Great progress has been made on the restoration of the Show Room. As reported in the May issue, a window which exactly replicates the original window in the east wall has been installed in the west wall, replacing a 20th Century door which led to a modern screen porch. Local carpenter John Restaino crafted a reproduction door based on other 18th Century doors on the property which he donated to Happy Retreat to replace the modern exterior door in the south wall. Specially milled chair rails have been installed which match original chair rails elsewhere in the house. A yellow pine floor has been laid.
Benjamin Moore donated paint for the walls which was developed with Colonial Williamsburg to match the color of 18th Century white wash. Joe Wiggington, the owner of Panhandle Paints, the local Benjamin Moore distributor, pitched in to help put the paint on the walls. Joe, an experienced painting contractor, applied the paint with a 4” box brush using a fan brush stroke, as it would have been done at the time the room was built.
The Historic Structures Report completed in 2017 showed that the trim in the Show Room had been painted gray. Dr. Susan Buck, a historic paint specialist in Williamsburg, Virginia, provided that analysis. We asked Dr. Buck to review the samples she took from the room to give us a better idea of the shade of gray used. She was able to identify the specific shade as “lead gray” and Benjamin Moore is able to match the color precisely.
With the restored brick masonry, reproduction window, door, chair rails and floor and original paint colors on the walls and trim, the room should look exactly as it did when Charles Washington first walked into it. This has been made possible by a grant from the Bee Line Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
In late May, Board members Bill Senseney and Chet Hines, along with other volunteers, laid a new brick floor in the stone kitchen. We had removed the 20th Century brick and stone floor and Dr. Charles Hulse had conducted a limited archaeological review of the exposed earth. The new floor is single course brick, laid on sand.
Final painting is now underway in the stone kitchen, which will bring that restoration project to completion. Again, Benjamin Moore and Joe Wiggington of Panhandle Paints have donated both paint and time to help us get this job done, using the paint developed by Benjamin Moore and Colonial Williamsburg to replicate the look of 18th Century whitewash. The important restoration of the stone kitchen and smoke house has been made possible by the generosity of Bob and Tia McMillan, of Shepherdstown.