Art of Building, was lost.

Greek and Roman Orders

The article is an encouraging sign that the building industry is searching for what makes a house appealing. They are beginning to realize that sales are not based on a formula of appliance quantity over countertop quality. Instead, beauty is an elusive yet worthwhile pursuit. This search in builder magazine is a positive sign.

To the question of how long it will take until we stop building ugly houses? It will take at least another 20-30 years. Yet, even despite this long return to quality and beauty, there are encouraging signs. Considering that the 1970′s were arguably the worst time in American homebuilding design; we are getting better. Here are a few milestones:

In 1981 Seaside Florida, the new urban planned community was born. You can read the history here.  This development has transformed the Florida coast and made it more beautiful with better construction. The New Urban ideals are spreading across the country,  and it birthed the TND- Traditional Neighborhood Development, movement which looks back to the past for design inspiration, think porches, sidewalks and walk-ability as key features.


In the early 1990′s the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art was formed. The ICAA, of which I’m a proud member, now has 16 chapters around the country and is training and teaching classicism and traditional building methods year around. To learn more about the ICAA go here.

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, 1770, Colonial Revival style

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, A great Classical building.


Design is getting better, change is improving and yes I am optimistic when Builder magazine considers beauty and Vitruvius as possible answers for better homes. It will take more time, but we are going in a good direction. Cheers.