“It turned into a serious love of old houses.”

Leslie Millsaps, 61, Home Reviver

The College Hill Queen Anne was in an unfortunate state of repair. The added-on kitchen was a grimy mess. There was an old, 30-foot well under the porch that needed to be filled. It was abandoned except for storage purposes for years.

Yet the 90-year-old building was going to be home for Leslie and her husband, David Millsaps. 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,” Leslie 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, she’s the president of DLM Builders, a full-service home design and remodeling business. David’s vice president. Together they’ve developed an impressive portfolio of historic restorations, like the Sweeney-Penn House in Fisher Park. But they’ll also tackle structural work or handle the smallest of jobs, like replacing windows.

Leslie also supports the 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 like downtown’s Cascade Saloon, which is now under reconstruction after being left to decay for more than 40 years.

“It took years to put together,” Leslie says of the renovation plan. “It was a wonderful day when it all came together.”

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