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Restoration of the Drawing Room


Room Usage
Letters between Western and Mastic Long Island would seem to suggest that this room was used as the General’s bedchamber and that Johanna, his wife, occupied the room across the hall. There are architectural similarities between the Mastic house and the Western house, most notably a double door hinged in the middle to both open as a single door or a double door folding back against itself. The doors at the Mastic house did not survive.


Research
After taking measurements and photos of the room, paint samples were harvested from various strategic locations. The samples were sent to Matt Mosca for analysis. The original color combination was white plaster with white trim. Not particularly exciting, but then the General was a conservative fellow.


Plaster
Loose areas of plaster were secured using plaster buttons. Where plaster was not salvageable, the plaster was removed. Wire mesh was screwed into the wooden lath to give the new plaster more retention. Sometimes the ends of the wooden lath were butted along a straight line making the original vulnerable to a stress fracture. Applying the mesh over the butted ends helps prevent future fracture. Two coats of Structo-lite plaster was applied to the repaired areas and they were feathered into the original plaster.
The ceiling had a skim coat of more modern plaster to give the ceiling texture and, no doubt, to cover fracture lines. The skim coat was removed by a single sided razor blade. Very time consuming and labor intensive, but a necessary step to get down to the original plaster without damaging it.


Paint
After documenting the original colors, we took the liberty to use a different historic color – Spanish Brown. The room had had a darker red wallpaper on the walls for the last forty years. The look was very cozy, so we attempted to use a darker trim color to maintain that coziness. Personally, I don’t think we succeeded and we are presenting waiting for Adelphi paper makers to discover a suitable paper. The paint was made from scratch using linseed oil, chalk, turpentine, driers and pigments. The combination provides a wonderfully user friendly paint, as far as application is concerned. The final product does not level and brush strokes are visible, as they were in older formulas of paint. The reflection of candlelight off these painted surfaces is beautiful. We did encounter the common occurrence of uneven drying, giving the surface different reflective capabilities. This is corrected by applying a coat or two of varnish, but only after the paint has thoroughly cured. We waited about six weeks before applying the varnish.


Floor
The floor was lightly sanded and cleaned. We wiped the surface with a stain to color the damaged pits and dings. We tried a low luster Gym Seal product on this room. Other than a very uneven drying effect on the first coat ( I think the product might have frozen before we purchased it ), the final coats look quite nice and offer some protection in a room that is used extensively in the winter months.


General William Floyd House Signer of the Declaration of Independence
© 2006 General William Floyd House
created & maintained by j. william creative & associates