Library Restoration

RESTORATION HIGHLIGHT – Library, 2020 (Ongoing)

Although not yet fully restored, the Lucknow Mansion’s library now much more closely resembles its appearance during the Plant era. Beginning in 2018, the modern wallpaper was removed as Castle staff searched for traces of the silk wallcovering seen in historic photos of this room. The room remained in this state as the restoration team sourced appropriate materials and sought contractors who would be able to bring the space back to its original glory.


In February of 2020, the restoration process was kick-started as the team from Peter Lord Plaster & Paint demolished the inglenook’s modern ceiling and replicated the original plaster cove ceiling. Once this project was complete, a restoration specialist stripped and refinished the wood paneling. The goal was to match an unaltered section of woodwork found in the doorway to the secret room. This wood frame was coated in colorless shellac and had not been exposed to the layers of amber shellac added later to the rest of the room.


With the wood refinished, the ceiling received a fresh coat of paint to match original traces found elsewhere in the home. The walls were also painted a neutral tone that gives visitors a better sense of the original color scheme. Eventually, the walls will be recovered with a silk damask fabric to recreate the appearance of the room circa 1924, as seen in photos taken during the Plant residency.


The sofa and banquettes (purchased by the Plants and visible in historic photos of the room) also received some attention. These seats were reupholstered at least once or twice since the Plants’ occupation. During the research phase of the project, the restoration team discovered scraps of the original mohair on the underside of the sofa. After sourcing an appropriate fabric, Rollins Upholstery recovered the pieces to recreate their original appearance. 


In addition to installing the silk wallcovering, a few projects are still planned to complete the restoration of this room. The Martha Washington armchair and window seat cushion will need to be recovered with appropriate fabric, and new curtains and lace sheers are needed to complete the transformation. We encourage visitors to stop by and see how this project is progressing!