Restoration Work Begins on Beulah Branch’s Bedroom!
Restoration is underway on Mrs. Branch’s Bedroom, with a planned reopening celebration in September. The room’s interior finishes suffered severe delamination of the ceiling paint from the original plaster, due to a steam event from the heating system. The failure of the cooling system over several years which saturated the room’s north wall has now been replaced to regulate temperature.
The majority of the interior features of the Branch House are Tudor Revival, but Mrs. Branch’s private spaces, her bedroom and sitting room were a clear departure in the interior decoration. Her bedroom features a more feminine presence with Adamesque detailing in its ornamental plaster cornice, frieze, and a low relief, oval ceiling medallion.
Thermal imaging with an infrared camera provided the least invasive technology to determine that there is no current water intrusion. Specialists in historic plaster ornamentation and paint conservators examined the surfaces. They found the deterioration mostly skin deep, but the failed paint, continuing to lift on the flat surfaces needed removal to a sound surface, repair and re-plastering in a 3-part lime plaster before repainting could begin.
A paint analysis was undertaken examining 19 samples documenting the finish history of the room and a mock up will be created with the original color scheme. The repainting will be done in a credible Adamesque color scheme. The next step toward understanding the original room’s interior is to learn more about Beulah. What occurred between the clients (Mr. and Mrs. Branch) and the decoration of each of the rooms, most likely working with Spencer Guidael, a designer in John Russell Pope’s architectural firm, and with Otto Eggers, the primary architect overseeing the construction of the house in Richmond.
We look forward to sharing Beulah Branch’s Bedroom with the public! Most of the funds have been raised, but there are still some finishing touches to make the room complete. You can make a donation to put this project ‘over the top’ by following this link here or calling Development Manager at 804-237-1778 and making a donation over the phone.