The changing of the calendar brings a change of focus, with efforts shifted away from sharing Ayr Mount’s architecture and decorative arts with guests, to preserving and maintaining the house and collection for future visitors. Winter is the ideal time for staff to complete necessary restoration projects. When the restoration is complete, the work should go undetected, allowing guests to experience the rooms free of distraction.
[Continued from the Winter/Spring Newsletter]
This year, the focus was on repairing the ceilings in the second floor bedrooms. Working on a surface over twelve feet in the air adds a lot of logistics involved in moving a ladder every few feet of progress. Once the plaster restoration is complete, the areas must be repainted. Since the original paint has slightly changed color over time, the base paint must be altered by slightly – lightening or darkening the color and adding compounds to change the paint’s sheen.
Winter also provides an opportunity to more thoroughly attend to the furniture and decorative arts collection. The portion of the collection that requires the most attention are the rugs, particularly the early 19th-century English needlepoint rug in the dining room and the late 19th-century French Aubusson rug in the west parlor.
This season, the west parlor’s Aubusson rug was removed from the house for restoration. This piece is particularly fragile and requires special handling in transit. The main focus of the restoration was attaching a backing to make the piece more durable. Additionally, the restoration addressed multiple tears and worn areas. For each of these areas, yarn was carefully matched to the existing yarn color and woven into the rug as seamlessly as possible. With these repairs and a new backing, the Aubusson rug is again ready for wandering feet.
With the house restorations complete and the collection back in place, it is again time for a change of focus: the welcoming of guests to experience Ayr Mount.