|A baseboard stencil of urns, pineapples and filigree.|
It's been our great concern, since taking charge of Freegrace, that we restore her. Taking note of water damage throughout the house on the first showing, it was obvious we had to replace the roof and with the shaking of the shingles came evidence of rot along the porch that runs along the ell. The entirety of the roof and porch had to be removed and replaced, an exact replica of what stood just months before just without the leaking and decayed pillars. We painted her. She was shiny and watertight again.
|Rotten to the Core|
Restoration is relative. There are parts of a house this elderly, 200+ years, that require structural attention. There are portions of the tavern, a shelter that's housed the decorative vagaries of hundreds of souls, that beg for cosmetic ministration.
|painted garlands to frame the door|
|a pineapple of welcome|
And there are areas of the house we'll never touch. Specifically those walls that were graced by the talent of Bordermen (and women), itinerant stencil painters who traveled New England in the 18th century. They carried with them sturdy templates over which they applied naturally pigmented paints fortified with noxious additives like arsenic and lead. Stenciling added elegance to the walls of houses where using wallpaper was an extravagance that couldn't be financially born. At Freegrace, the stencils that remain line the edges of the entryway, borders that frame the doorways and travel the length of the ceiling and the floor. Over time, where the plaster has cracked, it's been patched, leaving random splashes of bright white as a counterpoint to the border's even balance. I wouldn't change a thing.