Update from the Preservation Department

The big ongoing project in the Preservation Department is the restoration of the Parlor. This restoration project will return the Parlor to the 1790’s Federal Period of “Light Horse Harry” Lee. “Light Horse Harry” made this room larger while making it his most fancy space in the Great House. The Preservation Department has been working with the architects and architectural historians of Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects, LLP, in order to determine what needs to be done to complete this restoration project.

After extensive investigation and research, the evidence to direct us in the restoration of the Parlor has been found. One item that will be done is the removal of the window seats (see image left) from the window embrasures. The window embrasures will then extend to the floor and contain paneling that will match the existing Federal Period wainscoting (see image below). The next major change will be the installation of a plaster cornice. The exact design of the 1790’s cornice is not known, but the original dimensions have been determined. The architects are currently researching other cornices from the same time period in Virginia to help guide them in their design. The paint scheme will also change during the restoration. Through paint analysis it has been determined that the walls will be a yellow-green verdigris while the wainscoting and wood work will be a cream color. These are the biggest changes you will see during the Parlor’s restoration.

Another recent project for the Preservation Department is the completion of a Historic Structure Report, also known as a HSR, on the Great House. This report presents an overview of the Great House’s physical history from the time it was built by Thomas Lee up until the early restorations of the 1930’s. This report was prepared for Stratford Hall by
Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects, LLP. The report pulls together years of research along with new research and investigations, and has been an essential guide in the ongoing restoration of Stratford Hall. As we proceed with the room projects, more research and investigation will be added to the HSR. Information from this document will also be incorporated into our tours of the Great House.