Booth Room Restoration: Phase I Complete
The Directors of The Players Foundation for Theatre Education are delighted to report that with the generous support from members of The Players, The Booth Guild Patrons, and other organizations, we’ve been able to complete Phase 1 of The Booth Room Restoration.
Stop by and see the incredible work that took place over the summer, and read below to understand the specifics of the project.
We contracted with Femenella & Associates to remove the original 1845 window sashes from all windows on the north wall of the house. Since they were part of our landmarked façade, special care was taken to keep as much original material as possible. Some mullions were beyond repair and had to be replaced, others were repaired and reinstalled along with the original glass panes. Once the windows were reinstalled, we installed an extra pane of UV glass over each individual window to add insulation and to protect the room from daylight. We now see what Mr. Booth saw when he looked out at Gramercy Park.
The interior shutters which had been hidden by shades and plastic sheeting for years, were removed and taken off-site to be stripped and re-painted. After investigation, Evergreene Architectural Arts, our interior surface experts, were able to identify the 1888 paint color that was part of Architect Stanford White’s design for the room. A three-step painting process was developed to re-create the original look. All original hardware was retained, cleaned, and re-installed. When you look, be sure to note the “teapot” window locks.
The trim around the windows, the baseboards in the bedroom, and the bedroom side of the archway separating the bedroom from the sitting room were meticulously stripped with a non-toxic paste and then re-painted with the 3-step process described above.
Using old photographs and a small sample of the original bedroom wallpaper (found under an electrical plate) we were able to re-create and install the wall covering in the bedroom area. On the north wall of the sitting room, we attempted to clean the wall covering, only to learn that the wood pulp wallpaper and water-soluble ink would not allow us to do too much. Loose sections were re-glued to the wall and meticulous in-painting covered some bare spots. Through careful observation, we also discovered a hand painted/stenciled design below the chair rail. We have left a section of the original painting (behind the desk) and re-created the design in a few sections that you can clearly view on the north wall.
Again, with old photographs and by peeling back layers of paint on the bedroom ceiling, we were able to re-create the original look – and it’s quite spectacular.
Furniture and Lighting
As we disassembled the room, we discovered that three chairs were in desperate need of restoration. We engaged Eli Rios, our furniture expert, who has worked in the clubhouse before, to complete this work. Additionally, the sconces on the north wall above the desk were removed, re-wired, polished, and re-installed. Lighting was also added to the bedroom area to highlight the room’s features.
Photographs and Artwork
A significant number of photographs were sent to Lewis and Flores Framing to be professionally cleaned and restored. Where possible, original frames were saved, repaired, and cleaned. All pieces received new, acid-free matting as needed and museum glass for added UV protection. We sincerely thank Michael Gerbino & Elizabeth Jackson for returning each piece to its exact location.
We’re thrilled to have met our goal of having the room re-opened for members as the clubhouse on September 5, and we’ll soon be working with our architect, Tom Fenniman, to fine tune the list of projects for Phase 2.