And the formal dining room is now the Pilates Studio…

One of the first actions I took on moving to Maine was to purchase a Peak Reformer/Tower conversion unit. Not only was this a way for me to work over the summer and stay connected to my dancing body, I realized that some day I might want to teach in Maine.

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This room is in the middle of the house, downstairs. It was originally a formal dining room and was – from what we can tell – probably the most elegant room in the house. For one thing, it was grain painted: all of the wood trim, molding, baseboards, fireplace mantel – it was all painted to look like either oak or marble. If you enlarge the photo above and look closely, you can see the faux marble painting just below the mantel shelf. There was an extraordinary level of artisanship under layers of second- , third-, and fourth-generation paint. We could get to only hints of it and were not able to save any significant amount of that original work. The room was originally wall-papered; the floor was never finished but covered with a linoleum carpet. There were two antique light fixtures (originally for candles or gas?) and it looked as if they were positioned to hang over the ends of a long table. Each was framed with an ornate plaster escutcheon.

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Starting on high: Don covered the ceiling with pressed tin squares, and re-wired for a single antique light fixture. He added trim to the edge where the walls meet ceiling.  We found the antique wall paper in NYC at “Second Hand Rose” on 5th Avenue (thanks Suzanne and Jon. That place was quirkily out of time: shelves and shelves of rolls of wall paper that the owner had collected from hardware store attics and home storage from across the US! ) Some walls are entirely papered, others partially papered and partially painted with lime wash, which gives texture to the plaster. Yes, Don re-plastered the room – after he stripped all the trim down to the bare wood. This was no mean feat as the trim around the doors is multi-surfaced – like….eight surfaces in flow. Finally, he and his brother, David, pulled up the linoleum, sanded the wide board planks, dug grit and dirt out from between the cracks with a dental tool (I have no idea where that came from….) and pickled and polyurethaned it. Et voilà. We have a Pilates Studio beauteous enough to be a dining room, should we ever decide to carry all that equipment upstairs…..  (not happening!)

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