The Theodore Wood House

Project Overview

“The Theodore Wood House, constructed in 1885 in Marshfield, Vermont, is a striking example of the French Second Empire style located in an unspoiled rural setting.”

“The Theodore Wood House is significant as the last surviving example of the Second Empire style in Marshfield, and as a rare regional example of this style still retaining its original integrity of design, function, feeling and association.  The residence stands today as an enduring testament to the artistry and imagination of nineteen-year-old Chester James Wood, a Marshfield native son who became the town’s most prominent architect and builder of the late nineteenth century.”

The current owners and stewards of the house contacted us in the hope of re-creating a part of the house that has been gone for fifty years or so.  Old photographs show that there was a small barn and connecting structure attached to the ell.  Ultimately, the homeowners have a goal of restoring both structures to the house, but decided to begin with the connecting structure.  Shadow-lines on the gable of the ell were preserved and show where the addition was attached and its size.  Using the shadow-lines and the photographs we designed the new connecting structure with direction from the homeowners.  The granite foundation of a barn that was once part of the estate was recycled to become the foundation of the new structure.

The frame

The frame was raised by hand with the assistance of a gin pole and block-and-tackle.  Our friend Michael Cotroneo fabricated the two custom transom windows.  Salvaged slate was used for the roofing material and is capped with a custom copper ridge.  The homeowner, who has painstakingly restored the original details of the house both inside and out, did all of the finish work himself and carefully matched the clapboard and trim details to the rest of the house.  All of the quotes above were taken from an account of the house’s history written and researched by the homeowner.

Project Pictures

The Theodore Wood House
The Theodore Wood house.

The Theodore Wood house.
The boards on the gable indicate where the previous addition once stood.

The boards on the gable indicate where the previous addition once stood.
A granite foundation from a barn that had burned down on the property was scattered in a field across the road.  We retrieved the granite for the new foundation.

A granite foundation from a barn that had burned down on the property was scattered in a field across the road. We retrieved the granite for the new foundation.
Crushed slate was used for the floor of the addition.

Crushed slate was used for the floor of the addition.
View of the foundation before tamping and final grading.

View of the foundation before tamping and final grading.
The new sills are set on the foundation.

The new sills are set on the foundation.
The bent nearest the house use an english tying joint so that the tie beam would not interfere with an existing doorway.  The other two bents used drop ties to provide space for a loft.

The bent nearest the house use an english tying joint so that the tie beam would not interfere with an existing doorway. The other two bents used drop ties to provide space for a loft.
Detail of the plate cog where the english tie rests.

Detail of the plate cog where the english tie rests.
With the help of  good friends, the first posts are raised by hand.

With the help of good friends, the first posts are raised by hand.
The other two bents are assembled and positioned to be lifted into place.

The other two bents are assembled and positioned to be lifted into place.
We decided to use a gin pole made of hop-hornbeam instead of a crane to lift this frame.

We decided to use a gin pole made of hop-hornbeam instead of a crane to lift this frame.
We stopped to discuss the next pick after lifting the second bent into place.

We stopped to discuss the next pick after lifting the second bent into place.
The third bent begins its ascent.

The third bent begins its ascent.
The first rafter plate is lowered into place.

The first rafter plate is lowered into place.
Michael gives the plate a gentle tap to send it home.

Michael gives the plate a gentle tap to send it home.
View through an adze swept rafter.

View through an adze swept rafter.
With the rafters in place, Seth Kelley begins to board the roof.

With the rafters in place, Seth Kelley begins to board the roof.
Seth Kelley dipped into his stockpile of recycled slate for this project.

Seth Kelley dipped into his stockpile of recycled slate for this project.
The homeowner did all of the custom cutting for his new roof.

The homeowner did all of the custom cutting for his new roof.
Seth Kelley nears completion of the first side of the roof.

Seth Kelley nears completion of the first side of the roof.
   


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