Hello world! I made it through graduate school, landed a great job and moved to DC! It’s time to get blogging again. The degree I just completed is a Master of Science in Historic Preservation. Basically, I work to document, save, and reuse historic buildings and sites. This means visitors to Let us be sweethearts will get to see cool pictures of old places. Some will be restored to their glory days and others will be in need of some love. The best part is…I get to share cool pictures with you!
First up, the Nathaniel Russell House in Charleston, SC. This house is owned by the Historic Charleston Foundation and you can pay for a docent-led tour. Check out HCF’s website for more information about the house and some lovely overall views of the rooms. It has been mostly restored, although that is an ongoing process. These are some of my favorite details in the house. Enjoy!
This is a reproduction floor cloth. It’s canvas that is stretched out over the wood floor and painted. Often these were done in trompe l’oeil style to mimic tiles, marble, or other intricate designs. The floor cloth protected the floors from wear and tear and were less expensive than carpeting.
This beautifully grained door is actually another reproduced trompe l’oiel design. I actually learned how to do this as a undergrad Set Design student. By utilizing layers of glaze and various brushes, an artist could make an inexpensive wood door look like a much more expensive wood.
I have a bit of an obsession with inkwells. This one is silver and cut glass. The Russell House has a full compliment of furniture and accessories appropriate to the time period. Some are pieces which belonged to the original family, others are examples of items that are known to have been owned by the family.
Plaster crown molding.
The intricate plaster molding throughout the house has been restored and paint analysis discovered the original color scheme. For many decades, historic house museums painted walls in muted colors and trim in white, reflecting modern tastes. As the preservation movement has become more scientific, details like this color scheme, unlike anything one would normally imagine, show us what was in style when the house was built.
This is an exposure done on the back of a door. Layer after layer of paint was gently sanded away to show what the original faux graining looked like. A modern craftsperson then reproduced the original design, leaving this little sample so we can compare it to the original. I think they’ve done a stupendous job.