The passion of a craftsperson

When I think of the word craftsmanship, I think of a project we completed last year – restoration of the Barrington White House. The historic 15,000-square-foot mansion was originally constructed in 1898 by John and Julia Robertson and since then has served as a hospital, nursing home and offices. The work of the original carpenter, Fred Lines, has definitely stood the test of time.


After multiple owners and years of wear and tear, the current owner, the Village of Barrington, hired us to do a complete historic preservation of the building, which is now being used as a community center.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the award-winning Barrington White House is situated within the Barrington Historic District. The house is full of ornate features and finishes - a grand staircase, columns, quarter-sawn oak trim and Palladian windows. Visit the Barrington White House website for the full history and detailed description.

The project required patience and careful attention to detail, from adding a new roof that matched the existing pitches, to blending new materials with 115-year-old materials, to removing masonry by hand and tagging it for reinstallation after structural work was completed.

It takes a special skill set to preserve history, so Pepper hired some of our master carpenters to complete the most delicate and intricate parts of the project. During construction, Quintessential Barrington did a story on one of our Master Craftsman Tony Frisone. The article shared a little of the meticulous preservation process and that Frisone, “lives his job at work and at home.”

The Barrington White House was a unique opportunity for Tony to demonstrate the value of his master craftsman certification, as he worked with the century-old wood.

Not just a story of restoration

BIM in the field
Workers reference electronic plans on the jobsite.

What initially appears to be a story of preservation is also a story of progress. The Barrington White House is the first building in the Village of Barrington to install a geo-thermal HVAC system.

Today’s tools and technologies allow us to bring facilities up to modern standards. They allow us to work more efficiently to improve the performance of the buildings on which we work. 

The team that completed the Barrington White House project won Pepper’s Quality Under Extreme Schedule or Technical Challenges (QUEST) award. Beyond the detailed finish work, they solved multiple challenges. For example, to replicate the building exterior, such as the height of the existing roof line, the team laser scanned the exterior of the building. They provided the information to the architect, engineers and the fabricator of the roof scissor truss system to incorporate the dimensions into the design.

From building a legacy to breaking new ground

Pepper is regarded for our ability to work on historic structures. We have the expertise to do this type of work and the commitment to doing it right.

In our blog, we’ve been featuring insights from some of our technical experts, who like Tony, also live their jobs. To them, safety doesn’t end when they leave the jobsite. Quality isn’t limited to commercial projects. And in no other place is a healthy building more important than in your own home.

This month, we’ll be sharing the ideas that are keeping our teams up at night and some of the best practices our people take home with them. From our house to yours.

According to Author Cal Newport’s Career Craftsman Manifesto, the craftsman mindset “focuses on what you can offer the world,” while the passion mindset “focuses on what the world can offer you.”  His book has sparked discussion about which is better.

At Pepper, we believe in both. Passion motivates our people to go above and beyond – not because they’re striving to move themselves forward but because they want to move our industry forward.

Their passion ties what they do to their beliefs and drives them to become experts and craftsman. To them, there’s always an opportunity to make a difference because there’s always a reason to care. There’s always room for improvement, and the right way is the only way.

Their expertise in estimating, quality, safety, high performance and virtual construction makes our craftsmanship even better.

Other restoration projects:

1600 N. Milwaukee Avenue (currently under construction)


Scot Pepper
Executive Vice President

As executive vice president for Pepper Construction Company, Scot Pepper maintains the company’s tradition of developing strong, long-term relationships with owners, developers, architects and other partners. He also leads Pepper’s Integrated Construction Services team (preconstruction and estimating, virtual design and construction, high performance and sustainability, quality and safety) to enable our construction management, self perform and environmental operations deliver the best value for our clients.

Scot has been with Pepper Construction since earning his bachelor’s degree in industrial technology with a concentration in building construction from the University of Wisconsin/Stout in 1988. Throughout his career, Scot has served in several key positions. He first joined the company as a project manager and served in that role until moving into the position of risk manager, where he was responsible for the safety of more than 1,000 Pepper employees. In 2001, Scot transitioned to serve as vice president of business development before being promoted to his current position in 2012.

Locally, Scot serves on the boards of the Associated Colleges of Illinois, the Chicago Architectural Foundation, the Chicago Children’s Theatre, the Metropolitan Planning Council and Lake Forest Country Day School.

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