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Category: Decorative Arts

Mantel Restoration and Install

I had my eye on this mantel for a couple of years. It had been sitting outside an antique/junk shop in upstate New York.

On the right is the natural color of the stone and on the left what was left of the green marbleizing.
As in the upstairs apartment, we built out the existing flue, centered it on the room, and installed an absolute black hearth stone.
My marbleizing skills are not that good so I chose to stain the green part of the fireplace. I custom mixed some Minwax stains, testing them on the inside lip on the mantel.
A grate from a different antique store. It was scraped and painted flat black.

The finished product.


Antique Frame Restore


Occasionally I come across a quality but damaged frame such as this one which I bought at a flea market in Manhattan. It's a beautiful piece, but it wouldn't do any good siting in a closet because I couldn't hang it, so I had to figure out how to repair it.

Here I'm building a dam. Pretty simple: two slats of wood attached with brads and the remaining openings filled with plumber's putty. I've applied a release agent to the mold area.


A two part resin poured into the dam.

The mold and the plaster of paris that I poured in it.
Taking care to continue the molding pattern, I've glued the new molding into place.
Finally a socially responsible use for my old cigar butts. After mixing them with water, the resulting tobacco juice adds about 100 years. I then touch up with gold paint, trying to match the wear pattern of the original.
Here's the frame as it hangs now on the wall. It's hard to tell where the patches are.


Ingrain Carpet

Below are some pictures of Ingrain Carpet caught “in the the wild” at Lincoln’s house in Springfield, Illinois. Like the Venetian Carpet of my earlier post, these are made on jacquard looms. I have always thought of wall to wall carpet as a modern furnishing, something to be found in a the ranch house or in Econoline vans with shag rugs, but it seems that the Victorians were doing it first.

Ingrain carpet lincoln house springfieldingrain carpet victorian carpet linclon house springfield

As can be seen below, the carpets are woven in 36″ strips and then woven together. A company called Family Heirloom Weavers still makes these patterns.

ingrain carpet lincoln house

ingrain carpet lincoln house

Ingrain carpet also makes very nice carpet tread. I used it below in a job in Brooklyn.

victorian brownstone brooklyn stair carpet ingrain gavinyoungmaloney builder

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