Once roof tiles and gutters are chosen, we decide on shade of chimney bricks.
Roofs need replacing, which we knew would be one of the major expenses. But who knew there were so many types of roofs to choose from? Only thing we're sure of is we do NOT want to go through this process again. Upon advice of architect and contractor, we decide on tin tiles in terra cotta color with a necklace of copper gutter pipes that will age beautifully to veridian. It's a "lifetime" roof, which means 90 years. I try to imagine the place in 2101. As impossible as it would have been for Gov. Holley to picture his cherished manse in 2011.
The house has been taken down to its bones, which means down to the lath in some cases. Lath and plaster walls were commonly used before the drywall method became popular after WWII. Thin pieces of cedar (called lath) were nailed onto 2x4 framing, then wet plaster was applied onto the lath in one to three applications.
Wall of center bath in upstairs hallway. It looks as if cedar strips are held together with icing.
It's been weeks since Donald and I have been on site, and are pleased to see how much progress has been made as we tour during a "summit meeting" of contractor, builder, architect and decorator.
In the photo, Donald takes an imaginary shower, trying on for size the stall planned for the center bathroom. Beside him, the architect and decorator review lighting plan.
For 150 years, the only downstairs access to the kitchen was via a long, narrow passage from the entry hall. This worked fine when the only ones who had to use it were narrow maids.
After removing wallpaper in the dining room, painters prepare ceiling for primer.
Due to myriad lead paint safety rules, we must work with with specialists trained and licensed in lead removal. They wear specially fitted respirators and observe elaborate rules for containment and cleanup.
The contractor shows us exotic crops growing in our back yard. Ramp greens and morrel mushrooms--two of the pricier items at farmers markets. "And you can just go outside and pick them for free!" But Donald observes that, actually, they're the most expensive groceries we've ever bought.
I've never seen one before. It's a tissue overlay on the architect's drawing that lays out where light switches and fixtures go. At first glance, I mistook the symbols for dollar signs--which seemed to be appropriate labels.
Remember what I said about us keeping in place all the simple brass fixtures that are already there? (on the left) Forget that. Chris took another reconnaissance trip to PW Vintage Lighting and came back with wondrous finds. Like this sconce and its mate for the dining room, with glass shade that echoes Greek key design in revival door moldings.
We'll use the original sconces in bedrooms upstairs.
For the breakfast room, we're looking at quirky milk glass lanterns with "bonnets" on chains that servants used to pull up and down to refill when the fixture was gas. "It's similar to what might have been here originally, before they electrified it," Chris said.
Which made me wish aloud that the family had saved the fixtures that came out in 1915. "I wonder whatever happened to those," I said.
Chris's eyes twinkled. "You're probably buying them back."
who we are
We are a couple of Upper West Siders from NYC who never set out to buy an old mansion in Connecticut. But the moment we walked through its massive front door, we were smitten. The info on this site is earnestly cobbled from a variety of sources, including the web. Please let us know if we've gotten something wrong, or if there's a story about Holleywood you'd like to share.