Peeling Back the Layers of Time—CARPETING

Alright, so far we’ve covered some of the incredible styles of wallpaper and linoleum found throughout CHM and the process that we went through to restore them.  Now on to carpeting.

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A selection of carpet samples from the CHM restoration.

Carpeting presents a pretty unique challenge to preservationists because, well, we walk on it.  A lot.  All the time.  Which means it wears down and gets replaced.  But what makes re-carpeting a little different than repainting or even laying down new linoleum is that we don’t usually layer new carpet on top of old carpet.  We pull up the old stuff and toss it.  So IMG_2682when we went to tackle the flooring aspect of the restoration here at Campbell House it was a bit of a challenge.  The Campbells had gone through several different iterations of carpeting during the 84 years they lived in the house, and we had very few examples of the different styles they had chosen over the years.  Even when we did, time had not been kind to the pieces we were able to salvage.  The oldest scrap found in the collection dates from around the 1860s and can be seen pictured at right.

Needless to say, it’s seen better days.  It’s hard to even make out the shadows of color or faint design that once graced the floors of the Campbell home. Is this a challenge? Sure. But what made life a little easier for us during the restoration was the incredible set of 60 photos taken throughout the house in the 1880s.  In many cases we were able to take a close look at these pictures, recreate the basic design of the carpeting, and come up with a period-appropriate color palette using samples we had of the original carpeting and examples of what would have been available for the Campbells.  Perhaps the best example of this can be seen in the Master Bedroom.

Here’s what the original carpeting looked like in the 1880s photos:

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And here’s what our recreation looks like:

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Not too shabby, right?

Since we didn’t have a lot to work with, any scraps of carpeting we found anywhere during the restoration were bagged, tagged, and saved for posterity.  Usually these scraps were found underneath molding, pinched in small corners, or even under the newel post of our grand staircase.  Here’s what we have left of what originally would have been countless yards of carpeting blanketing the rooms and halls of the Campbell House.

The process for selecting new, period-appropriate carpeting during Campbell House’s restoration was no small task.  With the help of local company Andres Carpet and their representative John Martin, we came up with MANY different patterns and color options from which to choose.  Some of them we liked, matched the original carpets perfectly and were eventually chose to use in the restored rooms.  And some of them we didn’t.  Here’s just a small taste of what we were presented with:

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One thought on “Peeling Back the Layers of Time—CARPETING

  1. Megan Maxwell says:

    Wonderful! I love seeing all of the old patterns and color combinations. Great post!

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