|Bringing Back Holleywood||
We tracked down the gazebo that Governor Holley gave to his wife in 1859! As you can see in first two photos, from the 1860s, formal gardens were created around it. It was sold in the tag sale before we bought the house, but Peggy O'Brien connected us with the buyers who kindly allowed us to buy it back. Rob, Matt, Bill and Larry worked yesterday to piece the parts together, like a puzzle. Today, Matt cut out diamond shapes in a new plank to match the old, which was rotted. The gazebo is only halfway up but already looks magical.
How agile the Holleys and Rudds must have been to survive all those years without a handrail on treacherously narrow back stairs between third floor and second. Our people are not so nimble.
In 1860, the spiral staircase was moved from the front of the house to the back. Which created a gap that was left unprotected for generations. It's a wonder the youngest residents survived such a hazard. Rob and Ellen closed off the gap with a handsome ballustrade created from complementary railing posts they donated to the project, acquired on a long-ago trip to New Orleans. Matt, a master carpenter on the job, took pains to match quarter sawn cherry handrail to the shape of the existing banister.
The vintage Mott tub from a second floor bathroom is going back in. However, the new bathroom plan is reconfigured and to make sure it'll fit comfortably under the window, Matt cut out a sample bathtub in balsa wood to let us try it out for size. Weight difference between sample and original tubs: about 1000 lbs.
Matt cleans and fixes window sashes so that Jason can glaze panes. Windows are original, he can tell by the old paint. "All in all, these old windows are doing good. I only had to fix 2 out of 103."
Roofs are still removed the old-fashioned way: with muscles and pitchforks. Matt and Rob peel off the house's second roof added in 1915 by Charles E. Rudd who renovated the house when he inherited it from his mother. The roof's era is indicated by hand-soddered tin squares over old hemlock roofer boards and hand-hewn chestnut beams. Happily, Rob noted, all beams proved intact.
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.