Secret Room Surprises!

April 7, 2016 Published by Julie Arrison-Bishop

The things you debate on when putting a historic room back together! It’s a good thing we have a room full of professionals on the case with dozens of decades of combined talents and experience to help us answer the big questions like “plaster: should it be smooth or rough?” In case you are wondering, we decided upon smooth, noting that workers took pride in their work in all centuries and families like the Turners and Ingersolls would have hired the best to complete work in their house.

Another debate for us has been the placement of a viewport in the dining room so that we can do specialty architecture tours and show off not only the fantastic seventeenth century materials that lurk below the newly smoothed plaster, but also to show off the work of Structures North and American Steeple and Tower when we talk about the restoration of the “secret room.” After the plaster is up and the dining room is complete, be sure you come and take a look…see if YOU can see the port!

The team also discussed the removal of a door in the secret room/dining room chamber. Looking at the wood and finishes on the door, it’s likely a twentieth century addition, perhaps by Joseph Everett Chandler—perhaps a bit later. We’re going to do a bit more investigative work to determine if the door should stay or go.

The big news of the week is in the Accounting Room. The dividing wall was removed and we assumed it would be an easy patch and paint job. When the wall came down we found split lathe. And cut nails. And seventeenth century finishes that match the dining room. And layers upon layers of intriguing wallpaper. An odd horizontal wall boards. An paneling behind the fireplace from an unknown era. We’re calling in the big guns of Bill Finch and Richard Nylander to help us untangle some of the wonderful mysteries we have found and hopefully to lead us down a path of restoration. John Watne’s wise words of “the only surprise is when there are no surprises” has certainly rung true this week.

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This post was written by Julie Arrison-Bishop