RAC Update – 2/27/2006
Reviewed at this weeks RAC meeting were the following items: Mansion mechanicals, Handicap Access, Chinese railings, exterior red wash, exterior brick conservation treatments, interior stairs, and a review of mantel evidence and designs. We are also looking to institute a change in the RAC meeting schedule due to the increased pace of the restoration. Instead of meeting two to four times a year, a one day meeting will be held every two months with two longer meetings in the spring and fall. I am tentatively scheduling the meetings for the last Friday of every other month (the next meeting would therefore be scheduled for April 28th).
Drawing Room (M-108)
Ray C. continues to carve the dutchmen and replacement elements for the fireplace surround.
North (1797) Passage (M-106)
The framing in the location of the Period II north stair was partially exposed when the circa 1901 lath was removed for the investigation. After removal, portions of three periods of framing were found (1797, circa 1850(?) and circa 1901) and it appears that portions of timbers from the 1797 stair were re-used when the stair was reworked in circa 1850(?). Specifically, a joist that contains two mortises (a stud mortise and a larger mortise for what was most likely a post) was reused and it appears to match up with a truncated timber that once served as the top plate for the passage’s northern wall. Angled framing members that once supported the 1797 stair carriages also survive in situ.
While most of the issues involving the HVAC appear to have been reviewed and accepted at the RAC meeting, one issue involving the floor vents in the Drawing Room (M-108) remains. The question is essentially whether it is worth running visible ductwork in the space between joists of the cellar and along the side of a girt to reach the existing floor vents in front of two of the triple-hung windows. Pros: saves original fabric (high quality flooring that was exposed during the restoration period), re-using the existing vents would make the HVAC system more efficient and not having vents in the corner would allow for more flexibility for furnishing the room. Cons: Harder to have an authentic interpretation of the northeast room of the cellar (which is currently believed to have been used for, based on knowledge of other sites, dry storage by James Madison Sr. and possibly Jr. as well). If the ductwork were to be run between the joists and along the girt in this location, it would be the only space, aside from the security closet, in the cellar to have exposed ductwork (other areas would be hidden by plank covered chases or disguised with crates and/or barrels). Any thoughts the RAC might have would be helpful and let me know if photos or drawings for the alternative location of the ductwork would be useful.
Repairs continue to the cornice and the rubber membrane has been installed over the subfloor. (Mac, Amy, and Austin)
Bill continues to cut the joists and girts for the restored Portico’s deck.
Peter P. continues to install the shingles and Scott M. (and crew) continues to prep the roof ahead of Peter by removing the existing sheathing (leaving any Madison material in place) and installing new sheathing.