The Rosen House and the Music Room get a face lift.
After the final performance in the Music Room this December, the Rosen House began a winter full of touchups, restorations, cleaning, and new equipment installation. The changes have uplifted this central landmark of Caramoor and created a more welcoming experience for visitors — all beginning with the 16th-century Italian Gates that serve as the main entrance to the Rosen House and Spanish Courtyard.
16th-century Italian Gates
Removed in January, the gates were transported to Graney Metal Design in Massachusetts where the entire gate was sandblasted to clean the metal, and the details — scrolls, spears, etc. — were repaired. Their look changed from a rusted and flaking light gray to a deep, smooth gray to match the other recently restored ironwork gates, the Caldwell gates at the entrance to Lucie’s Porch.
Brought back in multiple pieces, it took a full day’s work to get the gates back together and in place. Now restored, returned, and re-installed, the entrance gates provide a clean and stately welcome into the Rosen House. Many thanks to Sandra Joys for underwriting this restoration.
The Music Room
Among the many projects that have taken place in the Music Room is the installation of a full HVAC system. Vent and return openings were cut into the floor and ceiling and equipment installed below. Once the HVAC system was prepped, the floors could be sanded and stained and the first two coats of polyurethane applied. Many thanks to Leslie and Jim Attwood and Judy and Tony Evnin for underwriting the HVAC and wall restoration.
The floors had to be covered as the team from Foreground Conservation got to work cleaning the walls and ceiling. While much of this was painstaking work, the work progressed quicker than expected. However, the stucco at the upper part of the walls is more dimensional and the cleaning technique was a bit more difficult. Conservators applied a putty-like substance to the walls and covered it with gauze. Slowly and carefully, the gauze was peeled away and years of dirt, dust, and smoke came away with it.
The red 16th-century damask and velvet valences that hang above the windows in the Music Room were brought to the Textile Conservation Workshop where the experts there stabilized and restored them and reattached missing tassels, all made possible by a generous donation from Floy and Amos Kaminski.
The Caldwell Gate at the West Foyer entrance was removed by Urban Aesthetics and brought to their studio to be cleaned, painted, and re-gilded as needed. One of the missing birds was also reattached. When it returned to Caramoor, there were colors Urban Aesthetic uncovered that no one had noticed before!
The art and furniture in the Rosen House were returned in the first week of April by Marshall Fine Arts who are skilled at handling and installing these pieces. While the art is familiar, some of its placement may not be as we enlisted the help of decorator and historian Thomas Jayne to bring new life to the objects in the room.
Formal Dining Room
In the Formal Dining Room, cracks in the papier-mâché of the Chippendale over-mantel above the fireplace have been filled with an oat fiber putty, then the painted and gilded areas were retouched. This piece is actually a composite of styles — the lower portion is iconic Chippendale with its chinoiserie figures and the upper portion is a mix of rococo elements that Walter Rosen purchased from Adolph Loewi. The artist who assembled these disparate pieces was probably hired by Walter and worked on the piece in situ.
In addition to repairing and repainting the damaged areas of the ceiling, the team has been busy installing HVAC in the Formal Dining Room as well. UV protective shades have been installed in the breakfast nook to protect the wallpaper, and the silk covering the shades on the Caldwell chandelier was replaced as it was in tatters. This restoration was also made possible by a generous donation from Floy and Amos Kaminski.
La Loggia Bedroom
While preparing the room for a fresh coat of paint, conservators from Foreground Conservation uncovered a moss green color, which they believe to be the color of the walls when the Rosens were in residence. After a brief discussion, the consensus was to return the wall color as Mr. Rosen probably preferred it to be.
A small unfinished patch on the wall will tell the story of the layers of paint for future generations in Grand Central Terminal style. This project was made possible by a donation from Nina and Michael Stanton. UV window shades have also been installed here to protect the newly painted panels and the paper murals from sun damage.
Visitor Services and the new Box Office
The Visitor Services team has moved into the east wing of the House with the Box Office occupying the former the gift shop and administrative offices on the second floor. The Rosen House front office has been given a refresh with a new coat of paint and new carpet and we are planning a small seating area to accommodate visitors.
Come see the updates for yourself this spring and schedule a Rosen House Tour, attend an upcoming concert, or join us for Afternoon Tea.
Main photo by Gabe Palacio