Collections Room Restoration

Collections Room Explanation

The area now known as the Collections room has undergone a great deal of transformations over the years. When the Roedde family was living in the house, the space was split into two rooms. One of these was located at the front end. Adjacent to the family’s bathroom, it served as a storage room. Behind it was the servant’s quarters. In fact, the staircase that connects this part of the house to the pantry was utilized by servants. The Roedde family only ever hired one servant or cook at a time and thus, they still needed to be self-sufficient in some domestic affairs. Later, during the boarding and rooming house eras, the servant’s quarters was converted into another storage room. Today, there is no longer a divider between the two rooms, and as one space, the Collections Room features rotating exhibits organized by volunteers.

The restoration workers made a plethora of observations about the two storage rooms. Many of these pertained to the flooring and the subflooring of the area. First and foremost, the restorers remarked that the subfloor of 1” X 8” shiplap extended from the back of the bathroom and north to a grid in Storage Room #2. This subfloor was nailed with square tapered nails and re-nailed with 2 5/8” finishing nails. As a side note, it is also worthwhile to note that fir flooring itself bore a smooth, planed cedar back. It is in Storage Room #1, however, where the workers noted most of their findings about subflooring. Found loose beneath the bottom of the subfloor, wallpaper was once attached to a hole that connected the room to the kitchen. Another significant aspect was that the subfloor stopped short at the south edge of the north wall. Whilst a number of floorboards stretched all the way to the north wall and were nailed in with tapered square nails, the ends of the boards appeared to have been cut with a sharp axe before the wood was completely dry.

In addition to flooring aspects, the restorers made several finds that pertained to the shiplap present in Storage Rooms #1 and #2. Respectively, the ceilings of Storage Room #1 and Storage Room #2 bore shiplap that measured 10” and 8” in width. Installed with round common nails, a substantial part of ceiling shiplap began 16” north of the central chimney. This ran full length to the stairwell on the east side and to one rafter short of the north wall on the west side. On the west ceiling of Storage Room #2 in particular, the top piece of shiplap overlapped with a 16” extension from the middle wall. Shiplap observations, however, extended beyond the ceiling of the two storage rooms. For instance, workers made notes about the north wall. Consisting of reused or salvaged wood, the shiplap here began one rafter in from the wall and ran over the exterior wall. Not only that, but it also formed backing for the soffit of the house. Moreover, when restorers stood at the staircase connecting the storage rooms to what had formerly been a family pantry, they remarked that the sides of dormers and ceilings were constituted by the same reused or salvaged shiplap that had been painted in pink and blue.

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Yet another category of structural qualities could be mentioned here as a part of the restoration workers’ observations: trimming and framing. For one, workers deduced that the framing around the door leading one from Storage Room #1 to Storage Room #2 appeared to have been installed after the ceiling, but before the floor. In Storage Room #1, it became clear for the workers that the baseboard there was identical to that in the kitchen on the ground floor. As for Storage Room #2, the floor framing seemed to indicate an opening to the west side of a ventilation grid. Although it had been originally installed with shiplap, workers believed that the area had been filled in with an even greater amount of shiplap later. What is meaningful to consider about such floor framing is that it in fact corresponded to a change in the ceiling of Kitchen-North on the ground floor. In contrast to the wider boards which composed the rest of the upper interior surface, narrow boards had once been utilized to fill in this section of the ceiling.

It was not only structural features, however, that were recorded. Indeed, aside from such features, the restoration workers came across interesting objects that were dispersed throughout the two storage rooms. Among other trinkets, the workers uncovered the cover of a 1918 Cosmopolitan magazine between the floor and subfloor in a hole that leads to the kitchen. This hole was located on the east side of the overall storage area. Then, many objects were found around the chimney that separated the two rooms. A few feet south of the chimney, again in between the floor and subfloor, a button and an unused square nail were found. Immediately north of the chimney, in between the channel and layers of wallpaper on the floor, restorers noticed a trace of blue glass from a perfume bottle. On the right side of the chimney aforementioned, a spool and a set of pliers lied in between joists on a lath. In the opposite direction, towards the west side of the chimney in Storage Room #1, a Canadian penny from 1928 was found behind a cabinet shelf. Finally, the entrance into Storage Room #1 also demonstrated evidence of traces. In the middle of the doorway; located in the middle of the doorway were a broken curtain rod and screw in between a set of joists.

Whilst the observations that have been touched upon thus far have pertained to the overall area of the storage rooms, it is crucial to note that workers had devoted further attention specifically to two areas: the counters in Storage Room #1, and the wall between Storage Room #1 and Storage Room #2. In terms of the former, the restorers found a cast iron white enamelled over a piece of oil cloth. In doing so, a distinctive structure of screws was installed into the end of the counter for support. The counter appeared again in the northwest corner of Storage Room #1. Over this counter, a set of shelves had been fixed with the same hanging technique as the sink against the south wall. However, nails had been utilized here instead of screws. Of further significance is the fact that the counter met the chimney in the middle of the north side of Storage Room #1. Here. the workers remarked that the oil cloth around the smoke-conducting channel was the same as the one under the sink previously touched upon. Then, it was noted that the baseboard under the counter was unpainted. Lastly, the restorers inferred that a series of suspect heating pipes had been inserted after the counter was built.

Apart from the south wall of Storage Room #1, workers came across many findings that concerned the wall between Storage Room #1 and Storage Room #2. This wall was also known as the north elevation. For a start, it was deduced that the floorboards of the space had been previously cut in order to install the wall. Leaning towards the direction of the North-East, the chimney exhibited evidence of brick and mortar deterioration. As for the wall itself, workers first discovered that neither the ceiling, nor the pony wall, bore any traces of wallpaper or paint. Nevertheless, the ceiling shiplap was continuous under the wall.   Furthermore, the wall members in the middle, which each measured to be 2” X 4”, were deemed by workers to be unfinished. Installed with tapered nails, these wall members had not only been roughly sawn, but also carried saw marks. Another aspect of significance was that in the lower east corner of the north elevation, the wall was covered with the same 8” shiplap that constituted the ceiling of Storage Room #2. To learn more about the space formerly occupied by Storage Rooms #1 and #2, see the notes Storage Rooms XVII & XVIII appended at the bottom of the page.

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