The revised interpretation of the 1684 kitchen required an examination of what the original surfaces would have looked like. It has been fairly well-documented that original seventeenth and eighteenth century floors were not varnished. Varnish was not available and shellac would have been too expensive. To create a more authentic look to the kitchen, we were asked to remove the varnish. For some protection, we recommended the application of floor oil.
For this historic wood finish restoration project, we also conducted an investigation of the west entrance door, which had been rebuilt several times in the history of the house. At some point in the 1970s, granite blocks were installed, concealing the lower part of the wood pilasters that flanked the door. The blocks were moved aside and the lower panels removed for conservation. Since there was photographic proof of a different entrance structure, we carefully removed part of the existing pediment, discovering that the entire substructure dated from the 1970s. We were able to obtain some indication of the original size for the doorway by removing several clapboards to determine where the original interior boarding stopped. From this, we were able to determine that the original entrance was considerably wider than the current one, and likely contained side lights. Further investigation and archaeological investigation will be necessary to determine the accuracy of this theory.