Thursday, July 1, 2010

We're Open!

Finally. With about 95% of the work completed, we "opened" to the public last week. On Thursday evening we had a reception for Locust Grove members and friends, and on Friday we hosted our symposium on the restoration, "Arabesque and Verdigris", with presentations by Samuel Thomas, Gwynne Potts, Rabbit Goody (textiles), Steve Larson (wallpaper), Carol Ely, and with wrapup by Scott Erbes, Speed Museum curator. The Powerpoints all worked! Except for the remote control mouse. It's always something. Usually something technical.

But we do have it all on tape. Videographer Brent Humes is editing the footage of the symposium, and we will copy it to DVD and have it available in our library in case you missed it, or just want to relive the experience.

To introduce the renewed House to the public, we had an open house/free day on Saturday the 26th, and about 750 people showed up. That was fun, and very gratifying to know that that "general public" really does care about history. We had the band "Whistling Rufus" on the porch, and a good time was had by all.

We capped off the weekend with our Antiques Fair on Sunday, which will go down in legend as "the hot one". It was really, really, hot. Upper 90s, humid. People came anyway!

And now we are tired but happy. We have a few more components of the House coming in the next few months, so there will still be surprises.

And now this blog will become the general Locust Grove blog, with all happenings and commentary about the site (including restoration updates) that we can find the time for, so we hope that our readers stay with us.

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's so pretty!

The wallpaper we've been going on and on about - it's finally here! Wallpaper hanging genius Marva Hereford will be working all week to put up the main paper and the border, or frieze. It's not easy - this complex pattern has to fit around 2 doors, 5 windows, and a fireplace. The light, bright green color is miles away from the muddy colors of the more than forty year old paper that it replaces. Here's a sneak peek - the work is behind closed doors right now to let the paperhangers concentrate. But next week it will all be unveiled to an eager world!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Almost There

It's coming down to the wire now for the restoration of the House - which officially "opens" with a party on the 24th, and then to the public on the 25th and 26th. Days away! Yesterday we had both photographers and videographers filming, working around the missing pieces that are still being installed. At the same time, we were installing the punkah (yes! but needs one small adjustment before it's ready for prime time), laying carpet on the 3rd floor, hanging pictures, and arranging the recently re-upholstered furniture.

Still to come: the Great Parlor wallpaper installation begins next week, and the following weekend our first floor hallway floorcloth will be laid - a dramatic black and ivory diamond pattern. New lighting will be installed to illuminate the portraits, a sword, and the open closets. Aside from some small details, what is in the House then is what visitors will see at the opening. We've also, behind the scenes, reinforced the main stair supports from the basement to the second floor.

In the coming months, we will install the carpeting on the stairs and second floor landing, reupholster some of the existing furniture, hang curtains, acquire a few more pieces of furniture and some small practical objects. In the Fall we will change the bed and window coverings and some rugs to their winter appearance (the bedcoverings in the Rose bedroom will be stunning!). The final piece of the refurnishing is likely to be the large Oushak carpet that is being made in Turkey for the Great Parlor.

Please join us for the symposium on the 25th - - or the Opening Weekend, June 26-27th (free on Saturday; with the Antiques Fair on Sunday).

Friday, May 21, 2010

Long time, no blog

We've been so busy rushing to get the House ready for its grand reopening that there's been no time to blog about it! The rugs are still coming in; our dramatic black-and-white diamond floorcloth for the main hall is on its way. Upholstery is being upholstered. Wallpaper is being printed. We got a sample of the "frieze" border design for the Great Parlor, very pretty, but not so well-coordinated with the main Arabesque paper. Then we learned that our color expert, Matt Mosca, had been consulted, and much to our relief, the colors were not quite right and have now been altered according to the original, once again affirming the good taste of the Croghans!

We are looking forward to punkah installation on Monday - more next week. It will be late next week, because I am going to the AAM conference in Los Angeles!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wallpaper at Last!

Last week we received the proofs for the custom wallpaper for the Great Parlor, and it is beautiful! Light and bright and full of crisp detail and whimsy. These pictures really don't do it justice, because part of what makes this paper so wonderful, like the other Adelphi Papers, is the velvety texture. Visitors keep trying to stroke the wallpaper (we sympathize, but don't condone this!).

The paper returns to the color scheme of the original, with light pinks and reds where we used to display oranges and browns. The pink also explains the color of the adjoining bedroom, which is the identical shade. The red will work with the curtains that we plan for the room. Red curtains in a green room may not be our own 21st century first choice, but it was popular in the early 19th century, and this wallpaper will pull it all together. These photos look like they are trending towards blue - but the background is really quite green.

Now that we've approved the proofs, the final paper can be printed. It will take at least several weeks to arrive, and will be installed in time for the grand re-opening at the end of June.

This wallpaper requires 40 hand-carved wood blocks to print the full design. It's a long process, and we need enough to cover this large room. It's the most complex design that Adelphi has ever undertaken to reproduce.

And we know that it's RIGHT - unlike other papers and furnishing that require educated guesswork from us - this is what the Croghans had, exactly, as it has not appeared since they put up their wallpaper in about 1806.

This project is moving fast now. Carpets have been installed in two second floor bedrooms. The rose (pink) room, which will be the best guestroom, has a figured venetian carpet in shades of green and pink (see the picture of it still rolled up). The Croghan bedroom, with its verdigris paint, has a plain venetian (striped) carpet, and new bed covers (not quite done yet).

A few new bits of furniture and decorative pieces have appeared. We now, finally, have a bed for George Rogers Clark's room. It's disassembled, but will be roped up and in place shortly.

More is arriving every day. Our docents can hardly keep up with it all. But they are doing a great job despite the chaos!

More and better photos soon.

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's coming together...

It's exciting to see the two rooms that now have their carpets - the downstairs parlor, and the second floor "yellow room." We still have some re-upholstering to do, but otherwise, both rooms are nearly finished.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Carpets are here!

Today we're installing (and by "we", we mean professionals who know what they're doing) carpets in the House. In the parlor, we've got Brussels carpet in blue-gray, brown, and ochre shades. The colors are close to the wallpaper colors - closer than may appear in this photo - but the pattern on pattern effect is pretty spectacular! Moving the furniture back in will tone it down. Window curtains go up tomorrow. When the furniture is re-upholstered as scheduled the room will be nearly complete.

This has been an education for us all in the styles of the early 19th century. We're post-Colonial, but pre-Victorian, a time sometimes called the Early Republic, or in design circles, the Federal period. The austerity that we associate with early America is mythical, and this house will clearly show the love of color and pattern of the time, and the ability of the Croghan family to purchase in an international marketplace, even in Kentucky, even in 1809.

The second floor bedroom that we call the Yellow Room was probably used as a family guest room. That's not a contradiction, since members of the extensive Clark family came and stayed for months at a time. This room has a striped Venetian carpet. More carpets to come, and the other textiles for curtains and upholstery are set to arrive shortly.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Grand "Opening" Now Set for June

We've planned our grand "opening" (that's in quotes, because we've never closed) for the end of June. We thought we'd be able to open in late March, but, you guessed it... the wallpaper. It won't be ready. So rather than open prematurely, we're going to do it right with festivities just before our summer Antiques Market. Watch for a public open day FREE on June 26th, with other events just for members, and a public symposium (with a fee) on June 25th. If you'd like to get on the mailing list for information, just email us with your contact information.

Rugs are coming very soon, from as far away as England and Turkey, and we're seeking appropriate furniture to fill in the gaps, especially a bed for George Rogers Clark, whose new "apartment" is quite bare. In the second floor Croghan (green) bedroom, a new bed cover features the indigo shades that we know that Lucy Croghan favored.

The Dining Room now has a frame for the punkah, which is being constructed for us by Amish craftsmen. The former Weaving Room is now the Girl's Room, and the former Nursery is about to be inhabited by the spirit of Dr. John Croghan.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Even More about the Wallpaper

Yes, we're still going on about the wallpaper.

The great wallpaper mystery developed a plot twist when we got color samples back from Adelphi Paper - and we were dubious. The colors didn't much resemble the photos of the original wallpaper found in the House in the 1960s; they were much brighter and lighter. They didn't look much like the French originals. But, as we've learned, colors change over time in unpredictable ways. We called for help.

First Samuel Thomas, local historian and the first caretaker of Locust Grove, one of few men now living who SAW the wallpaper when it was still on the walls, came and brought better photos. We were so dubious that we sent the photos off to Adelphi. They recommended some serious color analysis.

Well, we know where to go for that - the samples and original fragments were shipped off to Matthew Mosca, who had analyzed our paint for us. Mosca worked quickly, and concluded that Adelphi had done it right. The background color was just a tiny bit lighter and brighter than they had projected, but such a tiny bit that you would never notice unless you knew.

So, reassured, we have left the project in Adelphi's capable hands, and we are eager to see the results on the walls. Light and bright.