“I like to think of the ironwork on a house like this as something like its glasses,” Gretchen Davis of StandFast Works Forge said. A really heavy pair of glasses. Tim Greene and Gretchen Davis drove up to Augusta from Parsonsfield this week to start their work on restoring the house’s historic ironwork, a combination of cast and wrought iron.
The ironwork on the front of the Gannett House is an important feature of the home’s design. The beaux arts style ironwork enhances the symmetrical appearance of the home’s façade. It highlights the European influence on the home’s design, which was built by the W.H. Gannett for his son Guy during a trip to Italy. In a letter home to Guy, his father wrote, “I am pleased to know that you have sold your house at a satisfactory price, and also am glad to hear that Mr. James [Thomas James, architect] thinks the articles we bought in Florence will be all right for your new home. I thought while I was there that it was certainly just the place for an architect who is working into Italian style villas.” (18 June, 1911).
The ironwork is a combination of cast iron and wrought iron hand-forged elements. It has been exposed to moisture damage over its more than 100-year life that has introduced structural failures and damage to connections between the cast iron and decorative elements. Tim will clean and remove flaking paint from the grills and railings, restore broken and replicate missing hand-worked ornamentation, and refinish the ironwork to its original historic character and integrity.
The grills and railings will be reinstalled after the window restoration, stucco work, and exterior painting are complete, so the original architectural intent for the Gannett House façade will shine.