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Randall House Museum, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada
http://wolfvillehs.ednet.ns.ca/


 

Historic Randall House

©McGill University


RANDALL HOUSE

A PRELIMINARY HISTORICAL CHECK LIST OF
CHARACTER DEFINING BUILDING ELEMENTS

STRUCTURAL AND ARCHITECTURAL, WITH COMMENT

THE MAIN HOUSE

By Eric Krause

Krause House Info-Research Solutions

November 14, 2008

Floor Plans (Source)

      

     

    

Basement

 

First Floor

 

Second Floor

 

Attic Floor

 

             

 

     

North Facade

 

West Facade

      

North-West

 

South-West

--------------------------------------

This guideline lists those physical elements (materials, features, structural, and their details) whether apparent or hidden,
that are important in defining the overall heritage value of historic Randall House as a colonial to Georgian house (1700 - 1830).

Elements of a later date, also worthy of preservation, are listed here too.

Keep in mind that elements not listed are not elements to be destroyed or replaced without first consulting the report titled:
Randall House Chronological Record of Upgrades and repairs

Additional research may add or delete elements.
 

ELEMENT

Common Name/Room Number/Geographic Location

DATE

FEATURE

DISCUSSION

-

-

-

-

EXTERIOR
WALLS

 

 

 

  • North Facade

 

1. Bevelled skirting board

2. Clapboards

3. North-West Corner board: recessed single panelled pilaster on a tall plinth, with a capital consisting of a frieze, back-band and shelf. The back band for the panels of the pilaster is a Georgian style Ogee.

4. North-East Corner board: recessed single panelled pilaster on a tall plinth, with a capital consisting of a frieze, back-band and shelf. The back band for the panels of the pilaster is a Georgian style Ogee.

5. Simple boxed eave consisting of a fascia, soffit, simple cornice, rake

6. Central entryway

7. Portico

 

6. A later upgrade

7. A later upgrade

  • West Facade

 

1. Bevelled skirting board

2. Clapboards (Upon flush, bevelled boards at least high in the gable end)

3. North-West Corner board: recessed single panelled pilaster on a tall plinth, with a capital consisting of a frieze, back-band and shelf. The back band for the panels of the pilaster is a Georgian style Ogee.

4. South-West Corner board: recessed single panelled pilaster on a low plinth, without a capital. The back band for the panels of the pilaster is a Georgian style Ogee.

5. Short eave returns

6. Simple gable rake consisting of a fascia, soffit, simple cornice, rake

 

 

South-West Corner Board

    

 

  • South Facade

 

1. [Clapboards]

2. South-West Corner board: plain (no pilaster)

3. South-East Corner board: plain (no pilaster)

4. Simple boxed eave consisting of a fascia, soffit, rake

 

1. Presently shingled with shingles flush to the skirting board.

 

  • East Facade

 

1. Bevelled skirting board

2. Clapboards (Upon flush, bevelled boards at least high in the gable end)

3. South-East Corner board: recessed single panelled pilaster [on a missing low plinth], without a capital. The back band for the panels of the pilaster is a Georgian style Ogee.

4. North-East Corner board: recessed single panelled pilaster on a tall plinth, with a capital consisting of a frieze, back-band and shelf. The back band for the panels of the pilaster is a Georgian style Ogee.

5. Short eave returns

6. Simple gable rake consisting of a fascia, soffit, simple cornice, rake

 

South-East Corner Board

North-East Corner Board
 

3. The low plinth on the pilaster has gone missing.

EXTERIOR FOUNDATION

 

 

 

  • North Facade

 

1. Rubble stone with a brick topping

 

 

  • West Facade

 

1. Rubble stone with a partial brick and sandstone topping.

 

Added Notes::

Some sandstone stones were also placed in the foundation in the south-west corner to fill in an apparent opening.

  • South Facade

 

1. Rubble stone with a partial brick topping

 

 

  • East Facade

 

1. Rubble stone with a brick topping

 

 

EXTERIOR
ROOF

 

 

 

  • North Pitch

 

1. Minor bell cast at the eaves

 

Added Notes:

The present asphalt shingles have no defining heritage value.

  • South Pitch

 

 

Added Notes:

The present asphalt shingles have no defining heritage value.

The bell cast was removed on this pitch, which in turn lowered the pitch enough to cause the removal of the drip caps of the upper floor windows.

CHIMNEY
STACKS

 

 

 

  • West Chimney

 

1. Exited immediately to the south of (if not at) the roof ridge.

2. It was constructed of bricks

 

  • East Chimney

 

1. Exited straddling the roof ridge.

2. It was constructed of bricks

 

BASEMENT
(00 Series)

 

 

 

  • Room 001 /North East of Stairwell

 

1. Two windows, single sash, three panes (north one has a taller sash)

2. Wooden hearth cradle for Room 101 fireplace

 

 

  • Room 001 /South East of Stairwell

 

1. East chimney base, rubble stone crib-work construction

2. One window, single sash, three panes

 

 

  • Room 001 /South West of Stairwell

 

1. West chimney base, rubble stone crib-work construction

2. Wooden hearth cradle for Room 108 fireplace

 

 

  • Room 001 /North West of Stairwell

 

1. Two windows, single sash, three panes

2. Remains of a whitewashed finished room with a plastered ceiling upon split (hand riven) laths

3. Wooden hearth cradle for Room 109 fireplace

 

 

BASEMENT
STAIRWELL
(Central)

 

 

 

  •  

 

1. The ghost of a former staircase remains.

2. The two doorways at top of stairs

3. Walls

4. Chamfered vertical board nailer

1. The present staircase has no defining heritage value.

2. The doorway cut into the south board partition wall occurred at some later date.

4. The nailer is located against the east wall.

EXTERIOR BASEMENT
STAIRWELL
(South East)

 

 

 

  • Exterior Basement Stairwell

 

1. Rubble stone side walls

Added Notes:

The present staircase has no defining heritage value.

FIRST FLOOR
(100 Series)

 

 

 

  • Room 101 /Dining Room /North East

 

1. Brick fireplace and hearth

2. Wooden fireplace chimneypiece: narrow fluted flattened columns (pilasters) upon the legs, with block feet, plain frieze, plain raised center tablet, raised end tablets with a crown supported, moulded mantle shelf

3. Cupboard and door

4. Closet and doorway

5. Three windows, double-hung sash, 6 over 6 panes

6. A cased corner post

7. Ceiling

8. Walls

9. Chair rails

10. Baseboards

11. Plastered above and below the chair rail down to the base board

12. Two first-floor room connecting doorways

13. Flooring boards

14. Chamfered vertical board nailer

 

1. The fireplace and hearth were a later rebuild.

14. The nailer is located in the closet against the east wall.

 

 

  • Room 102 /Passageway

 

1. [Closet]

2. Two first-floor connection doorways

3. South wall

4. Flooring boards

5. Chamfered vertical board nailer

1. The closet area contains assorted ghost evidence of an earlier set of stairs. The existing stairs replaced the bottom portion up to the turn, leaving the top portion intact.

4. The top flooring boards are a later upgrade. The original flooring boards beneath are wider and laid with splines (loose or slip tongues).

5. The nailer is located in the closet against the east wall.

Added Notes:

A portion of the the ceiling was at one time an open stairwell.

  • Room 103 /Kitchen /South East

 

1. Brick Fireplace

2. Brick bake oven

3. Wooden fireplace chimney-piece

4. Two windows, double-hung sash, 6 over 6 panes

5. A cased corner "post"

6. *Three inch wide flooring boards run north-south

7. Ceiling

8. Wainscotting of horizontal boards

9. Chair rails

10. Baseboards

11. Two first-floor room connecting doorways

12. One basement connection doorway

13. One stairwell second-floor connecting doorway

14. Vertical board stairwell partition.

15. Cupboard and door

16. Flooring boards

17. Walls

 

1. The fireplace is missing is hearth and wooden hearth cradle beneath. The fireplace was a later rebuild.

2. The exterior of the oven was a later rebuild. The interior of the oven is older.

7. This is a later upgrade.

11. With the construction of the South Ell removed was a portion of the south wall to allow access into the new addition. The visible First Floor doorways to the south were a later construction.

13. The doorway and the visible steps did not exist at this location in the beginning.

14. A portion to the south did not exist in the beginning.

16. The top flooring boards are a later upgrade. The original flooring boards beneath are wider and laid with splines (loose or slip tongues).

Added Notes:

 

The closet (and its doorway) was also a later construction. In it are the remains of an earlier lath and plaster ceiling, as well as a portion of a cased intermediate "post" - which is visible in Room 107 - whose bead (quarter-round) would have originally faced into this room.

 

 

 

  • Room 107 /Rear Hall /South

 

1. Two cased intermediate "posts" - One beaded with a quarter-round facing into Room 103

2. Three first-floor room connecting doorways

3. Doorway to the Basement

4. North partition wall (and doorway) separating this room from Room 110

5. Baseboards

6. Walls

7. Ceiling?

2. The rear doorway was located perhaps where the existing doorway to Room 106 stands.

3. This doorway was cut into the north board partition wall at some later date.

4. This portion of the wall and doorway was installed at some later date.

5. On the west wall only.

 Added Notes:

The existing doorway to Room 106 in the south wall may have been the location of the original exterior doorway.

The flooring boards are a recent upgrade.

  • Room 108 /Back Sitting Room (Study) /South West

 

1. Brick fireplace and hearth

2. Wooden fireplace chimneypiece: plain flattened columns (pilasters) upon the legs, with block feet, plain frieze, raised end tablets with a crown supported, moulded mantle shelf

3. Closet and doorway

4. Two windows, double-hung sash, 6 over 6 panes

5. A cased corner "post" - beaded with a quarter-round

6. One first-floor room connecting doorway

7. Chair rails

8. Base boards

9. Flooring boards

10. Ceiling?

11. Walls

12. Chamfered vertical board nailer

1. The bricks of the hearth were removed and covered by planks.

2. The design of the fireplace is partially masked and boxed-in.

3. The original shelf or shelves have gone missing.

4. The south window is presently partially masked.

6. The present north partition wall with a doorway was installed, adjoining Room 110, at a later date.

Removed at some time was a wall or a wall with a doorway opposite the fireplace chimney-piece.

7. The chair rail on the south wall is of a later date.

8. West wall.

11. Masonite wall board has been added at various locations.

Added Notes:

Another cased post in the closet may have once existed since there is one directly above, in the closet of Room 206.

12. The nailer is located in the closet against the south wall.

  • Room 109 /Living (DeWolf Parlour) Room /North West

 

1. Brick fireplace and hearth

2. Wooden fireplace chimneypiece: narrow fluted flattened columns (pilasters) upon the legs, with block feet, plain frieze, plain raised center tablet, raised end tablets with a crown supported, breakfront moulded mantle shelf

3. Two odd wall jogs (each 3 inches [east-west] x 23 inches [north-south]) , one in the south-west corner and one in the south-east corner of the room, to either side of the fireplace.

4. Four windows, double-hung sash, 6 over 6 panes

5. The window architraves (surrounds) extend to floor level with detail below the windows

6. Wood cornice

7. Wainscotting of horizontal boards, with plastered walls above the chair rail

8. Chair rails

9. Baseboards

10. One first-floor room connecting doorway

11. Ceiling

12. Flooring boards

13. Walls

 

1. The fireplace and hearth were a later rebuild.

5. The detail beneath the windows is presently masked.

10. The present south partition wall with a doorway was installed, adjoining Room 107, at a later date.

Added Notes:

A cased corner "post" may have once existed in the north west corner since there is one directly above, in Room 207.

  • Room 110 /Front (Main) Hall /North

 

1. Two cased intermediate "posts"

2. Two first-floor room connecting doorways

3. South partition wall (with doorway) separating this room from Room 107

4. Entrance way and doorway

5. Baseboards

6. Ceiling?

7. Walls

8. Main staircase

 

3. This portion of the wall and doorway was installed at some later date.

4. An earlier entranceway was replaced with the present doorway, door, transom and side-lites.

Added Notes:

The hardwood flooring was a later upgrade.

 

MAIN
STAIRWELL
(Central)

 

 

 

  • Main Stairwell

 

1. The ghost of a former stair case remains

 

2. Main Stairs - Straight run

3. Newel post, balusters and handrail for the Main Stairs

4. Handrail and balusters of the guardrail of the Second Floor

1. The present staircase is not the original one. The earlier one was constructed against the same west partition (vertical boards) but as a boxed system with a housed stringer. Here the ends of each tread and riser were installed into recessed stringer routings. If above this stringer the partition rose as high as the Second Floor, then only the balusters and hand-rail of the guardrail would have been necessary.

2. To the west, the present staircase re-used this early partition wall but only in support of an exterior open stringer nailed to it.  To the east was another separate stringer, nailed here to a vertical board partition wall in support of a closed system.

3. They were installed together with the placement of the present staircase.

4. They were installed possibly with the placement of the first staircase, although evidence of an earlier newel post not associated with this guardrail may exist.

Added Notes:

At the top of the stairwell, the boxing of the east main girt and the baseboard, upon the boxing, along the east partition wall is a later upgrade.

 

 

KITCHEN
STAIRWELL
(Central)

 

 

 

  • Kitchen Stairwell

 

1. The ghost of an earlier stairwell

2. The ghost of a former staircase remains

3. Stairwell

3. Partition walls

4. One first-floor doorway

1. An earlier set of stairs may have continued at a steep angle directly down into room 103

2. The former lower portion of a relatively steep staircase - its straight-run - began in line with, but further north of, the existing one. This lower section butted up against the mid-portion of the existing partition for the closet of Room 102. Its upper section is the present staircase that turns east into Room 202.

The treads had a pronounced nose and moulding beneath.

3. The present staircase is less steep than its predecessor since its lower portion is extended into Room 103. It incorporates the upper portion of the second staircase in its design.

SECOND FLOOR
(200 Series)

 

 

 

  • Bedroom /Room 201 /North East

 

1. Brick fireplace and hearth

2. Wooden fireplace chimneypiece: wide fluted flattened columns (pilasters) upon the legs, with block feet, plain frieze, raised end tablets with a crown supported, moulded mantle shelf

3. Closet and doorway

4. Three windows, double-hung sash, 6 over 6 panes

5. The window architraves (surrounds) extend to floor level with detail below the windows

6. Two first-floor doorways

7. A cased corner "post"

8. Flooring boards

9. Walls

 

1. The mortar renderings are a later upgrade. The hearth was a later rebuild.

3. Within are the remains of an earlier lath and plaster ceiling. The present interior partition wall is a later upgrade.

  • Hall /Room 202

 

1. The ghost of an earlier stairwell

2. Stairwell

3. Two second-floor room connecting doorways

4. Doorway to Attic

5. West, north and south Kitchen Stairwell partition walls

6. Exposed main east girt

7. Flooring boards

1. Today partially floored with boards is a possible second-floor opening for an earlier staircase. Centred upon the present Attic Stairwell, this existing stairwell may have at one time continued directly down at a steep angle, into room 103.

3. Doorway to Room 204 is a later upgrade.

7. The flooring boards reflect several later upgrades.

  • Bedroom /Room 203 /South East

 

1. Closet and doorway

2. Two windows, double-hung sash, 6 over 6 panes

3. A cased corner "post"

4. Walls

5. Flooring boards

6. One second-floor room connecting doorway

7. Chair rails

8.Baseboards

 

1. Within are the remains of an earlier lath and plaster ceiling. The present interior partition wall is a later upgrade.

4. The west and west return walls are later upgrades.

6. The west doorway is a later upgrade.

7. The west chair rail is a later upgrade.

  • Bathroom /Room 204

 

1. Floor boards

2. Ghost of chair rail

3. Walls

4. Baseboards

5. Two second-floor room connecting doorways

2. South wall

3. The east and near north walls are later upgrades required for the installation of the present bathroom.

4. South and west walls.

Added Notes:

The present single small window, single sash, was a later installation.

  • Centre Hall (Upstairs) /Room /205 South

 

1. One window, double-hung sash, 6 over 6 panes

2. Two cased intermediate "posts"

3. Chair rail

4. Boxed main east girt

5. Five second-floor room connecting doorways

6. Blocked doorway

7. Baseboards

8. Main Stairwell

3.South wall

6. A doorway once existed in the west wall to the connecting room between Room 206 and Room 207.

7. West and south walls

  • Bedroom (Children's) /Room 206 /South West

 

1. Brick fireplace and hearth

2. Wooden fireplace chimneypiece: plain flattened columns (pilasters) upon the legs, with block feet, plain frieze, raised end tablets with a crown supported, moulded mantle shelf

3. Closet and doorway

4. Two windows, double-hung sash, 6 over 6 panes

5. The window architraves (surrounds) extend to floor level with detail below the windows

6. One cased corner "post" and one cased intermediate "post" in the closet

7. One first-floor room connecting doorway

8. Floor boards

9. Walls

10. Baseboards

11. Chamfered vertical board partition nailer

 

 

1.The mortar renderings are a later upgrade. The hearth was a later rebuild.

3. Within are the remains of an earlier lath and plaster ceiling.

7. The present doorway to the Connector Room between Rooms 206 and 207 is a later upgrade.

8. The flooring fronting the fireplace was repaired.

10. The closet also contains baseboards and an original lath and plaster ceiling.

11. The nailer is located in the closet against the south wall.

 

  • Closet /[Connector Room between Rooms 206 and 207]

 

1. Blocked doorway

2. One second-floor room connecting doorway

3. Walls

4. Flooring boards

5. Chamfered vertical board partition nailer

1. A doorway once existed in the east wall to Room 205.

2. The south doorway was a later upgrade in an original vertical bard partition wall.

5. The nailer is located against the south wall.

Added Notes:

A ceiling of wide, beaded boards rather than of expected plaster was found.

 

  • Main Bedroom (Patriquin) /Room 207 /North West

 

1. Brick fireplace and hearth

2. Wooden fireplace chimneypiece: wide fluted flattened columns (pilasters) upon the legs, with block feet, plain frieze, plain raised center tablet, raised end tablets with a crown supported, moulded mantle shelf

3. Four windows, double-hung sash, 6 over 6 panes

4. The window architraves (surrounds) extend to floor level with detail below the windows

5. A cased corner "post"

6. Baseboards

7. One first-floor connecting doorway

8. Closet and doorway

9. Flooring boards

 

1.The mortar renderings are a later upgrade. The hearth was a later rebuild..

8. The Connector Room between Rooms 206 and 207 was a later upgrade.

9. The top layer of flooring boards is a later upgrade.

  • Sewing Room /Room 208 /North

 

1. One window, double-hung sash, 6 over 6 panes

2. The window architraves (surrounds) extend to floor level with detail below the windows

3. Two cased corner "posts"

4. One first-floor room connecting doorway

5. Walls

6. Baseboards

7. Flooring boards

 

 

ATTIC
STAIRWELL
(East)

 

 

 

  • Attic Stairwell

 

1. Stairwell

2. One second-floor room doorway

3. Wall

3. The vertical boards on the north wall east of the chimney are a later upgrade.

 

ATTIC
(300 Series)

 

 

 

  • Area 301 /North East of Chimney Stack

 

1. One east window opening

2. Finished painted room

3. Flooring boards

4. Collar-tied rafters

5. Gable wall

 

1. The double-hung 6 over 6 pane sash was a later upgrade. There is no architrave.

5. A bevelled board sheathing for the exterior clapboards closed off the gable end.

  • Area 301 /South East

 

1. One east window opening

2. East chimney stack

3. Flooring boards

4. Collar-tied rafters

5. Gable wall

 

1. The double-hung 6 over 6 pane sash was a later upgrade. There is no architrave.

2. The stack was parged and partially rebuilt at a later date.

4. Intermingled are later upgrade rafters.

5. A bevelled board sheathing for the exterior clapboards closed off the gable end

  • Room 302 /South West

 

1. Walls

2. West chimney stack

3. One west window, double-hung sash, 6 over 6 panes

4. Flooring boards

5. Collar-tied rafters

6. Gable wall

7. Chamfered vertical board nailers

2. The stack was parged and partially rebuilt at a later date.

3. There is no architrave.

5. Intermingled are later upgrade rafters.

6. A bevelled board sheathing for the exterior clapboards closed off the gable end.

7. The nailer is located against the north and east walls.

  • Room 303 /North West

 

1. Walls

2. Ceiling

3. One west window opening

4. Flooring boards

5. Baseboard

 

3. The double-hung 6 over 6 pane sash and frame was a later upgrade.

4. The floors were of pine*, 2-layers thick, running north-south.

COMMENT ON THE MAIN HOUSE

 

OBSERVATION

COMMENT

-

-

FRAME AND EXTERIOR

 

1.

Architectural Style

 

1.

The Randall House displays the appropriate layout and rectangular symmetry of a 2-1/2 storey Colonial to Georgian (1700 - 1830) house (this style, when with added detail, is known in Canada as Neo-Classical (1820-1860), or in the USA as "Adams Federal" (1780s - 1820s), or simply Federal). The Randall House has four rooms on each of the two main living levels, that is, "four over four," each accessed by a central hallway and its stairwell. It also has two interior brick chimneys, built appropriately near but not at each of the gabled outer ends.

Up front, its corner boards are recessed single panelled pilasters on a tall plinth, with a capital consisting of a frieze, back-band and shelf. Less embellished are the corner boards at the rear of the building.

Non-embellished ground and above windows are double-hung, "six over six." The applied back bands (Ogee) and drip caps of the windows are simple. The windows are aligned with the upper storey ones (five across) set very close to roof eaves built with a minimal overhang, with a trace of a bell cast in its slope. Below, there is the requisite centered entranceway and portico.

That an earlier building grew into this one, or that this building underwent any profound construction modifications is not evident. Changes did occur, however, and are generally observable.

2.

Portico

 

2.

In the 1930s, Clara Dennis photographed a house which the Nova Scotia Archives has identified as the “DeWolfe House, Wolfville, NS”. Remarkably similar to the TAS DeWolfe house (on Gaspereau Aveneu in 1941), it is also equally similar to the Randall House. Here, on the Dennis photograph, a Georgian portico covered the centered entranceway with two upfront (and perhaps two rear columns) capped by a pediment that covered the doorway.  

The present portico of the Randall House is a c. 1947 replacement feature. It is neo-classical in that the porch utilizes classical detailing as a form of decoration. Here, in this instance, the portico has pilasters (front and back, with differing paired capitals) instead of columns holding up a broken pediment. Up front, the plinth is short; in the rear it is tall.

3.

Central Entranceway

In the 1930s Dennis photograph, the doorway was framed by two columns. Just beyond, to either side of the columns, were large side-lites (4 each) reaching down to the lower rail of the panelled door, but above the door there was no transom.

A possible later upgrade, today’s entranceway is relatively centered. It is simple and unadorned, with a panelled door, and a rectangular transom (10 lites) and side-lites (10 each) with glass panes relatively larger than expected in neo-classical. To each side of the side-lites stands a pilaster.

    

4.

Heavy Timber Frame

4.

The timber ground sills of the main house rest upon a masonry foundation. Above it, however, the exact structural framing design of the exterior perimeter walls is yet to be totally understood. Still, the range of exposed Basement, Second, and Attic Floor framing suggests the heavy timber (perhaps braced) technology that is typical of the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Most enlightening is the First (ground) Floor framing system. Here is an eastern main girt and a western main girt. Each is approximately 29 feet in length and runs north-south. Each extends the entire depth of the house, ground-sill to ground-sill. Normally considered cellar (or first floor chimney) girts, in this house they define the central passageway that contains the main stairwell. Whether they originally received vertical support from below remains a moot point.

In turn, to either side of the east and west chimney bases, is a northern “summer” beam and a southern “summer” beam. Each runs east-west. They extend from ground-sill to main girt.

Each” summer” in turn collects the majority of the flooring joists. They run north-south and extend from “summer” to ground-sill. Consequently, the flooring boards, which cross these joists, run east-west.

Beneath the central passageway, and where required, the main girts also collect flooring joists. These run east-west and extend between the two main girts. Consequently, the flooring boards run north-south.

Although the same system no doubt exists for the Second Foor, given that here the flooring board pattern replicates itself exactly, the Attic Floor framing apparently differs. On the top floor, all the flooring boards run north-south, unexpectedly perpendicular to the roof rafters.

Within the building, a defined wall expected of the Georgian period, separating the front rooms from the rear, does not run parallel to the roof ridge.

The Randall House  has a number of apparent corner and intermediate posts visibly cased-in with vertical boards. In this period, they are not unexpected within the rooms of a building of this type: For example, The Martin House Farm (1715), Swansea, Massachusetts; "Anderton's Desire" (c. 1783 or earlier), East New Market, Dorchester County, Maryland ; or The Koch-Solomon House (mid-1700s), Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. In post-colonial constructions they appear too, such as in the 1820's addition to the Zachariah “Zack” Talley House, Sumner County, Tennessee.

Exposed corner posts also appear in transitional timber framing that found its way, for example, between 1780 and 1850, into Vermont. Here builders wished to replace the traditional larger intermediate posts between the corner posts with smaller posts, like dimensional 2 x 4's. Naturally, if the smaller posts lined up with the exterior face of the corner posts, they would not line up with the interior face.

If a builder then finished off his interior walls between, rather than against, the corner posts, these posts might remain exposed. The builder perhaps then added a decorative bead for example, or not. Otherwise, he might box them with boards, with or without a decorative finish.

However, the fact that several cased “posts” in the Randall House have quarter-round beading facing into the room, that even more have no beading at all, and that two have apparently gone missing, suggest that these casings are decorative and not hiding a functioning framing member.

Not expected are two odd wall jogs, one in the south- west corner and one in the south-east corner of a room, to either side of a fireplace.

5.

Roof Rafters

 

5.

Within the Attic, the rafters are half-dovetailed, mortised and tenoned to collars.

 

      Assembled they are without a ridge beam.

 

6.

Boxed Eaves

6.

Exaggerating the true impression of the existing boxed eaves is the design of the modern rain gutters.

If used at all, perhaps hanging off iron brackets driven into the wall plate, were perhaps V-shaped (two wooden boards nailed together at right angles) - with boxed leaders (square, consisting of four boards).

7.

Wall Sheathing, Clapboards, and Roofing Sheathing

7.

In the Attic portion of the gable ends, and perhaps on all of the building’s exterior walls, the sheathing boards have tightly bevelled, flush joints. 

This joinery, when the boards were left exposed as a final wall finish (for example, in early 18th-century colonial Louisbourg), proved relatively weather-proof. Even more robust were they when covered afterwards by clapboards or shingles (at assorted colonial New England locations.) Additionally, they served at Louisbourg beneath both shingled and slated roofs.

The sawn clapboards of the house are tapered (feather-edge) along their top lengths. They are without any decorative finish along their lower edge (butt). Running into the corner boards, they are nailed across their face, but their large headed nails are not readily apparent.

8.

Chimney Masses and Perimeter Foundations

8.

Both chimney masses are of roughly-laid rubble stone, perhaps originally laid either dry or with a clay- or lime-based mortar, without any pointing.

In contrast, where the exterior top of the rough perimeter foundations are visible, it consists of more carefully laid, mortared bricks.

9.

Exterior Shutters Versus Exterior Storm Windows

 

9.

Needing removal are the storm windows to determine whether exterior shutters pre-date their use.

 

INTERIOR

 

1.

Basement Fireplace Bases

1.

The east and west bases are constructed of rubble stone reinforced with interlocked wooden beams reminiscent of crib-work. For sure, a random beam laid here or there to bond such work (whether laid in a lime- or earth-based mortar) was not uncommon in the 18th-century. However, the as- found system is a most unusual defining element.

 More usual is the servicing of floor-above fireplaces with below- floor hearth cradles. They are quite defining of 18th-century buildings elsewhere.

 

2.

Fireplace Chimneypieces

2.

The existing wooden fireplace chimneypieces - excepting for that of one room - all play off the same theme: flattened columns (pilasters) upon the legs, with block feet, raised end tablets, and a crown supported, moulded mantle shelf.  

They may be remarkably similar to the one in the parlour of the T.A.S. DeWolf House (Wolfville).

      Only the embellishments differed.

The kitchen chimneypiece: The odd one out.

 

3.

Vertical Board Partitions

3.

Not unexpected of a heavy timber frame building, in it, most, if not all, of the original interior partition walls were of beaded, tongued and grooved vertical boards. Where plastered, they have laths.

Generally securing the partitions at floor level are nailers. Placed on the long edge opposite the side on which the boards butted is a chamfer.

Chamfered nailers are a common feature of colonial construction.    

4.

 Doorways Set In Vertical Board Partition Walls

4.

Some doorways exist without surrounds known as architraves. In this unadorned work, the joinery that finished off the opening is sometimes starkly plain. A more upscale joint, and one requiring additional hand labour, is the mitred and moulded tenon joint. The moulding here, as in colonial work, is the quarter round.

      

   

5.

Laths

 

5.

Other than split boards found in the plastered ceiling in the Basement, all laths examined to date are machine-made.

 

Circular-sawn laths did not exist until c. 1815-1820 (if not a bit earlier) and no doubt later in Nova Scotia.

 

6.

Horizontal Board Wainscotting

6.

A simple wainscotting of horizontal boards, with plastered walls above the chair rail, harps back to an earlier colonial period rather than Georgian.

7.

Chair Rails

7.

Protecting plaster walls, chair rails vary in design throughout the house.

   

8.

Flooring Boards

8.

In at least two rooms, where the original flooring was of boards one layer thick, splines (loose or slip tongues) was the joinery of choice.

9.

Door Types

9.

The panelled door is common. Of these, the most interesting type consists of vertical boards: The side stiles, as well as the top, bottom and lock rails, of these four panelled doors are applied on one side to two vertical boards, with the opposite side left plain. The mouldings of the panels are formed as part of the stiles and rails.

 

These doors were designed for closet use with the panelled side facing into the main room.

10.

Window Style

10.

     

Throughout the house, a 19th-century style not unknown in the USA stands out: Here the architraves extend to floor level. Between these surrounds, below sill level, detail work may still exist, presently covered over with insert panels.

 

11.

Main Stairwell

11.

The balusters, handrail and balusters of the Main Stairs and the guardrail and handrail of the Second Floor are unmatched.

      

 

12.

Central Heating System

 

12.

Fireplaces, their reconfiguration for coal/wood burning with fireplace inserts, and stoves (all seen in the Randall House) were the most practical method to heat a house until about 1916 when the use of home furnaces had just begun to replace them. This is not to say that home furnaces were not installed earlier than 1916.

The initial central heating system in the Randall House was achieved by a hot- or warm-air furnace, which over time, was upgraded. The possible types around this time if the owner wished to renovate an existing multi-storied house were several. For example, initial research suggests the following possibilities for the Randall House: A single-register furnace placed in the Basement that relied on the discharge of warm air into the house through ductless registers placed in the flooring boards, with the cooler air drawn back into the furnace through registers of its own; A vertical duct system rising off the furnace consisting of a single oversized register and cold air returns on each floor; Or the more traditional system, with cold air ducts to the furnace and hot air leaders for smaller registers placed in numerous rooms.

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