The interior of this elaborate Victorian in Harvard Square had been gutted in the early ’60s. The new owners had a vision to create a room, a paneled library, which would feel as if it had been entirely original to the building itself. Their designers procured a couple of period architectural objects which provided focal points for the design of the room.
One was an antique, Dutch-produced mirror, which helped to determine the wood species, wood finish, and molding profiles for the panels. This was set over the fireplace surround. S+H worked closely with the designer in order to prepare the framing of the room for the intricacies of the installation. Four of our best carpenters put that room together – Steve Larsen, Jim Macauley, Sami Dzebiç, and Henry Chang.
The fireplace was completely new, built from the ground up, just like all the fireplaces in the house. The surrounds and mantels save for one or two were antique stone sourced by the interior design team They were restored, outfitted, and set in place by the team from ASTI (Associated Stone/Tile International). Each firebox opening had to be constructed at precisely the size and level that accommodated the specific existing mantels and surrounds. In addition, these individual design values were carried through to the chimneys above the roof.
It can’t be said that this work is a restoration of the gutted Victorian rooms because there was no original to go back to. It is a recreation of a room that could plausibly be original to the house. In a sense, we were just letting the house be itself, as best as we could understand it. These two antique focal points help to give the room conviction. Judge for yourself if this dark and quiet library space seem entirely Victorian as if designed and crafted in the period.