Monday, November 8, 2010

Knox Hill Project: Weekly Update

A busy week, lots of projects and a fabulous find at the Knox Hill Cottage.

As weather has permitted we have continued with the install of new corner boards ,but most importantly I was able to get the  area where the old side porch was (last week) cleaned and primed with the tinted primer and one coat of paint, not perfect but at least the wood is protected through the winter. Ultimately this area wasn't critical as it is where the new 2 story "wing' attaches to the house that will hold the  carriage house, my design studio, breakfast room and another bathroom. That work wont start until at least spring (we still have to go through permits and approvals for the addition, so it takes time). But I look forward to that phase of the project.

We also are now shifting attention to the formal dining room. Unlike the front parlor which was in relatively good condition with all its original plaster, the dining room has issues caused by idiots/thieves who decided they wanted ductwork and pipe that was in the walls when the house was in its foreclosure process before we bought it. Couple that with the fact they already had tore out plaster when they put ductwork in,patched in drywall after that, and this room will need "major' work.

HOWEVER, it is from that room that we found another Amazing historical find! There was only one wall, the west wall, that had not been tore up by previous work done by plumbers , electricians or furnace people. Greg was checking it out, hoping maybe to find some old wallpaper when in fact what he found far exceeded any expectations. We already new that this room was stenciled once and it was a kind of 'craftsman' flower and leaves (probably around 1900) but what we didn't know is that there was an earlier 1870's original stencil, in the frieze area that was a 'companion' to the front parlor stencil! Neo Grec in design this frieze/border was stenciled above the hanging rail. Once again the historical riches and glimpses back into history in this 'worthless' cottage in a 'worthless'; neighborhood according to the City of Cincinnati, that they wrote off years ago.. When I think about the treasures that may be hiding under white paint in other homes in my neighborhood, it begs the question when will city officials realize that these simple cottages have great historical value and should be saved.

I 'think' the plan with this stencil will be to recreate it and use it in the stairway area as we already have wallpaper for this room and the room, doesn't have complete plaster walls anyway. I am planning on releasing this stencil as part of our Knox Hill Cottage stencil collection. and will try to see if I can get these into limited production soon as I know this design is a perfect compliment to the parlor stencil sets. I just sent off the copy write paperwork so I can likely be in production in a few weeks (if I can find the time as busy as things are right now). Price will be the same as the current parlor stencil (I think) and the proceeds go towards the restoration of the cottage. I plan on offering the original 7 inch size and an enlarged 14 inch design for a larger frieze and I will most likely sit down and design a matching medallion design so we will have a complete room set.

Upstairs we are doing some insulation in the front bedroom, where baseboards had been removed at some point and we are working on the window seat area in front of the front window. The plan is new Victorian baseboards. This room will have painted trim with the exception of the fireplace mantle and the window seat. Since this wall faces north I'd really like to insulate it as much as possible. We will be doing "blown in" , in the outside wall. The window seat will be 22x49 inches and I plan on lining the bottom of the 'box' with cedar so it will be a great place to store blankets and throws.. Of course I plan on replacing the crappy plastic replacement windows with an original design wood one and I think I will hang a stained glass window inside at the top and maybe shutters on the inside to cover the lower window and I have a piece of fretwork that I can put on the inside at the top of this window seat area so I think its going to be a nice cozy spot to read a book.

Overall just a busy time and I'm hoping to get the tree people out to get the trees taken out in front before cold weather sets in, IF they ever return my calls.


Karen Anne said...

You're covering up the slanted wall? I love slanted walls.

Paul Wilham said...

Its is a tradeoff. Its the front north facing wall of the mansard slate roof. In most houses this wall has been finished flat with 'side wall" attic space you can insulate. Because ours was weekend place they didnt, plus in victorian era this was just a sleeping place. I could not work out a rational wallpapering for that space or furniture placement , plus we realy need the ability to insulate. I think they just didnt finish it out because it was a weekend place. "city houses' almost always have a flat wall in this location.