The Orland P Bassett house has been transformed from a A Hot Mess to a neat construction site. But what happened to all the stuff?
The fire destroyed much of the interior, but anything that could be saved was carefully labeled and sent to appropriate restoration shops or storage facilities. Much of the woodwork like mantles and paneling ended up at Furniture Medic in Carol Stream, Illinois. We decided to pay it a visit and make the final decision of what can be saved, and what has outlived it’s useful life and needs to be tossed and replicated.
Seeing the backdrop of years of memories reduced to piles of artifacts documented and stacked in a impersonal warehouse was surreal. I can only imagine how difficult it was for our clients.
What was once full of charm and grace looks cold and lifeless. But today, we were all here to put emotions aside and make decisions.
Thankfully, David Post had carefully labeled the pieces as he disassembled the historic Bassett House during the fire restoration process. Rick Armstrong showed us around his shop and explained what comes next. The process of stripping, cleaning, repairing and refinishing is tedious and done by hand, so it gets pricey.
The romantics among us want to save everything, but that’s why we have Dave. He evaluated the condition of each piece along with how difficult it would be to replace it today.
Some of the pieces were not original, or had been bastardized along the way. They will not be saved.
Water damage is the most difficult to deal with, but 119 years of wear also sent many pieces to the dumpster. We did not salvage any baseboards or casings. Much of it was damaged, and feathering old pieces with the new replacement wood would be a costly nightmare. Instead, profiles were documented and knives will be made to create exact replicas.