Where some people see a run-down house, Kevin Meek sees historical significance. With keen attention to detail and low tolerance for error, Meek, his staff, and Rock Creek Craftsmen interns take historic restoration very seriously. “Part of historical renovation is that if you do something, you want to be able to undo it,” Meek says. “We’ll modernize structures so they’re safe, but who knows what mistakes we’re making today that they’ll find 50 years from now? You have to honor the history.”

• Working superintendents are always at the job and able to direct trades who may be less familiar with historical construction.

• Rock Creek’s internship program is popular among college students studying preservation. Unpaid interns are rewarded with experience and dedicated projects, such as restoring a fireplace mantel with guidance from company mentors.

• Meek prefers to work with the local preservation society instead of against it. “I bring them out to workshops, show them our jobs, and explain the problems we might be having,” he says. “That sets us apart because it shows that we have a public service component to our business.”