Monday, August 30, 2010

Knox Hill Project: Weekly Update, Elegance returns.

"Elegance and sense of Civility has returned to the formal parlor of the Knox Hill Cottage with the return of a proper mantle and overmantle mirror."

You can now almost feel like you are back in the Victorian era and you can imagine what it must have been like when Antone Nageli had potential clients or architects over to the Knox Hill Cottage to discuss stone work being done for them.

The "faux slate hearth base" was easy enough. We cleaned and prepped the floor and the board was attached with High Grade construction adhesive. A couple of screws were placed at the back (hidden by the mantle which sits on top of this). Installation of one of these cast iron behemoths mantles, (they weigh several hundred pounds) is no small task. Originally they were installed by motaring thick wires into the brick and then bending that heavy wire through loops on the back of the mantle. I opted for a better approach of drilling some concrete wall anchors into the brick and using a turnbuckle system with a hook that looped into the original install loops, This works better and allows for a little finer adjustments.

The mirror also required a great deal of attention for several reasons. One this overmantle mirror is very heavy and two you want it top be properly and permanently secured.
As we expected that some day (100 years from now) some additional restore might be needed.
We placed another "time capsule" behind the mirror, a two page history of the house and a link to website with photos. The hope being that even a hundred years from now the restoration of this house will still be 'achived' and searchable on the internet , or whatever we have then.
The overmantle mirror install was first done by placing the empty frame up on the wall and carefully marking the location , making sure the mantle is centered and lines up properly. Two "L' brackets were placed at the top of the mirror. These brackets were installed in the wall with concrete wall anchors and screws. These line up with the top of the mantle and then the overmantle was secured with two screws on each side that screws down from the top if the mantle.

The frame was then removed, the mirror was placed in the frame and then (with some help, its heavy!) placed back on top of the mantle. From the underside of the mantle itself screws were put from the lower mantle into the base of the overmantle., and the top screws were put in totally securing it to the wall.

We also contacted the leads for the security system contact switches as well as the wireless contact emitters into our primary and backup security system. These are the same used by art galleries to secure high end art.
The final install is just amazing. I cant get over the sense of height and grandure the room has now. The overmantle that I custom built looks like it belongs there. I cant wait to get the floor done and all the other little details like the crown mold installed and experience the room completed. The parlor restoration has taken a long time to get to this point but overall I think the time is well worth it.