Interior Restoration Continues!

Main Kitchen Restoration Complete, Sitting Room Up Next

The Körner’s Folly Foundation hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, May 19, 2016, to celebrate the completion of the recently restored Main Kitchen at the Körner’s Folly Historic House Museum. The Main Kitchen was used as the primary food preparation area, containing an ice box and pie safe, and the walls have been returned to their original deep red-color. This room marks the next phase of Operation Restoration, interior restoration; a comprehensive plan to restore Körner’s Folly to its original Victorian grandeur and artistic magnificence.

Restoration of the Main Kitchen was made possible by Wolfe & Associates in Honor of Mary Peagram Cook for her more than twenty years of service to the Law Firm and her many years as Board Member and Secretary of the Körner’s Folly Foundation.  “It’s really hard to put into words what this honor means to me,” Cook said when John Wolfe called her to the front of the crowded room and began touting her various accomplishments.  “It is the greatest honor I have received, and I am quite humbled.”  Wolfe & Associates wanted to dedicate the Main Kitchen restoration project in Cook’s honor to celebrate to many contributions to the Kernersville community.  He noted, “She is unlike anyone else, and I couldn’t think of a better way to recognize the person who has contributed so much to Körner’s Folly, this community, and may law practice all these years.  She is truly an inspiration to this community and we are lucky to have her.”

The Main Kitchen is conveniently located near the dining room and breakfast room on the first floor of Körner’s Folly. Although small by today’s standards, the Main Kitchen was modern for the Victorian-era because it efficiently utilized limited space.  Jule designed numerous custom built-in cabinets and compartments throughout the room. The tall black door next to the entrance is a built-in icebox. Blocks of ice were placed in the bottom, and food was stored on shelves to the side. Twelve-inch thick brick walls ensured the icebox was well insulated and that food was kept cold. The red cabinet to the left of the icebox is a flour safe, which dispensed 50-pound bags of flour. It includes measuring windows and an attached sifter. Also for baking, a built-in pie safe is located above the counter. Hot, freshly baked goods were placed on the shelves to cool, while screens protected them from insects and animals. The original cast-iron cook stove was used all year, and was stoked with either wood or coal. In the summer, a skylight allowed heat to escape, while in the winter, a vent above the flour safe allowed heat to warm the bathing room on the second floor.

“Our goal is to move through the house, restoring one room at a time, so the house is never closed for tours.  New rooms are being restored each year.  It’s a remarkable time to see historic restoration in action,” says Dale Pennington, executive director of Körner’s Folly. Restoration is the process of “depicting the form, features, and character of a property at a particular period of time.”

The Kitchen Restoration Included:

  • Conducting a paint layer analysis to determine historically accurate color schemes
  • Repairing unstable infrastructure
  • Removing modern elements added to the house over time
  • Replicating and repairing missing or damaged plaster details, tiles, and woodwork
  • Refinishing, cleaning, and painting architectural surfaces AND
  • Recreating historic textiles such as drapes and fabric wall panels

It was also announced this week that work will soon begin on the Sitting Room.  Restoration of the Sitting Room is made possible by a generous donation from David and Patty Peeler.  Work should begin in the Sitting Room in early June and is expected to take 3-4 months.  The Sitting Room functioned as a private sitting and dressing area for Jule’s wife, Polly Alice.  Just off the master bedroom, and located next to the children’s playrooms, Polly Alice could easily watch the children playing above.  The Sitting Room is connected to the dining room, cellar, and smoking room via a narrow hallway.

Throughout the interior restoration process, Körner’s Folly will remain open for the education and enjoyment of the public. Visitors can tour the house, see these rooms and learn about the interior restoration process Wednesdays-Saturdays (10am – 4pm) and Sundays (1 – 4pm). Guided group tours are available by appointment.


Main Kitchen Before Restoration. Note the white walls and furniture throughout the room.

Main Kitchen After Restoration.