The Chandler Room

Joseph Everett Chandler, an early specialist in preservation architecture, extensively remodeled the house in 1916-1917. He removed the back portion of the house and rebuilt it with this library that, since 1957, has been called the Chandler room. It begun as kitchen located in a lean-to built against the rear wall of the house before 1742. Susan Nichols reported in 1893 “for some years after we had the house an immense fireplace with high mantelpiece jutted into the kitchen. ….this fireplace was cut away and within it another fireplace was discovered, and still another within that. At the back of the latter were two little ovens and I believe there were settles at the side.”[G-Z text, p. 25.]

Chandler planned the room to represent the house’s earliest Colonial architecture, much of which in the front part of the house had been covered by later remodeling. He retained the long, narrow shape of the lean-to, laid down a brick floor when he found original bricks under nineteenth century flooring, and repaired the huge fireplace, whose chimney stack may date from 1717. The room’s massive corner posts are copied from those in the East Chamber, the roughest in the house but also the only ones never cased. However, Chandler exaggerated the crudeness of the beams, leaving adze marks where the originals were carefully smoothed. The dark, beaded wood paneling, small windows, heavy posts and primitive woodwork are signature elements of an early twentieth century Colonial Revival style room. As such, it is a better example of the sophisticated taste and restoration philosophy of that period than of the vernacular Colonial on which it was based. Now it is itself a period room.