Hyde Hall

A Makeover for the Dining Room

Fans of reality TV shows might recognize Hyde Hall as being a huge “Before & Afer” makeover project. Soon Hyde Hall will be the scene of yet another episode: the transformation of the Dining Room walls.

We have asked Lori Wilson, internationally known paint expert, artist, teacher, and master painter, to restore the Dining Room walls to their 1830s appearance.

Long associated with Golden Artist Colors of New Berlin, New York, Lori brings many years of experience to Hyde Hall. Her goal will be to reproduce in the Dining Room the same marbleized treatment that has survived in the Drawing Room and Entrance Hall. In the 1880s, the Dining Room walls were painted a once-fashionable Victorian red, but with restorations now focused on recreating the earliest appearance of the Great House, these three major rooms will soon present  the unified ensemble that George Clarke created in 1833.

While painting a room might seem simple, the Dining Room project has posed interesting challenges. The first task was to test the Dining Room wall surface to determine what course to follow in the restoration of the original color. Lori discovered that the red pigment is very difficult to remove, and in the areas she tested, the pigment was deeply absorbed into the plaster walls—all the way down to the second or brown coat layer. Based on this discovery, she believes the red pigment will not bleed through the new thin skin of limewash that she would like to spread over the surface of the Dining Room walls. Not having to remove all of the red paint (a time-consuming and difficult process) is a major advantage. It is interesting to note that the limewash she plans to use will contain mica and black pigmentation similar to the original surface.

To avoid the possibility of bleed-through or delamination, Lori recommends that we test select areas in the Dining Room with different surface treatments over the fall, winter, and spring seasons. The goal is to choose a durable new finish treatment that will adhere to the present surface. This means we must delay the Dining Room carpet installation until May or early June of 2017. It is a small price to pay for better results.

We are grateful for the care and thoroughness of Lori Wilson’s analysis. We hope you will visit us next May during tours to see her at work recreating the marbleized surfaces that make Hyde Hall a model of 1830s elegance and sophistication.

From the Fall 2016 Hyde Hall Newsletter

2016 Year in Review

Looking back over this year 7,400 people attended events and activities at Hyde Hall.

We show that 4,400 took tours and at least 3,000 attended events such as the Easter Egg Hunt (677 children and families), the Hyde & Shriek Ghost Tours (676 people), and the concerts, summer theatrical activities, and the gala.

We also include in this overall visitation figure the many visitors who come to our site to enjoy the views and admire the outside of the mansion.

Below please find a recap in images.  Click on any image to open carousel.


We look forward to welcoming you in 2017 as we celebrate
the bicentennial of the commencement of the building of Hyde Hall.

Hyde Hall 2016 Gala Honorees

DSC_0004_004Christopher F. Ohrstrom founded Historic Paints, a short-lived but much admired purveyor of hand-ground, hand-made finishes that ended up on the walls of historic sites such as Monticello’s Dome Room. He also co-founded, with Steve Larson, Adelphi Paper Hangings, a thriving world-class atelier in Sharon Springs, New York that is patronized by leading architects, interior designers, museums, and historic sites for its authentic reproductions of 18th– and 19th-century hand-blocked wallpapers. In 2001 Ohrstrom launched Falmouth Heritage Renewal, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the Jamaican port town of Falmouth, which, he told Architectural Digest, possesses “the Caribbean’s largest concentration of Georgian Colonial architecture.” Coincidentally, Falmouth has Hyde Hall connections, since it was where George Clarke, the builder of Hyde Hall, spent part of his childhood. At Falmouth, as elsewhere, Ohrstrom sees history as a springboard to the future—and that preservation means far more than simply stabilizing old buildings, whether they are modest or grand.

Ohrstrom also is the longtime chairman of the board of trustees of World Monuments Fund, the influential New York City-based nonprofit that is dedicated to protecting, funding, and conserving endangered cultural-heritage sites, from the 1907 Moseley Road bath-house complex in Birmingham, England, to the 7,000-year-old Dalieh public space in Beirut, Lebanon.

Photo Steve Larson DSC_9998 1200pxSteven E. Larson: After launching Adelphi Paper Hangings with Ohrstrom in 1999, Larson focused on formulating the paints and refining the printing techniques for simple block-printed papers. Since then he has investigated, researched, and reproduced traditional flocked papers and plain varnished papers as well as patterns with both irisé print and irisé ground colors. Adelphi Paper Hangings’s A-list commissions include the creation of custom-made wall coverings for the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House in Washington, D.C.; Olana in Hudson, New York; Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage in Nashville; Sir John Soane’s Museum in London; Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham, England; James Buchanan’s Wheatland in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. The firm also counts interior designers Thomas Jayne and Michael S. Smith, and architect Gil Schafer.

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