John Canning & Co. Earns the 2020 Bulfinch Award in the Craftsmanship/Artisanship Category

CHESHIRE, Conn. - March 19, 2020 - PRLog -- John Canning & Co., earned the 2020 Bulfinch Award in the Craftsmanship/Artisanship category for the work completed at the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. John Canning & Co., restored the architectural woodwork and plaster as well as reinstated the wallcoverings in The Mahogany Suite.

The Bulfinch Awards are hosted by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art New England Chapter and recognize practitioners from across the nation who are committed to promoting excellence in the classical tradition and allied arts within New England.

The Mark Twain House and Museum was built in 1874, was originally the home of author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who you may recognize under the pen name, Mark Twain. The Mark Twain House and Museum was one of the first one-hundred properties in the nation to be designated a National Landmark. Designed in a Victorian Gothic Revival style, the Mahogany Suite was best known as the guest suite where the family would host their guests and close friends. Before the restoration, the space had been closed since the Early 2000's.

The Mahogany Suite project ( involved various levels of craftsmanship from John Canning & Co., to restore a key room in the Mark Twain House & Museum for its visitors to be able to enjoy and experience a glimpse into the life of Mark Twain. This project required an understanding of traditional historic finishes in order to be able to return the space to the "royal chamber" it was famously known for. The woodwork throughout the suite had incurred serious water damage in multiple areas and the overall interior was unfortunately suffering from staining and failing finishes. The original mahogany woodwork was stripped and restored to its historic finish using traditional aniline dyes. The plaster had sustained serious water damage in several areas and was repaired and restored. The historic wallcoverings, were reinstated throughout the space. Within the Mahogany suite, five different wallpapers were used to restore the interior: the ceiling, frieze, wall field, wainscot, and baseboard border. Traditional wallpaper installation techniques needed to be used in order to make the wallpapers blend seamlessly.

The project team was led by Architect David Scott Parker who did a tremendous amount of archival research and examination of conditions for the historic fabric.  Downes Construction Company is highly regarded in New England for the restoration of historic buildings and was the general contractor for this project. Through a team effort the Mark Twain House and Museum's Mahogany Suite can now be enjoyed by the tens of thousands of visitors it gets every year.

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