The Restoration of Historic Kenmore

Historic Kenmore has undergone several restorations since its construction in 1775. The most recent restoration began in 2001 with the installation of a new geothermal heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. Since then, dozens of projects—both large and small—were undertaken to further the knowledge of the property and restore it to its historically accurate, 1775-1800 appearance. Those who visited the house before the restoration, or even during its early stages, might now be surprised by the dramatic changes that have occurred over the past few years. The work has been carried out by Foundation employees, interns, contractors, and collegiate preservation students.

As the restoration progressed, more information was discovered, leading the Foundation to a better understanding of Kenmore’s historic appearance and use over the years. Each room has changed significantly, transformed from inaccurate color schemes including peach, white, and gray, to bolder and more surprising color schemes, including bright yellow, light blue, and green. Ceilings, cornices, and overmantels have changed from a dull, detail-masking gray to a brilliant white as they were cleaned, restored, and whitewashed. Closets no longer have modern shelving, but now contain historically accurate reproductions based on research and investigative studies. The functions of the rooms now identified as the Chamber, Dining Room, and Drawing Room have been proven by the uncovering of architectural clues and details during the restoration.

The photos in these pages, from the recent restoration as well as from previous eras, illustrate the evolution of Kenmore's appearance over the last two centuries.