The People's House
A restoration of the governor’s mansion shows off a successful marriage of history, elegance and comfort, as well as First Lady Carla Markell’s emphasis on volunteerism.
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Much expertise came from Tom Savage of Winterthur, who created, free of charge, an eight-page recommendation. Savage was brought into the project because of his work for President Clinton, who appointed him to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House.
“I was familiar with how an official house must serve the dual purposes of family residence while having a public face,” says Savage. He recommended using light hues of the Federal Period. “The colors speak to Woodburn’s historic past, but they’re fresh today.”
The professionals involved with Woodburn say it was an honor to serve their state. But the spirit of volunteerism was the most inspiring aspect of the project. Carla Markell inspired that spirit.
“I believe that the administration currently in place consists of people who are genuinely committed to service,” says Markell. “So volunteerism has come naturally at Woodburn. I’ve always been involved in the community, but there’s a passion that comes with being the first lady and knowing you have this opportunity and this ability to help people. I don’t want to squander that opportunity.”
Markell had a “genuine curiosity, a true love of the house, and wanted to know how it could be used to the betterment of Delaware,” says Savage. “She wasn’t just making the house pretty for her own comforts. She doesn’t think that way.”
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