Montpelier Restoration Update – 10/10/2007


Whitewashing 207

A brown coat is being applied below the chair rail in M-207 (“Old Library). The ceiling and walls above the baseboard in this room have also been whitewashed. The final sections of M-210 (Linen Closet) are also being white coated and M-206 (East Central Chamber) is being prepared for plastering.


M-100 (North Wing Chamber)

Austin Antrim has stated to install the chair rails in this room. M-100’s chair rails were removed in circa 1850 and the profile for the reconstructed rail was developed from one of Dr. Susan Buck and Christine Thomson’s paint reveals. For more information on how the reveals were made see Susan Buck and Natasha Loeblich’s 2007 Interior Paint Study found on the “Studies and Reports” page of this blog.


M-104 (Mr. Madison’s Room)

Bill Bichell is installing baseboards. The profile and design of the baseboards came from surviving examples found on the space’s west wall and features a fairly wide, almost oval, bead.


M-105 (Dining Room)

Surbase in 105

Ed Gomez has started to install the chair rails for the room. Similar to M-100 (North Wing Chamber), the chair rail for this room was also removed in circa 1850. This profile was again recovered using a paint reveal.

105 cap

Bill Bichell is repairing the chimneypiece cap that was recently donated to the Montpelier Foundation by local Orange County resident Randolph Thompson. The cap had been moved to the cellar of Montpelier in circa 1880 and it remained there until it fell off the wall in the 1960s. After it fell it was given to Mr. Thompson, who stored it safely until he donated it to Montpelier last summer. After the repairs are complete, the cap will be installed in its original location, allowing us to restore one of James Madison’s most important public spaces to an incredibly accurate level.


M-201 (Large Bedroom)

Dino Copeland has started to prepare this room for painting by lightly scraping and sanding the woodwork and then applying a tinted-shellac sealer.


M-208 (South Central Chamber)

priming 208

Dino Copeland has finished preparing this space for painting.



Mac repairing nelly doorframe

Mac Ward is installing the recovered Madison-era doorframe into the doorway between M-008 (South Cellar Passage) and M-009 (Nelly’s Kitchen).



colonnade column whitewashing

The masons have started to whitewash the columns in preparation for applying a thin, lime-based finish coat. The white wash, which has been tinted with the modern pigment titanium white, will serve as a marker to help future conservators distinguish between the surviving original finish coat and the restoration-era finish coat.

Because we wanted to maintain an even 1/16” of inch coating around the columns, Wayne Mays has also attempted to apply a finish coat to one column by hand (without using a profile screed to guide the application). The result was an uneven coating that telegraphed the dips and craters found in the column’s brickwork. Because of the un-evenness, this test coating has been removed and Wayne is making a profile gauge which he will use to produce a smoother, but still thin, final finish coat.



Martin Roofing continues to install copper gutters on the Mansion. Currently they are working on the east elevation.



quarter maker

Mark Gooch has cut and installed oak beams around the perimeter of one of Madison’s south yard slave quarters. The beams will allow us to better interpret slave life at Montpelier while plans to excavate the south yard are made.


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