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.
The Zordan brothers, third-generation plasterers, are moving into the kitchen next week and the area is aflurry with preparations. The original bell butler is dismantled and covered with plastic to protect it during the process. So house guests will be able to ring me for service.
Debate continues about what to do with the front hall fresco. The plasterers repaired the wall where they had to, but left as much of it untouched as they could, without us having to worry about the wall falling down. Some of us want to keep it (I'm in that camp), some of us don't (Donald.) Restoring it would be quite an investment of both time and money. One option is simply to leave the wall as is. We decide to put off a decision until the floors are done. Procrastination is one of my favorite solutions to problems!
No, we're not decorating with a polka-dot theme. It's prep for new plaster. First, the walls and ceilings must be "buttoned" with pins to secure old plaster that's broken away from the lathing. The plasterers return this week to start on the first floor.
Rooms on the first floor are scraped and prepped and plasticized and papered to ready them for plastering starting tomorrow.
When John Rudd and his wife Jinny moved to Holleywood full-time in 1972, they redecorated. John did much of the painting and wallpapering himself. This vestige of Parisien-inspired wallpaper in the butler's pantry will remain until the plasterers come.
Mike Zordan and his brother are plasterers who learned the trade from their father and grandfather. They've plastered many fine homes in the area, and as far away as Boston. They're giving Holleywood a facelift from top to bottom.
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.