During this time of public closure, we are continuing to work on major interior restoration projects, including the North Entrance and Stairway as well as the Master Bedroom.
Here we will post exciting updates on the work, interesting trivia, and more. Follow along with our progress as we continue our Operation Restoration.
April 7, 2020 – Jule’s Stairway Murals Uncovered!
With any major change to the house, there is always a chance for a discovery – and today we were not disappointed. As part of the North Stairway restoration, wooden wainscoting was removed from the plaster walls for repair and replacement. While we knew that Jule had at one time painted part of the stairway, (and have preserved the best example of this work under glass) we were delighted to uncover more evidence!
Jule painted the entire stairway with murals in 1885-1886 using a style influenced by Japanese woodblock prints and featuring a variety of native and exotic birds, flowers, and trees, with stylized fan motifs and decorative borders. These murals were based on sketches Jule made during his travels to Florida and Louisiana. As so often happened with Jule’s designs, he switched it up, and decided to cover the murals with the wooden paneled wainscoting visible today.
Check out the photos below for a closer look:
Körner’s Folly Historic Color Analysis: Hue Wants to Know More?
With Historic Körner’s Folly undergoing major interior restorative work, it is the perfect time to share what the restoration process to return this Victorian treasure to its prime looks like. Restoration, as defined by the National Park Service, is the process of “depicting the form, features, and character of a property at a particular period of time.” One of the most important steps in this process is determining the historically appropriate color schemes. While Jule Körner built Körner’s Folly from 1878-1880, restoration centers on the house’s 1897-1905 appearance, when the house was at the height of family activity. Over the last 140 years, as with any house, the interior appearance has changed dramatically, making it difficult to determine the color scheme in our chosen restoration time-period.
The solution was surprisingly scientific! Between May and November of 2016, David R. Black, AIA/APT, conducted a comprehensive study of the paint colors in Körner’s Folly. His work resulted in an historic finish analysis that was key in concluding both the rooms’ color schemes and materials. He began by taking more than 400 samples from representative elements of wood trim, doors, window sash, and wall and ceiling plaster. From there, he evaluated the samples under a binocular microscope, created a chronology of colors for each room, and matched them with the Munsell Universal Color System. Through this analysis, Black discovered that Jule changed it up a lot! The renovating, reworking, and redecorating of the Folly resulted in varying compositions for each room – many having four to five different color cycles. Thankfully, with Black’s color chronologies, we now know the Folly’s 1897-1905 color schemes, aiding our restoration progress.
The Rose Room, Jule Körner’s daughter Doré’s room, was the first to undergo serious interior restoration work in 2014. With the historic finish analysis, we identified the exact colors of the room when it was occupied by Doré, giving us an appropriate color palette for other objects and patterns in the room. Jule renovated the room for Doré around 1905, when she was 16 years old, converting the guest bedroom to her own space. We learned that Doré’s father customized the room especially for her: he added floral trim to the existing silk wall panels; the room was changed from mint green to a light rose color; matching rose fireplace tiles were laid, and custom build in cabinets and a dresser were added.
The Rose Room is just one example of how the interior historic finishes analysis improves our understanding of Jule’s eclectic house. The Körner’s Folly Foundation intends on restoring all twenty-two rooms in Körner’s Folly to their original color scheme and Victorian grandeur. In the meantime, we are delighted to share a little more details about the behind-the-scenes work in this significant and long overdue restoration.
If you would like to help us restore the house, consider becoming a member of the Körner’s Folly Foundation, or make a tax-deductible donation. Contributions to interior restoration can be made online through our donation page.