Monthly Archives: April 2009

Strawberry Hill Room Window Repairs

before-workThe Strawberry Hill Room is one of the more famous rooms in the house– mainly because of its dramatic Gothic ceiling and beautiful wallpaper, but also because of its amazing view of the terrace and harbor outside.  Due to the significance of this room as well as the location of the windows on the harbor side of the building, these sash were included in Phase I of the Window Conservation Project as funded by the Save America’s Treasures program and a grant from the Preservation Projects Fund through the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

The exterior openings in the room consist of four fixed and two casements on the harbor side and a double door leading to a small balcony to the southeast.  All of the openings were showing similar signs of deterioration– failing exterior glazing and paint.  But it wasn’t until the Historic New England Carpentry Crew removed the sash in November that they realized just how bad the deterioration really was.  This is usually the case with repairing wood windows.  Too many times problems with windows are haphazardly repaired with caulk or just painted over covering any signs of the deteriorated element.  A simple re-glazing job can turn into a major repair project following removal.

This was the case with the fixed sash of the Strawberry Hill Room.  We discovered severe water damage to the bottom rails due to the glazing failure.  Water could slip through the glazing joints and sit at the bottom rail- rotting it from the inside out. Dave Maloney, one of Historic New England’s Preservation Carpenters, carefully removed all glazing and panes of glass.  He then removed the severely deteriorated bottom rail and approximately 7″ of the side stiles of the wood frame to create a “dutchman” repair.  He remade a new bottom rail in heartwood pine and re-attached the mortise and tenon.  The sash have been primed and repainted and now they await their return to the building… 

If you would like to make a matching contribution to the Save America’s Treasures grant so that we can continue the much needed work at the house, please contact Development@HistoricNewEngland.org or call 617-227-3957, ext. 247.

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Strawberry Hill Room Windows Nearly Complete

strawberry-hill-room1Sleeper liked to compare Beauport to Strawberry Hill, a house created by the aristocratic collector and man of letters Horace Walpole in Twickenham, just outside of London.  Strawberry Hill was a fanciful concoction that started the architectural trend ‘Gothick’, in which contemporaries flocked to see.  So, of course, Sleeper created a Strawberry Hill Room within Beauport.

An article in the magazine ‘The House Beautiful’ in 1916 states that the paper in this room had been taken from the walls of Strawberry Hill.  This apocryphal story clings to the room, although the paper was actually made in England in 1907, the year construction began at Beauport.  The only visible link with Walpole’s Strawberry Hill is a catalogue of the sale of the contents of the house, dated 1842, which is placed causally on a desk. 

Sleeper used this room as his bedroom.  Its decorative scheme is yet another brilliant variation on his favorite mix of curly maple furniture, richly colored hooked rugs, and red accents contrasting with dark walls.

strawberry-windowsstrawberry-board-upduring-removalblanks-installed

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More Shutters and Sash Comes Home

We had an exciting day at Beauport!  Not only are the windows getting some tender loving care, but so are our shutters.  Heartwood came out to remove about 10 more of the 30 shutters for repairs and repainting.  And the best part is that three of Heartwood’s 34 sash made it home… not quite in their respective openings yet, but this is a start! sash back homeremovingshutters1

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