The 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.