The Main Room
The faded green paint appears more of an off-white but the dirt is evident in this picture. The object in the center is the oil circulator that provided heat for the entire old part of the house. There was no heat on the second floor. All the fireplaces had been sealed for many years.
The floors are Heart pine. The curtains were filled with dust. We removed the oil circulator and uncovered the fireplace. To reduce heat loss, the chimneys were capped. This allows us to enjoy the beauty of the fireplaces without the problems associated with these old structures.
We have used a four color paint scheme for this room. The mantel, door frames, window frames, and doors are painted a high-gloss white. The wainscot is in two shades of colonial blue. The darker shade is extended around the windows and doors and up the sides of the mantel. The walls are off-white with just a little bit of blue. The old curtains were replaced with lace. The 200-year-old brick in the fireplace shows a lot of wear and is stained with years of smoke. The hearthstones are soapstone which has tended to wear away over the years. In this room, they are in nice shape however, other rooms have not faired as well. There are six fireplaces in all.
This picture shows the staircase as we found it. These stairs were a change from the early 1950's. The stairs were very dark and there was no light in the stairwell. The condition of the paint on the walls is again evident and you can see the shadows of old pictures that hung along the wall going up the steps. Originally, this staircase was enclosed in the wall and a back door was located where the wainscot ends at the foot of the steps. The door shown was probably added in the past 100 years. It is a different style than the original doors and is of modern conventional height. More about doors on another page.
We started by painting the stringers and risers of the staircase high-gloss white. In addition to giving the stairs a lighter appearance, it allows you to see the steps more clearly in low light. We also added a light in the stairwell that helps a lot at night. The ceiling height on the landing is less than 6 feet so the light is at the top of the stairs.
The dark blue trim around the doors shows well in this shot.
The stairs continued to evolve over the next few years. When the addition was added, the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office requested that we return the steps to their original condition. We were reluctant at first as this meant that they would be narrow and steep. However, the addition had a new staircase that provided easy access to the second floor and we consented.
Removing the covered porch on the back of the house revealed the header and framing for the original back door. Creating that opening would improve flow between the old and the new but also required that the steps be altered.
The "White House" page