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The Renovation of the Jenny Lind Continues

The Before and After photos of our renovation of the historic Jenny Lind House are quite significant. As with any old house restoration… these projects have a tendency to take on a mind of their own and the progress that you make seems like it takes an eternity. We have been slowly but surely, as the old adage goes, chipping away at bringing this beauty back to life.

I’m excited to share some of the progress that we have made, for we are finally at the phase of “putting the pretty” into the renovation. All of the structural issues and the systems have been completed,  from the HVAC to new plumbing, new electrical to new structural elements and support, to current water treatment standards… we have met them all. Now it is time to dress her up!

This post is to give you a little snippet of where we are as she begins to get all of her finishing touches put into place and to reaffirm how far we have come in our own minds, for often it seems as if nothing has happened when you a tackle a project of this size.

I wrote about the history of the Jenny Lind House in detail in this prior blog post but the history that I have not delved into is the story that was taking place prior to us finding out that this beauty was available for another layer to be added onto its deep foundation.

The prior owner had housed a formal restaurant within its walls and had decorated those walls with a highly Victorian decor. While the furnishings spoke to that era well, they didn’t allow natural light into the house and had frankly, taken over the beauty of the bones of the house. Along with that, there was so much water damage that had occurred to the interior  walls that nothing was salvageable with their finishes. The house was also built in the 1830’s which was prior to the fashionable Victorian style of the late 1800’s so its interiors, while high ceilinged and well decorated with its trim work, would have been much simpler.

Former Dining Room in the First Floor

Upon painstakingly scraping and peeling off all the layers of the 1980’s wallpaper (there was a large stash of extra rolls in the attic with their original packaging so the date was evident) there were no dark colors of paint underneath. In fact, all of the colors that we uncovered by this process or layers that were peeking out from the layers of peeling plaster were pale in nature.

This little find set the tone for the color palette that we are using in this renovation, which is pale and light with a few areas of a darker shade of the same color. We want the feel of the rooms to be light and airy, for the light in the upstairs is magical. It is our intent to let all of the architectural features of the house speak for themselves as well as to let the curvature of the window walls shine and be the focus rather than heavy dark paint colors and wall coverings.

This is how we are choosing the paint colors. We are testing all of the possibilities of the same color in different shades to see how the light changes them. The entire house will not be of the same colors, especially the bedrooms but we want a really cohesive feel.

The replication of the original trim work that had been pulled out or replaced over the years with inappropriate styles has been another goal of ours in the restoration and is a focus of the design.

We will be sharing much more in depth documentation of this renovation project when she is fully completed but until then, I would like to share with you snippets of the major progress thus far. We plan to continue sharing updates regularly as the completion of the Jenny Lind is our major focus as we move into the summer months.

These dark green trimmed windows are now the ones you see in the photos below in the foreground and all of the old busted and broken radiators have been pulled out to make way for the new heating system that was put in.

The fireplace below had been split in half by a newer constructed wall. Notice the hearth that was not original in the half of the fireplace that you can see.

Below the wall has been removed and the cavity of the fireplace revealed.

Wait for it….

Tada! Isn’t she beautiful fully revealed?

The restaurant used the back of the house, the late 1700’s portion as its kitchen. I felt strongly that there was something behind all of those FRP kitchen sanitation walls but had no idea that it would be this…

This revelation along with the taking down of a wall next to the fireplace in the other room revealed that there was not only one fireplace in that back space, as we knew… but two! And not only two fireplaces but two gorgeous murals that were painted during PAFA’s reign in the village in the 1920’s. (Pennsylvanias Academy of Fine Arts)

After some major stone repointing, we have revealed the beauty that lies beneath and again, we will be letting that shine in the final product.

And yes, we took out the ceiling that was above this room that you can see in the prior photos with the florescent lights hanging on it and this huge gaping hole in it. The removal of that ceiling allows the light from the small windows above to flow down and fill the room with light.

It is funny, for it struck me as I was penning this post, that when we work on the restoration of ourselves, we often do not think that we have made any progress…that our goals that we had set for ourselves have not been reached. But if we could have a visual recording of what has improved, similar to the photos that I have just posted of the progress that has been made, we’d see that our small micro steps add up to make quite a difference. In reality, we are actually  much closer to reaching those goals than we ever think that we could possibly be. Sure, there have been set backs, sometimes way too many to count, but if we keep chipping away at it…

 

The beauty will be revealed!

Please stay tuned as we share more of this transformation in the weeks leading up to opening her doors again so that you can partake in the lightness and beauty of her transformation.

xoxo,

Meg

 

P.S. Here you can find a past blog where I elaborated on the design inspiration behind all that we are doing to bring the Jenny Lind House back to life and the images that steer us closer to her full design.

 

 

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  1. Liz Finley says:

    Meg,
    What a labor of love! It is so exciting to see the development of your project, something that will clearly be a gem for the community. Can’t wait to see it in person.
    Liz

    • Meg Veno says:

      Hi Liz,

      Thank you for following along! We truly hope that this project adds to the beauty and uniqueness that is Historic Yellow Springs Village and we cannot wait for you to visit in person!
      XX
      Meg

  2. Lois wysocki says:

    What a gift you are giving us, your readers/customers/clients. Thank you for taking the time to share the evolution of the Jenny Lind house!

    • Meg Veno says:

      Thank you Lois for reading and following along! We are so thrilled that you are excited about it and we look forward to showing her to you in person!
      XX
      Meg

  3. Kiki Ade says:

    The Happy spirits that live within the walls R pleased U have gotten the message finding the revaluation about yourself
    Thank for Sharing 🌻

    • Meg Veno says:

      Hi Kiki!

      It was our pleasure to share and I think the house is winking at us with its revelation.

      Thanks for following along!
      XX Meg

  4. Joyce Danko says:

    What a lovely old home! Fun for this “old school” painter to watch unfold. Im Ben Moore skilled, an original muralist, now academic painter and colorist- the magic IS the right ingredients, not the color chip. times have changed all paint and regulations concerning lead and oils, But I hope that the house gets the “first say” of color!

    • Meg Veno says:

      Hello Joyce,

      You then truly have an appreciation for the color selection and how the house is revealing its own past in regards to that! We have encapsulated paint during the demo as best as we have been able to and that has been an arduous task in and of itself but well worth it! We look forward to having you come see the “art” itself!
      XX
      Meg

  5. Donna Patriarca says:

    Meg, Wow! The progress that you have made. Love the hidden murals and the beautiful fireplaces that were uncovered. Can’t wait to see the final reveal!

    • Meg Veno says:

      Hi Donna!

      So glad that you like the progress thus far! We cannot wait to show you how she has come along Donna!
      XX
      Meg

  6. Sheri ONeill says:

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve been wondering what you were doing with this amazing building. Wow! I had no idea! What a labor of love. You’ve made it so light and airy and I loved the many surprises beneath the surface. I never liked that building in the past. Too dark and stuffy. Cant wait to see your progress.

    • Meg Veno says:

      Dear Sheri,

      I am so glad that you like the light and airy aspect of the restoration! The house truly was so very dark and the natural light in its interior is just lovely when the rest of the interior is as well! Thank you for commenting and for following along.
      We cannot wait for you to see her when she is finished!
      XX
      Meg

  7. Judy DiFilippo says:

    Meg –
    You are doing such a wonderful job with your ‘new’ old house! I can’t wait to see your finished work!

    Thank you for preserving another special historical resource in Chester County!

    • Meg Veno says:

      Dear Judy,
      Thank you for following along on this restoration and you are quite welcome! It is an honor and a pleasure to be able to bring back the beauty and the luster that these historically significant buildings hold!
      We cannot wait to show her off!
      XX
      Meg

  8. Lee Ann Michener says:

    Hello.
    I was in the village, tending to the Triangle Garden with a friend in may. That is when we learned of your project. Everything you are doing just warms my heart. Chester County and its architectural heritage is to me, so beautiful. I love how the Jenny Lind House is being restored. I can’t wait to see the finished project.

    • Meg Veno says:

      Thank you Lee Ann for both your kind comment and your tending to the garden in the village! I totally agree with you in that Chester County’s architectural history is one that, due to its beauty and significance, needs to be protected! We cannot wait to show her off when she is finished!
      Thank you for letting us know hoe interested you are in the village and its restoration!

      XX
      Meg