CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 13

SMALL RENOVATION
The Mark Twain House & Museum Mahogany Suite Restoration
Downes Construction Co., LLC
Iconic American writer Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen
name Mark Twain, and his family lived in this historic home from 1874
to 1891. The renovation of the "Mahogany Suite," the former guest
quarters on the first floor known for its custom mahogany furnishings and woodwork, was one of seven renovation projects in three
buildings on the Twain House campus funded by a $2.2 million grant
from the State of Connecticut. Downes Construction established
a collaborative team, including the esteemed David Scott Parker
Architects and a group of talented craftsmen, to see through an
expedited design/build project from concept to completion, saving
time and money.
The Mahogany Suite, unlike other rooms in the historic home, did
not have well-documented and preserved decorations, period-era
photographs or detailed historic descriptions. The state-of-the -art
renovation of the historic 1881 Gilded Age building restored the
suite's namesake mahogany woodwork and cabinetry, installed the
Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers, which recreated the original
designer's distinctive wall and ceiling paper designs and patched
and repaired the original horsehair plaster walls.
The project team selected custom-made "Honeycomb" and
"Spiderweb" wall coverings from the designs of the original room
designer, Associated Artists' Candace Wheeler. England's Fret
Fabrics designed and custom produced the carpeting using a
late 19th Century design. Urban Aesthetics also employed late

19th Century techniques to rewire and restore the original gas light
fixtures. Bradbury Art Wallpapers of California recreated the historic
room's wallpapers by referencing archival materials and viewing the
only remaining installation still in existence. Hess Restorations of
New York City repaired the damaged ceramic tiles from the Dressing
Room fireplace hearth.
The team overcame numerous challenges during the renovation.
They discovered a severely deteriorated original timber beam supporting a masonry wall above and used steel and engineered lumber
to replace the beam within the existing space. The suite was closed
for a decade before the renovation, and its reopening has stirred
renewed interest in the historic home, which National Geographic
has named one of 10 Best Historic Homes in the World.

Miss Porter's School Admissions Center (Merit Award)
O&G Industries
This renovation of a circa 1650s grist mill in Farmington Historic
District married the building's unsquared, unlevel structure and
historic ambiance with modern HVAC, electrical, solar and safety
systems. The team encountered a series of challenges. Opening
walls, work crews routinely encountered decayed structural members or unknown piping and wiring and halted the task at hand to
weigh workaround decisions.
"Working in a historical building presents a number of challenges
to preserve the historical feel of the building," O&G spokesman Seth
Duke wrote in an email. "The mill building was a post and beam
construction. This made it very difficult to run ducts to both floors
and conceal them with the first-floor joists exposed. There were
also small restrictions in the attic space that made it challenging
to split mechanical systems."
O&G, architect Drummey Rosane Anderson and subcontractors
collaborated to overcome those challenges and successfully complete a "one-of-a-kind renovation of an iconic Farmington landmark,"
according to a description in the project application. The project
team took a number of steps to ensure the renovated mill had an

authentically-old appearance and fit in with the historic architecture
that characterizes the rest of the school. That included sourcing
historic building materials, including 18th Century yellow pine floor
boards from a structure in New York state, building kitchen cabinetry
with rough sawn pine and wrapping glued laminate beams in pine
that was then distressed and finished to model the appearance of
the original beams.
CONNstruction / SUMMER 2018 / 13



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CONNstruction - Summer 2018

The Next Step in Transportation
Connecticut’s Construction Apprenticeship Programs Strive to Maintain Their Edge
2018 Build CT Awards
AGC of Connecticut’s 2017 Industry Recognition Awards
CAAPA/ConnDot Paving Awards
The 2017 Arthur Gruhn Excellence in Construction Awards
#TimesUp for the Construction Industry?
2018 Build Connecticut Awards Dinner and 71st Annual Meeting
CAAPA Paving Conference
Ethics and Compliance Summit
Joint Forces Luncheon
CCIA/AGC CT – Young Contractor’s Forum
Move CT Forward Press Conference
Index to Advertisers/Advertiser.com
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - Intro
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - cover1
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - cover2
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 3
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 4
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 5
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 6
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - The Next Step in Transportation
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 8
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - Connecticut’s Construction Apprenticeship Programs Strive to Maintain Their Edge
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 2018 Build CT Awards
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 11
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 12
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 13
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 14
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 15
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - AGC of Connecticut’s 2017 Industry Recognition Awards
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 17
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - CAAPA/ConnDot Paving Awards
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 19
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - The 2017 Arthur Gruhn Excellence in Construction Awards
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 21
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - #TimesUp for the Construction Industry?
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 23
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 2018 Build Connecticut Awards Dinner and 71st Annual Meeting
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - CAAPA Paving Conference
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - Joint Forces Luncheon
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - CCIA/AGC CT – Young Contractor’s Forum
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - Move CT Forward Press Conference
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - Index to Advertisers/Advertiser.com
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - 30
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - cover3
CONNstruction - Summer 2018 - cover4
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