A Brand New Nemours
Three years and $39 million later, the estate is new again. Welcome to 1910.
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Though some improvements can be hidden under the feet of visitors, certain things must be in plain sight in order to work properly. The sprinkler heads, for example, were a special challenge to conceal. Using small brass sprinkler heads, the restoration team was able to make the system blend so well with gold leaf on the walls, the sprinklers are almost invisible to the unsuspecting eye.
There are other things that wouldn’t cross most people’s minds, but then again, unless they live in The White House, most people don’t have bowling alleys in their basements. Removing the massive accumulation of acrylic wax and repairing the wood paneling in the alley at Nemours was a challenge, as was finding a source for corrugated copper to match the gutters that were used in 1910.
One of the most interesting aspects of the restoration is the way Gary and her team used paint analysis to understand what the mansion looked like in its original state. Though the stucco was pink when the team started the restoration, they discovered that it was originally yellow. Mr. duPont had it changed a warm cream with pink tones in 1920.
They also discovered that the plaster ceiling of the reception hall had originally been painted in the faux bois style to look like wood. By 1920 this had changed as well. Both the stucco and ceiling are now as they were at mid century, but the restorers left a small window into their fascinating undertaking: An original square of the faux bois ceiling gives visitors a peek behind the scenes.
Page 4: A Brand New Nemours, continues...