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A space towards the back of the kitchen made the perfect nook for casual dining. The table, found at an auction, is a replica of a dining table used by George Washington's cousin. 11-foot-high ceilings were revealed after old light fixtures were removed — the false ceiling was promptly taken down, and Simmons embraced the new, lofty space.
The wall paneling in the dining room was installed using a traditional slip fastening system: No fasteners are used, allowing the wood panels to move with the house as the the wood contracts and expands as weather gets colder and warmer.
Table: Duxbury, Ltd.
Chairs: Baker, Knapp & Tubbs
Chandelier: Beveled Arcs Chandelier from Fine Art Lamps
Simmons gave the library a traditional look with rich wood paneling made with existing old-growth Cypress. Two hidden doors are tucked away in this room: One leads to the kitchen hallway; the other leads to a wine room (originally a Prohibition-era wall).
"Every wall, floor, or ceiling we opened posed new challenges," he says. "Things that would normally be seen as commonplace today, like having a uniform floor joist spacing and direction, were not there."
Sofa: Antheneum sofa from Hickory Chair
Initially, some of the rooms had been framed in one manner, while other rooms were framed and built in a completely different way. The original builders were groups of European immigrants with their styles and ways of building things.
Cherry paneling was installed in the living room, giving the space a formal look, but also providing a warm glow. Products were carefully chosen to fall in line with this historical home's structure and to last for many years.
Couches: Francis King, Ltd and Scherping Westphal
Table lamps: Baker, Knapp & Tubbs
Simmons made very few changes to the exterior; the look of the home is virtually the same as it was originally intended. The house was built to be 100 percent symmetrical, right down to his-and-her powder rooms on either side of the home.
A home that's survived so many eras of design is bound to be full of surprises. Besides the hidden rooms and false ceilings, Simmons discovered a creek leading to the Mississippi River through a manhole in the basement floor!
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