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.
Almost completely intact Wall Street Journal of September 20, 1957 was found in the chimney rampart in the attic. Most alarming article:
"A small atomic bomb was fired in a chamber 800 ft under a desert mesa in Nevada as scientists measured its violence to help unlock the earth's secrets. The shock was recorded about 1000 miles away; experts had hoped it would be felt around the world."
Tile in all five upstairs bathrooms will be white subway tile installed by Billy who is noted for his craft in the medium.
We're transforming a closet into a bathroom, in the second floor bedroom across from the tower room. (The former owners used it as their master.) To give the boxy bathroom more charm, we're adding wainscotting.
Our walls seem to be like Russian dolls; take off one layer and there's more underneath. When we bought the house, the entry hall was wallpapered. Removing the paper revealed gorgeous, complex green paint which Ellen found a painter to match. We meant to reapply the same color, when the walls were replastered. But when the paint was removed for the plaster, we were stunned to discover a fresco design, as well as the ghost of an original doorway. We assume the faux-marble fresco was done in 1853 to match the marble fireplace in the parlor, and painted over in 1860 when the house was renovated by Governor Holley's new wife Sarah Coit Day who moved into the house after they married in 1856. The fresco is only on the west wall, however. And, as the painter points out, the painter who did it wasn't very good, it is not the artful job that exists (forever hidden, alas) on a closet ceiling. We are meeting tomorrow to decide how to proceed, stay tuned!
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.
On the third floor, in a room where a cistern used to be, there's a wall that used to be an exterior. A cross section of the wall tells us what the original house was like: 2 layers of stucco, chestnut post and beam "that was deadly accurate, totally plumb," Rob says. "The masons who built this house were dead on." The color of the stucco is darker than the stucco on the house's exterior now, no doubt because it's taken a century less weatherbeating.
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.