New Year Brings New Restoration Projects to Körner’s Folly
Historic Körner’s Folly is pleased to announce the continuation of Operation Restoration, a long term project with the goal of restoring and preserving the Victorian house museum. Körner’s Folly will be kicking off 2018 with the restoration of three rooms – the Cellar, Smoking Lounge, and Den. Work began in early January and is expected to take three months. Tours will continue while restoration is being completed.
From 2012-2015, the first major restorative work took place at Historic Körner’s Folly, completely stabilizing the exterior structure of the 1880s Victorian House. The foundation was repaired, the porches were restored, and the entire roof was replaced. Now that the home is water-tight and structurally stable, interior restoration work is underway. This new chapter of interior restoration work focuses on restoring and preserving Jule Körner’s original interior décor for the education and enjoyment of the public. These three rooms are facing the greatest deterioration from decades of water damage, and pose real concerns.
Of the project, Dale Pennington, Körner’s Folly Executive Director says, “The Smoker, Den, and Cellar are three of the most badly deteriorated rooms inside of Körner’s Folly. It takes great forethought by donors to support the rooms in most need of restoration. All of the rooms in the house have been given a ranking based on deterioration, safety concerns, and historical significance. These three rooms hit all three of those markers and are our highest priority for restoration, so it’s especially exciting to see these work begin.” Once complete, these rooms will make push Korner’s Folly several steps closer to being fully restored, leaving 10 remaining rooms in need of donations for restoration.
The Smoker, also called the Men’s Smoking Lounge, and the adjacent Cellar will be returned to their 1890s appearance and color scheme. The Sewing Room, which is being renamed “The Den” based on new documentary evidence will be returned to its 1906 appearance. “Since Jule Körner was constantly changing and renovating Körner’s Folly, it is important to us to represent a variety of time periods throughout the house through the restoration process. As an interior designer, Jule was always experimenting with new colors, wall papers, tiles, and finishes, and we want Körner’s Folly to be reflective of that, so visitors can better understand how the house changed over time.” There were two major periods of renovations for Körner’s Folly that are well documented: in the early 1890s, after Jule married his wife and they started having children, they renovated the home to accommodate the growing family, and again from 1903-1908, when Jule reportedly spent $17,000 to renovate the house (over $400,000 in today’s dollars) after his children left home for school.
Restoration is the process of depicting the form, features, and character of a property at a particular period of time. All three rooms sit on the original concrete slab foundation, which caused significant water and moisture issues over the years. The water issues have been remediated, and now the interior plaster and carpentry can be repaired and replicated without further threat of damage. The restoration in these rooms will include removing modern elements added over time, replicating and repairing missing or damaged woodwork and tile, refinishing and cleaning the architectural surfaces, and returning the rooms to their original color schemes.
The home will remain open for tours throughout the restoration. It is a very unique time to see Historic Restoration in action, so be sure to ask staff about the restoration process while on tour. Tour routes may be altered slightly to accommodate the work, and at times, 1-2 rooms may periodically close, call ahead for information on closings (336) 996-7922.
Körner’s Folly is open for self-guided tours Wednesdays-Saturdays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and on Sundays 1 – 4 p.m. The last tickets are sold at 3 p.m. to allow visitors adequate time to explore and enjoy the museum. Private guided group tours are available by appointment.