|Bringing Back Holleywood
How excited we were to discover, beneath layers of wallpaper and paint in the entry hall, a fresco believed to be original to the house in 1853. The fresco was not in great shape. Nor was it beautifully executed, like the artful job that Bill Sigsworth discovered hidden away in a closet. Still, it was a fresco from 1853! Should we restore it? Keep it as is? Paint over it? We kept going back and forth on these questions--everyone on the job had strong feelings one way or the other. When the floors were redone, beautiful parquetry appeared, but the double whammy of loud floors and loud wall seemed a bit much. We decided, with reluctance, to let the wall go, preserving a piece of it for posterity. We reasoned: the fresco had been painted over in 1860 by Governor Holley and his new wife Sarah Coit Day. If that decision was good enough for Governor Holley, who were we to disagree? We painted it over with the same green they used, remnants of which Lance was able to match.
Lance Middlebrook is a decorative artist who spent days at the house, formulating colors to match what we found beneath years of wallpaper. His shade for the hallway we dubbed "Holleywood Green". It's a glaze that must be carefully layered and results in a breathtaking depth to the walls, showing traces of texture.
Holleywood welcomed a surprise visit from Wade Warner who remembered the house from when he was a child. Wade's grandmother Beatrice Sexton was live-in companion to Emma Rudd (John's mother) until she died. Wade recalls his grandmother playing Scrabble with Helen and Lester Patchin who lived in the gatehouse. (Grandparents of Troy who lives there now.) The Patchins would come over after dinner and the four of them would play at the kitchen table in front of the coal stove. Wade was surprised to see that the stove was still there. He now lives in Washington DC and works for Homeland Security.
We loved the palette at Holleywood: warm greens, grays, champagnes. While Chris Brennan excavated the collections of Farrow and Ball, Ben Moore, Donald Kaufman and California Paints for complementary room colors, Lance went to work recreating original shades we wanted to match.
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.