Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Knox Hill: Interior Work and the "happy flower"

Because of the rain Sunday we refocused our activities inside the house. In our front formal Parlor I began the process of of closing in the inside of the square bay bumpout.
I probably overkilled the insulation but given how heating costs are only going up I decided to do as much as possible. That included Foam insulation in every joint and Roll insulation in the wall cavities and of course the small attic space of mansard roof.
Drywall was the easiest part of the job. I still have to custom cut some wood to backfill the areas between the new drywall and the old plaster. So I can feather the transition between the new drywall and original plaster.

I haven't yet decided the wall treatment in the bumpout. Originally I planned on architectural paneling in this space but now I am considering perhaps just trimming the "beam" out with an elaborate corbels on either side and wrapping the wallpapers into the area as it will make it look visually larger.
Although this is a small space it will have a Turkish Corner feel to it with elaborate drapery and a exotic Renaissance Revival chair and aesthetic movement ebonized and gold leafed stand with a bronze statue on it and a aesthetic movement floor lamp with Victorian silk shade. Above will hang a small Victorian gasolier style light. I am already making the draperies even though we are some time away from actually being able to live here. Another plus is that it appears I will be able to carefully remove the latex paint from the Picture Hanging rail which is gold leafed. This is a good thing, Of course the bad thing is I have to carefully take the railing down as we need to lower it 7 inches so it borders the wallpaper frieze we plan for this room. One step forward , two back!

We also plan on putting down a new floor. This was a somewhat painful decision for me as we have some really nice flooring under the paint BUT over the years and several heating plant additions later we have patches from cold air returns, ducts placed in wrong locations and such and it just make more sense to put down a new floor. Our plan is to use a Traditional oak square edge floor with a patterned inlaid banding around the edge. We also have to cut out a section of flooring to install the marble in the fireplace area and we will be able to have a level transition between this floor and the new English Encaustic tile that will make up the formal side entrance gallery that will run between the Formal Parlor and the Formal dining room which will now be at the back of the house.
We also worked on general clean up and on the old day parlor which will now be the new kitchen. For those of you unfamiliar with the term Day Parlor, the Day Parlor is the Victorian equivalent of today's Family room. It was the room that the Victorians actually "lived in".The front Formal Parlor was used exclusively to receive guests and entertain. As we plan on using the second story of our carriage house addition as our everyday room, or the "Music Room" as we call it (the room will be 22x26 feet) and will be reached off the new second empire tower entrance with its grand staircase. Our existing stairs will be the "back stairs" if you will for access to the second floor front master suite. The current day parlor will be divided into two areas, the gallery hall and the new gourmet kitchen area.

Anyway while removing Old paint Greg discovered this stencilled wall treatment remnant. This hand painted Frieze appeared to go extend 12-14 inches below the hanging rail which was stained in this room. It looks like a flower with a "face" in it , sort of a stylized aesthetic movement look. The background wall color was an ochre and the petals were a dark burgundy and the leaves are green. We tool several photos and I traced the design onto paper as we always try to document any Victorian era design work we find.
I personally could see this with some color changes as being a great stencil for a child's bedroom and I may add this to our line of period stencils we offer.
Well the one good thing is we got everything cleaned up and we now have an area to stage things in when we come down. I hate transporting everything back and forth but until we can move in it's a necessity.
So work continues on the unglamorous stuff, I'm itching to get to the wallpaper stage!

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