It’s all in the details

Working set of pocket doors going to the library

While I’m waiting for our newly refinished floor to cure so that I can finish the stenciling and move in to my new room, I thought I’d share some of the more intricate treasures in the house with you more closely.  Although our house is not the typical over the top Victorian that one may think of when they hear the word Victorian, the Queen Anne style certainly suits our tastes and the detailing that we do have is superb.

We have both mentioned the woodwork in the downstairs and front hallway before, solid cherry paneling.  I think we have also mentioned that there are sliding pocket doors downstairs, seven to be exact.  The difficult piece for us in this is the work we’ll need to do to get them all rolling again.  Only three of them work smoothly, but we have figured out how to repair them without damaging or even taking apart the woodwork.  The tracks that the doors live on can be raised and lowered within each housing case, and once we start working on a set, Bill will likely take you through the process on how we can maneuver them.

Swinging door push plate

Each door has beautiful hardware inset handles and locks.  When we first came to the house, I had assumed that this hardware was bronze.  To my surprise, when polished, it is a rose colored brass or copper plated.  I can’t polish all of the hardware fully, so as not to wear down the plating, but fresh lime juice and sea salt work wonders.  My favorite piece of hardware so far is the push plate on the swinging door between the pantry and the dining room.  I think we’ve been very lucky that so much of the hardware is intact and in good shape.  Many houses are stripped of the hardware simply because of its worth.

Along with the door and window hardware, the floor hardware is stunning.  Yes, the floor hardware.  We have heavy iron floor registers in each room leading to our basement oil furnace.  Actually, my studio register is not connected to anything, thus leaving that room with no heat.  But, in all other rooms, there is a large register.

A single unique register in the kitchen floor

In only room is the register in the wall, and I believe we have three types of registers.  Most of them are quite large and replaceable if we ever needed to get a new one.  However, to replace a single register alone would cost $300. For each room that we have worked in, we’ve cleaned and repainted the registers.  Mostly they are dull and rusty, but shine up quite nicely with high gloss black paint.

Once again, Vandyke’s Restorers is our go to place for finding any hardware replacements.  I’ve had to buy window sash locks and strike plates through them, and we have appreciated the quality they serve up.

Not all of the glorious details we’ve found have originated in the house itself.  As we go, (slowly), we are adding tidbits to each room to make them unique and sassy.  The Victorian era was full of flourish and mismatched floral patterns.  I can’t say that we’ll end up with a house reeking of 1890, but I can say that we are intending to create an updated Victorian feel.

Unreal, right?

This past holiday, in a small art co-op in South Carolina, we came upon a perfect detail to add to our dining room.  A porcelain switch plate, painted ideally for our already stenciled walls.  I was in shock when I found it and bought it without hesitation.  I’ve even thought of writing the company to let them know how perfect it is for us.  Take a peek, the company that makes these plates is called “Now that’s a switch“.

More details to come, as we continue to unfold!

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According to History

The History of 60 West Main Street

Long before 60 West Main Street was a separate village lot with a warm and inviting home upon it, the property was known as “Deer Park”.

Two doors west resides one of the older homes in Bainbridge. That home was built by Richard Juliand. Juliand’s property included what are now four separate lots, one of which would be used to build 60 West Main Street. But before these newer homes were built (60 and 62 were built first, completed in 1895) the property was known as Deer Park. It was a fenced in park with acreage for White Tailed Deer to graze upon.

Juliand decided to divide and sell the land of Deer Park into lots for development of the village. We have read in “The Stones of Jericho”, the written authority on local history of Bainbridge NY (originally named Jericho) that Juliand had sent the deer to England where a friend had a game preserve for various species of deer. His collection was more complete with American White Tails from Deer Park of Bainbridge!

The story of 60 West Main begins with a man named George Ives. George Ives was a local merchant. He was a man of decent means for the time and was able to afford to build a beautiful home.

The rail road in Bainbridge was (and still is) very active allowing affordable access to the mass-manufactured housing materials and goods of the late 1800’s. Most people mistake “Victorian” architecture for “handmade” however it is the Victorian Age that brings mass-manufactured goods and mill work to craftsmen making homes more elaborate and decorated than ever before! Intricate wooden moldings, brass and copper hardware, cast-plated lighting fixtures, porch spindles and columns, machined metalwork, stained glass windows, fish scale shingles … the list of building materials available goes on and on and the train brings them all to town!

George Ives finished the home in 1895. It isn’t clear when he started. Documents show that the parcel of land was divided and sold in 1888 and that the house was finished in 1895. It’s unlikely the construction took 7 years … not impossible, just unlikely.

George would father several children, one of which a son was named Irving. 

  60 West Main Street was the childhood home of  Irving Ives. Irving would later become a fairly famous NY politician … Here is some information from Wikipedia on Irving Ives:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Irving McNeil Ives (January 24, 1896 Bainbridge, Chenango County, New York – February 24, 1962 Norwich, Chenango County, NY) was an American politician from New York.

He served overseas in the U.S. Army during World War I, rising to the rank of first lieutenant before he left the army in 1919. He then attended Hamilton College and entered the banking and insurance businesses.

He was a Republican member of the New York State Assembly from 1930 to 1946; being Minority Leader in 1935, Speaker in 1936, and Majority Leader from 1937 to 1946.

Ives was the founding Dean of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. He appointed Maurice F. Neufeld to the faculty, who was later to rise to Professor Emeritus.

He was elected a U.S. Senator from New York in 1946, and re-elected in 1952, serving from 1947 to 1959.

He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1948, 1952 and 1956.

In 1954, he ran for Governor of New York. In one of the closest Governor’s races in state history, he was very narrowly defeated by Democrat W. Averell Harriman.

In New York state politics and in national Republican politics, he was known as a moderate member of his party and as a strong supporter of Thomas E. Dewey.

Ives served as the founding dean of the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and its primary building is named Ives Hall in his honor.

He died at Chenango Memorial Hospital in Norwich, NY, and was buried at the Greenlawn Cemetery in Bainbridge, NY.

Ives is best remembered for the success of his “Ives-Quinn Act”, passed in 1945, this act was one of the earliest examples of racial employment legislation. The Ives-Quinn Act pre-dated the Civil Rights Act by nearly twenty years.

Senator Irving Ives is remembered with his desk on display in the Chenango Museum where it is on display all year long.