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Mark Twain Mahogany Suite Project Has Been Awarded The AIA Connecticut 2020 Elizabeth Mills Brown Award Of Excellence

Work done at Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut.

an AIA Connecticut 2020 Elizabeth Mills Brown Award of Excellence

Cheshire CT, September 2020:  The AIA Connecticut 2020 Elizabeth Mills Brown Award was awarded for the work completed at the Mahogany Suite at the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. John Canning & Co., restored the architectural woodwork and plaster as well as reinstated the wallcoverings in The Mahogany Suite. This award comes after the project has been recognized and won the 2020 Preservation Connecticut Award, the 2020 Palladio Award and the 2020 Bullfinch Award in the Craftsmanship/Artisanship for the Mahogany Suite work.

The Elizabeth Mills Brown Award is Jointly presented by AIA Connecticut and Preservation Connecticut, the Elizabeth Mills Brown award recognizes projects that are noteworthy both as respectful preservation of historic places and as excellent architectural designs. The award is named for the architectural historian and preservationist Elizabeth Mills Brown, who as writer and activist awakened Connecticut residents to the state’s architectural riches and the need to protect them.

The Mark Twain House and Museum was built in 1874, was originally the home of author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who you may recognize under the pen name, Mark Twain. The Mark Twain House and Museum was one of the first one-hundred properties in the nation to be designated a National Landmark. Designed in a Victorian Gothic Revival style, the Mahogany Suite was best known as the guest suite where the family would host their guests and close friends. Before the restoration, the space had been closed since the Early 2000’s.

The Mahogany Suite project involved various levels of craftsmanship from John Canning & Co., to restore a key room in the Mark Twain House & Museum for its visitors to be able to enjoy and experience a glimpse into the life of Mark Twain. This project required an understanding of traditional historic finishes in order to be able to return the space to the “royal chamber” it was famously known for. The woodwork throughout the suite had incurred serious water damage in multiple areas and the overall interior was unfortunately suffering from staining and failing finishes. The original mahogany woodwork was stripped and restored to its historic finish using traditional aniline dyes. The plaster had sustained serious water damage in several areas and was repaired and restored. The historic wallcoverings, were reinstated throughout the space. Within the Mahogany suite, five different wallpapers were used to restore the interior: the ceiling, frieze, wall field, wainscot, and baseboard border. Traditional wallpaper installation techniques needed to be used in order to make the wallpapers blend seamlessly. David Scott Parker did historic finishes research to determine wallpaper design.

Through a team effort from the General Contractor Downes Construction and Architect David Scott Parker, and John Canning & Co. the Mark Twain House and Museum’s Mahogany Suite can now be enjoyed by the tens of thousands of visitors it gets every year.

Mark Twain House

Located in Cheshire, CT., John Canning & Co., is one of the nation’s experts in historic restoration, conservation and preservation. John Canning & Co. offers services in a variety of areas including: conservation, planning, designing, historic paint analysis, plaster condition surveys, restoration, decorative finishes and painting, budgeting and consulting.  John Canning & Co. with over 40 years of experience has received numerous awards and have been entrusted to restore state capitols, courthouses, churches, libraries, museums, theatres, educational establishments and other historic buildings.

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