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The railings for the double front stairs at 19 Carter were recently completed and installed. The design needed to be both architectural and visually appealing, while satisfying a host of code and safety concerns. A replica of the original turned wood railings was deliberated, as well as a reproduction made from synthetic materials. However once the high use and maintenance criteria were considered it was decided to build the railings with sturdy black metal. The simplicity doesn’t challenge the exterior’s bright gothic style, and the specialty paint product (donated by Worcester County Welding) is approved to last 50 years.

The remaining decisions regarding the width between vertical posts, height and the double hand rail were code driven. Worcester County Welding fabricated the railings and they were installed by Tom Doerr of Doerr Construction, aided by volunteers Christopher Crane, Ned Hogan, Peter Doerr and Mark Smith. The result is a sturdy support system in a simple silhouette.

We’re also grateful to the flexibility of Berlin’s Building Inspector Joe Atchue. The railings were installed the day before our grand opening, and Joe adjusted his inspection schedule to ensure we had the required occupancy permit for the celebration. Now 19 Carter is fully operational on both floors, and all are welcome here.

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If you haven’t noticed the new doors at 19 Carter, pay attention next time you walk or drive by.  Much time and energy was devoted to the perfect choice for this important entry point to the main level. First, we required clear glass. The old double doors were solid wood, and we considered re-using them with glass replacing the wood panels. But the old doors were also “double doors” and although that allowed for a huge opening into the new space, double doors are not optimal for consistent and repetitive use.  The second consideration was historical, should we replace the old doors with other old doors? Although we looked for doors with glass that would appeal to the period details of this Victorian era, Gothic style 1887 building we decided that antique and frequent use might also be incompatible. So Construction Supervisor Paul Mikelk and Board President Evy Dueck decided the doors should be new, but in the old style; and Koopman Lumber delivered. The Hudson building supply store worked with us to sketch a style that would repeat several characteristics of the original doors, using new and modern materials. The results are two, aluminum clad, solid wood doors 42 inches wide and 8 feet high, that reflect the original style while providing contemporary function in this space.  The three panels of glass imitate the raised panels on the old doors while allowing both visibility from the outside and natural light to flood the inside. We think these custom, burgundy Marvin Doors are the perfect complement to the twelve refurbished original windows and the unique Marvin windows in the addition and lower level. Stop by 19 Carter, check out the new doors, and be welcomed to this unique community gathering space.

 

We’ve got mail!

_DSC2596_resize19 Carter is the proud recipient of an art worthy new mailbox. Frank Brewer designed and built the mailbox reflecting the look of the exterior building and now we can receive our US postal service mail at our 19 Carter Street location.

Frank had used his creativity in the past to create a personal mailbox for his home. But this project was more complex requiring photos and measurements of the exterior and a cardboard model that he and his wife Beth built. Then Frank bent and cut and welded completing the metal mailbox that is a mini version of the building. The paint work also emulates the larger structure, and it was a true family event with Frank’s mother Edie getting involved to complete some of the more detailed painting.

Then in a tribute to Board of Director Chairman and project innovator Evy Dueck, Frank created a metal arm in the shape of a violin because Evy is a professionally trained violinist. The result is a beautiful, thoughtful, creative mailbox; or what Frank calls “30 mph art”.  It’s also snow plow proof since the entire base and box is capable of swiveling. After all the hours and work, Frank is practically a professional now, maybe he’ll start a metal mailbox making career!

The newest piece of 19 Carter art is at home, living comfortably on the landscape with both stone sculptures and landscaped gardens. This gift, offered, created and given by Frank Brewer and his family, is another example of the care and commitment the community is bestowing on 19 Carter. (There’s more in this article in the Clinton Item).

 

The gold walls in the vestibule and the cream walls in the main hall were not the only discussions and decisions the team made around color. More, brighter color was a consistent refrain from some. Others maintained that warm neutrals would be the most appropriate for a building that would be used by hundreds and thousands for a variety of both ordinary days and special events. Neutrals were the victor on most surfaces, so compromised was made regarding the door knobs. Here bright colors sparkle!

The closet and internal doors were donated by Paul Mikelk from his personal collection. They were measured, cut, framed and hung by Doer Construction in a variety of locations on the main floor. A special door was even built (from two other doors) for the closet that houses our two large ladders. Gadgets needed for both upkeep and maintenance were considered when determining storage needs. Maintaining an open floor plan required creative options, so in addition to closets that can only be reached by ladder (for seasonal items) – Tommy Doerr built a multitude of cubbies and cabinets along the main staircase in the addition.

And while the doorknobs contain a gleam of color, they are not the only surface that shines. The entire tin ceiling was painstakingly cleaned and scraped before being coated with glossy shellac by Ronnie Owens and Dave Petersen which added luster without destroying the unique patina that time created.

Both the main walls and triangle of wall at the apex of the ceiling, directly above the stage, were covered in rich Annie Sloan paints. Kevin Pond donated many, many hours and his painting efforts included using a total of three colors — Old Ochre, Old White and the original cream. All of these light color and shine provide a stunning contrast to the dark wood floor and wainscoting; and the renovation progress of 19 Carter continues.

Glowing results

The timing of our fundraising over the last 8 months enabled us to work on the main floor in phases separating the vestibule from the main hall. Work on the foyer is almost complete and it became a mini research trial for the main space. Products were tested on the floors, walls, windows, trim, ceiling and closets. And when the most effective product was determined, we applied it to the vestibule. For the most part we’ll use the same products again in the main hall. The wall paint is unique because Annie Sloan didn’t have a color close to the gold Lion Heart we chose. The British Company’s paint will be used in the main hall as a result of 19 Carter winning an international contest celebrating their 25 years in business. (See blog last fall). Our prize was enough paint to cover the walls plus some Annie Sloan chalk paint for the new built in cabinets.

Ronnie Owen, Paul Mikelk and Seth Asser painted the entryways, the walls and the ceiling. Even without lights, the room glows with sunlight reflected off the gorgeous walls. And the dark trim and wainscoting make a beautiful contrast with warm refurbished wood. We discovered a great wood restoration product that enhances the finish of the dark wood trim and wainscoting (once cleaned) without the efforts of stripping and re-staining.  We love products that save time and money so we’ll be using the same product on the wood in the main hall. We’re thrilled with the look and feel of the entrance, we think it reflects the warmth and welcome of our volunteers and portrays 19 Carter as a friendly community space!

Coming next doors for rooms and closets.

 

Well, it’s been a couple months since our last blog, but work has been continuing at 19 Carter.  In fact so much has been accomplished we expect to open the entire building later this summer. Historically this blog has been both a communication tool, and a written chronicle of the work done at 19 Carter. So the next several blogs will continue outlining work done to date, in order, it’s just not as timely as past writings.

The fundraising drive to raise enough monies to open the building was successful- garnering $85,000 in 8 months. In fact we still have a donor willing to match an additional $10,000 raised so those funds will be applied to some exterior projects. Thank you to all our generous donors.

Tom Doerr spent mid-April working on the back of the building/the addition resourcefully adding some storage space around the stairwell. In addition he completed all the finish and trim work around the custom windows as well as adding baseboards to finish the walls.  The complex work of completing the area around the accessible lift required some creative woodworking.  There can be no flat surfaces around the lift that people might be tempted to put coffee cups or other items on. This space must be kept clear so nothing falls into the mechanisms potentially jamming the lift. To accomplish this, we took the wall cap to Lloyds Woodworking in Hudson to specialty grind the surface with a triangular (not flat edge). The paint colors chosen for the lift area reflect the external colors of the building since the lift is situated next to the building’s original exterior. We love the deep reds/oranges and golds that light this space so beautifully painted by Paul Mikelk and Ronnie Owens.

Coming soon, the windows are completed and installed.

 

Window World

It seems like we’re always blogging about the windows; but they are integral to the architecture and the soul of the building. On the main floor there are 12 original windows each with 8 rectangular panes and three angle cut panes. So the task of stripping and then restoring the windows is painstaking. This winter restoration was completed on four of the old windows; they were painted and hung in their original places on the west side (facing Carter Street). The sash cords were re-roped and re-weighted so the windows slide up easily.

 

In addition to the four main windows, there is a large round window within the peak of the building. Steve Huntley restored it. He braced the circular cuts of wood with metal plates, filled the cracks with epoxy and then cleaned and painted the wood. The colored plexi-glass was a mystery since the building pre-dated its invention. Local historian and board member June Miller did some investigating. Jane Sawyer’s cousin Brian Guy said that the plexi-glass was installed during the re painting of the old church in 1976 – as part of America’s Bicentennial celebration.

 

So the mystery is solved, the west side windows are all refurbished and replaced; and work has resumed on the remaining glass and frames. We’re looking forward to throwing open the windows and welcoming spring, just like we welcome those who visit 19 Carter

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