Restoration Highlights: Katharine Seymour Day Architecture

This summer, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center will begin the exterior restoration of the Chamberlin-Day House. It will be a massive undertaking as the house is exceptional.


When Franklin and Mary Porter Chamberlin moved into their grand and well-built, Queen-Anne style home in 1884, neighbors couldn’t help but compare their new house to that of their neighbors’ Sam and Olivia Clemens. But unlike the “Twain” House, where much of the ornament is painted, the ornament found on the Day House is structural and pervasive.



The textural variety found on the Chamberlin-Day House is outstanding. Consider the rough-cut pink granite accented with molded brick accents on the first and second floors. Note the blue and beige checkered line of granite blocks that serves as a break between the second and third floors. The solid balustrade and columns found on the two first floor porches, three second floor balconies, and around select windows are uniquely turned and hand carved, many adorned with floral rosettes. Gutters are held in place with elaborate iron work.



The scalloped cedar shingles that cover much of the massive, high pitched and asymmetrical roof, as well the siding on the third floor, undulates and serves as an incredible crown to this grand home. The tallest peak on the roof is decorated with a design often referred to as the Tree of Life and may represent the connection between earth and heaven. Bulbous finials stand at the top of the roofline and draw attention to the four large chimneys.



Each of these incredible details will be maintained during this Summer’s restoration as the guiding principle for historic restoration is to repair original building materials and, if anything needs replacing, it must be replaced with the same type of building materials that were used originally. The work begins soon!


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Authored by:

Cindy Cormier, Consulting Project Manager