Dining Room Renovation Explanation
Throughout all of Roedde House’s history, this space has served as a dining room. Whilst other rooms in the house display conventional Victorian features like lower wainscoting, the dining room came to adopt the Arts and Crafts style of the Edwardian period. This is demonstrated, for instance, through the taller wall panels. The space’s distinctive style can be traced back to 1913, when the Roedde family’s Christmas tree erupted into flames in the bay window area. Thus, renovating the room had entailed adopting newer styles from the period. Nevertheless, the dining room carried the same functionality even during the rooming and boarding house period of Roedde House.
Upon setting foot into the space in the 1980’s, workers from the restoration project made several observations about the dining room. Among other general findings, the restorers noted that the height of the room, from the floor to the ceiling, was 119 ½”. Throughout the room, the floor boards were measured to bear a width of 3 ¼”. In addition to such measurements, workers further took notice of aspects pertaining to wall spreads and lintel as part of their general observations. For one, the first, or outer layer of wallpaper consisted of large white flowers and red leaves. In fact, these flowers resembled poinsettias. On nearly all the room’s walls was a frieze with a cut border.
Amidst the general features aforementioned, workers devoted great attention to particular walls. One of these was the north wall. Here, workers recorded findings that were concerned with wall coatings, as well as with handwritten notes left by those who had operated on the house in the past. In terms of wall coatings, the restorers first remarked that underneath the plate rail moulding, there was neither any paint, nor any plaster. Then, across the middle of the wall panel area, just under the plaster coat, was a horizontal band of wood. The restorers inferred this to be the trace of previous chair rail markings. Such a finding is now significant when one considers how the dining room had been renovated after the 1913 fire. Before the incident, the wall panels were likely shorter, and this was corroborated by the marking of the chair rail. As for handwritten notes that were left behind by operational workers during the boarding and rooming house period, there were many. For instance, on the immediate left of the doorway that led one into the master bedroom, the number 18 had been scrawled in pencil on the wall. As well, on the left side of the north wall, workers found a calculation of addition at the top of the second wall panel.
It is not only the north wall, however, that restoration workers paid specific attention to. Indeed, a number of observations were made on the west wall and the east wall. Firstly, the restorers found that whilst the general width of floorboards throughout the room was 3 ¼”, four floorboards projecting from the west wall bore a width of 3 7/16”. Across the dining room, the workers came across many other findings on the east wall. As touched upon earlier, a frieze with a cut border covered almost all the room’s walls. Such a cut border did not exist on the east wall, though. Moreover, what was further worthwhile to consider was the plaster on this wall. Here, workers found that the plaster was very thin, with a width of 1/8”. Not only that, but at the top of the wall, just above the doorway that led one into the house’s entrance hall, there existed a plaster hole. Measuring 6” in width, this hole crossed through to the other side of the wall. In other words, it was visible from the entrance hall.