Tag Archives: Restoration

Peeling Back the Layers of Time — WALLPAPER

IMG_1646

Binders full of hun­dreds of plas­tic-sleeved wall­pa­per frag­ments revealed dur­ing the restora­tion can be found in our stor­age area.

This week’s top­ic in our “Peel­ing Back the Lay­ers” series looks at some of the incred­i­ble wall­pa­per that has graced the walls of Camp­bell House since its con­struc­tion in 1851.

When the muse­um began its exten­sive restora­tion project in 2000, great care was tak­en to pre­serve any­thing and every­thing that was found in walls, under floor­boards, and under lay­ers of paint and wall­pa­per.  Everything—from large orig­i­nal doors and win­dows to the small­est scrap of fad­ed wall­pa­per was saved and is pre­served for future study here at Camp­bell House.  Our cli­mate-con­trolled archives room is chock-full of binders and box­es con­tain­ing all of these frag­ments.

Over time, wall­pa­per itself has fad­ed in and out of style and, along with this, lots of dif­fer­ent designs saw peaks in pop­u­lar­i­ty.  The first thing a lot of us think of when think of wall­pa­per might be some­thing like you see to the right.

Random internet picture of terrible wallpaper.

Ran­dom inter­net pic­ture of ter­ri­ble wall­pa­per.

Yikes, right?  Have no fear—our wall­pa­per is way more inter­est­ing than Grand­ma’s din­ing room.

Like the linoleum we talked about a cou­ple of weeks ago, we found quite a few lay­ers of wall­pa­per­ing when we began the restora­tion.

After uncov­er­ing all of these nifty scraps, we began the process of recre­at­ing wall­pa­pers and inte­ri­ors that matched the orig­i­nals, which was an enor­mous project, read more about that and see some neat pic­tures of us at work dur­ing the restora­tion after the break—

Here’s a taste of what we have in our wallpaper collection:

IMG_1582

Cir­ca 1870 wall­pa­per from CHM’s 3rd floor sit­ting room, still attached to plas­ter.

IMG_1586

Wall­pa­per bor­der rem­nant from the sec­ond floor of the Car­riage House.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1590

Wall­pa­per sam­ples found in the sec­ond floor ser­vants hall with a “felt board” back­ing, dat­ing from the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 IMG_1611

Cir­ca 1860 wall­pa­per bor­der frag­ment found in the third floor stair­well. The bor­der accent­ed an unusu­al­ly large pat­terned Ash­lar paper—designed to look like fin­ished brick or stone. See the cur­rent iter­a­tion of Ash­lar paper found today at Camp­bell House below. 

 

photo (6)

Ash­lar block wall­pa­per on the walls at Camp­bell House today- installed in the ear­ly 2000s dur­ing our restora­tion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1655

Block flo­ral motif pat­tern found under the crown mold­ing in the ser­vants hall and out­side the sec­ond floor bath­room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1622

Bor­der paper frag­ment found in Mrs. Kyle’s room behind man­tle facade dat­ing from the 1860s- this like­ly pre­dat­ed the many exten­sive struc­tur­al addi­tions and improve­ments that the Camp­bells made to their home over time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1667

Wall­pa­per frag­ment found on the west wall of CHM’s library. This was found behind a divid­ing wall, mean­ing it dates from before the 1880s and was installed by Robert and Vir­ginia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wallpaper Restoration

After uncov­er­ing all of those neat his­tor­i­cal pieces of wall­pa­per, we began the process of re-paper­ing with spe­cial­ly designed spot-on recre­ations of what orig­i­nal­ly hung on the Camp­bells’ walls.  This was quite the process—wallpapering in the 1880s was noth­ing like what it is today.

Wall­pa­per had to be recre­at­ed through col­or analy­sis and pho­tos of the var­i­ous rooms that were tak­en in the 1880s, when it arrived it came in rolls like this:

 IMG_1693

The wall­pa­per came rolled in 30 inch-wide strips.  How­ev­er, the design was only on 19 inch­es of the strip, which meant our installers had to hand cut the edges of the wall­pa­per and pay extra spe­cial atten­tion to make sure edges matched up once the paper was past­ed to the walls.

IMG_1689

 

All of the wall­pa­pers used in our restora­tion were cus­tom-designed to match orig­i­nal wall­pa­pers found in the house dur­ing the 19th cen­tu­ry by spe­cial­ty design firms.

 

IMG_1698

 

The end prod­uct: the entire wall of the Camp­bel­l’s mas­ter bed­room is cov­ered with indi­vid­ual strips that had to be hand-cut and then past­ed into place.

 

 

So that sounds like quite the project, right?  Well things got even cra­zier with the com­plex wall­pa­per and bor­der design found in Mrs. Kyle’s bed­room.  Like the green lily wall­pa­per seen above, the Japan­ese-inspired wall­pa­per for this project came in small strips that had to be hand-trimmed.

152_5244

What made this room extra tricky, though, was the bor­der that had to be sliced off the top of the roll, past­ed, and reassem­bled by hand into a com­plex design on the ceil­ing and around the tops of the walls.

152_5246

Red and gold trim along the top of the wall­pa­per had to be cut off.

153_5359

Our crafts­man del­i­cate­ly past­ing the cut-off sliv­ers of wall­pa­per into a box-design on the ceil­ing.

 

 

 

 

 

158_5888

The final prod­uct.

Check out the pictures below for some more examples of wallpapering that was done during our restoration:

LucyKyle

Mrs. Kyle’s sec­ond floor bed­room

Dining-Room

Din­ing room

Servant-1

Head house­keep­er’s sec­ond floor bed­room

Library

Third floor library

Peeling Back the Layers of Time — LINOLEUM

Storage3Today we start a sev­er­al-week series of posts on the incred­i­ble sto­ry told by the lay­ers of paint, wall­pa­per, car­pet­ing and wood­work found through­out Camp­bell House.  Though you won’t see it on a reg­u­lar vis­it to the Muse­um, our cli­mate-con­trolled stor­age room holds thou­sands of scraps of wall/floor cov­er­ings and sam­ples of the beau­ti­ful paint and orig­i­nal wood­work that once adorned the Camp­bells’ halls.

Today we’re tak­ing a peek at every­one’s favorite sub­ject… linoleum!  Though linoleum might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of stel­lar inte­ri­or dec­o­ra­tion and art­work, the Camp­bells actu­al­ly had real­ly excel­lent tastes in their linoleum choic­es, and they’re works of art in their own way.

When we went to do the muse­um restora­tion about 12 years ago, we were lucky to have these pieces.  Peo­ple who were a whole lot smarter than us were con­tract­ed to do com­plex col­or analy­ses, and recre­ate wall/floor cov­er­ings that were iden­ti­cal to the ones Vir­ginia Camp­bell would have picked out for her home well over a cen­tu­ry ago.  The pic­ture below shows this — who would’ve thought that the orig­i­nal linoleum was so bright and vibrant!

Fbook-linoleum

Scroll through the pic­tures below to check out some more of our love­ly linoleum.

lino9

Linoleum sam­ples are mount­ed on boards, labeled, and sealed with plas­tic to hold the brit­tle rem­nants togeth­er.

LinolShannan

Intern Shan­nan peels back the plas­tic cov­er­ing to take a clos­er look at some orig­i­nal CHM linoleum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lino7

Newest lay­er of linoleum found dur­ing the restora­tion, dat­ing from the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry. This was prob­a­bly one of the last lay­ers put in by the Camp­bell fam­i­ly and was actu­al­ly found UNDER floor­boards put in by the Muse­um in the 1940s.

Storage2

Detail — ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry linoleum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linol6

Old­est lay­er of linoleum found dur­ing the restora­tion, dat­ing from the mid-19th cen­tu­ry. It has a dif­fer­ent, more grainy tex­ture than oth­er linoleum found in the house dur­ing the same peri­od.

 

Linol3

Detail — back of mid-1800s linoleum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linol5

Detail — mid-1800s linoleum

Linol4

19th cen­tu­ry linoleum found under­neath floor­boards in the kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen-2

The Camp­bell kitchen in the present day. Though not as flashy as the designs seen above, the plain steel gray linoleum is also appro­pri­ate to the peri­od.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections of the Past

Mirror2013

Camp­bell House­’s Scot­tron mir­ror, August 2013

Part of what makes a vis­it to the Camp­bell House Muse­um such an expe­ri­ence is the enor­mous num­ber of orig­i­nal pieces of fur­ni­ture and knick-knack­ery that fill the halls of the 160-year-old home.  From tables and chairs to armoires and a piano, the house has quite the col­lec­tion of Vic­to­ri­ana.  But occa­sion­al­ly, much like the house itself, these items need a lit­tle elbow grease and T.L.C. to keep them in tip-top shape.  A per­fect exam­ple of this is the adjustable dou­ble mir­ror that can be found in a cor­ner of the Camp­bell House library (see the bot­tom of the page for some up close and per­son­al snap­shots of some of the mir­ror’s detail).

The mir­ror’s design was patent­ed in 1868 by Samuel Scot­tron. Scot­tron was a promi­nent African Amer­i­can inven­tor from Brook­lyn, New York who began his career as a bar­ber and would even­tu­al­ly be grant­ed four U.S. patents.  This par­tic­u­lar piece is unique because Scot­tron designed it so that users could “see them­selves as oth­ers see them.”  In oth­er words, the mir­ror could be adjust­ed so your reflec­tion was reflect­ed, revers­ing the mir­rored image. (Try and say that three times fast.)

mirrorpatent

Scot­tron’s dou­ble mir­ror patent, ca. 1868

Scottron

Samuel Scot­tron

In the mod­el the Camp­bel­l’s owned, a pair of fan­cy cast iron arms and a high stand sup­port a pair of wal­nut oval-shaped mir­ror frames that swiv­el in all direc­tions.  (As a side note, if you can believe it, the mir­ror was pur­chased for the muse­um at the 1941 Camp­bell estate auc­tion for $5.50!)

How­ev­er, a few years ago, as the muse­um’s restora­tion drew to a close, the mir­ror was in pret­ty rough shape.  In the 1960s, one of the wood frames and mir­rors had gone miss­ing, mak­ing the impres­sive dou­ble mir­ror pret­ty well use­less in terms of its orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed method of use.

mirror1885

The Camp­bells’ Scot­tron dou­ble mir­ror in the library, ca. 1885

Luck­i­ly, muse­um mem­ber and mas­ter car­pen­ter Don Dill worked long and hard to com­plete restora­tion work on the mir­ror, replac­ing the miss­ing piece and restor­ing it to its orig­i­nal con­di­tion. The mir­ror is still in the same room in which it has sat since the last half of the 19th cen­tu­ry.  (see some detail pho­tos of the mir­ror at the bot­tom of this post)

Don’s work goes hand in hand with the Muse­um’s efforts to con­serve and restore its col­lec­tion of orig­i­nal objects and arti­facts, seen most recent­ly in the hang­ing of lav­ish new draperies in the par­lor sev­er­al weeks ago.

Parlor

CHM par­lor & new­ly installed draperies, May 2013.

Click here to read more about the par­lor draperies project,recently fea­tured in Ladue News’ Ele­gant Liv­ing pub­li­ca­tion.

ScottronDetail

Scot­tron’s” detail on back of mir­ror

MirrorDetail

Detail — left side of mir­ror

PatentDetail

Pat’d March 31 1868” detail on back of mir­ror