montpelier restoration Update – 4/9/2008


A brown coat has been put onto the walls of M-111 (Nelly’s Back Room) and the ceilings of M-108 (Drawing Room), M-112 (Nelly’s Best Room), M-111 (Nelly’s Back Room) and M-009 (Nelly’s kitchen) have all been white coated. A scratch coat has also been installed on the walls and ceiling of M-110 (South Stair). The masons have also applied the scratch and brown coats to the ceiling of M-009 (Nelly’s kitchen). In the video above the masons are applying the white coat to the ceiling of M-108. The white coat, or finish coat as it is sometimes called, is made from a traditional lime putty (no modern cements) mixed with fine, white sand. The white coat, which measures about an 1/8 of an inch thick, is first applied with a trowel and then leveled and smoothed with wet brush followed by a trowel.


Dino C. and Greg Calloway continue to prepare the surviving Madison-era doors for painting by scraping off the loose paint and priming with a shellac primer followed by a modern “oil” or alkyd primer.


Blaise Gaston and Nick Oster are milling the framing, treads and risers for the 1797 cellar stair. The stair will be installed in M-003 and access M-106 (North Passage). Jack Abele is also milling the boards for this stair’s plank enclosure. Portions of the original planks from the stair enclosure were re-used by the duPont’s as nailers and the new planks are being milled to match the original ones.


Jack Fisher has finished putting the first coat of distemper onto the walls of M-106 (North Passage), M-201 (Large Bedroom) and M-205 (Upper North Passage). The color is based off of traces of the Madison period distemper found in both the North Passage and the Large Bedroom. Distemper is a traditional paint made from animal hide glue (a glue derived by boiling animal hides and connective tissue down into a gelatin) and its use was fairly common in the 18th– and 19th-centuries.

M-204 (Garret Closet)

Gene Lyman has finished building the scuttle door for the garret entrance hatch found in ceiling of the closet.

M-008 (South Cellar Passage)

Olivier Dupont-Huin has finished building the south cellar stairs. In the photos above he is installing the last skirt board by first making a mock-up out of Masonite to ensure his final cuts are accurate.

Colonnade Deck

Bill Bichell and Gene Lyman are laying out and cutting the top and bottom rails of the deck railing.

South Wing Porch

Mac Ward has started to cut the framing for the porch that will be built on the eastern side of the South wing. In the photos above, Mac is cutting box joints into the large, heart pine beams that will support the porch deck. Box joints are interlocking joints that use square tenons to join two pieces of wood together at a right angle.

North Wing, East Cellar Entrance

Tim Proffit is veneering the poured concrete retaining walls for the cellar entrance. He is using hand made bricks from Old Carolina Brick Company.

One Response to montpelier restoration Update – 4/9/2008

  1. Frank says:

    Oh Man!
    I,m A plaster Contractor and Have done alot Plasterig work around Boston Ma Appreciat all ur Plastering Contractors and workers Friends!

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