As the beautiful weather arrived this past week, so too did many milestones in our renovation project!
With all the stone pavers laid, we now have a gorgeous new terrace, ready to host visitors and gatherings galore. Just behind it, glazing has been placed in the openings of the former Drive Shed to transform this open-air space into a glorious, light-filled interior. From this vantage point, one can still appreciate the breathtaking natural views to both the south, toward the sunken garden, and the north, looking to the red barn, farm complex, and lush hills beyond.
And together with beauty, we have power! A brand-new generator, which will henceforth service both the historic house and the renovated spaces, was installed thanks to this majestic crane on Friday, March 19. We couldn’t help but interpret this machine built to soar high as a metaphor for the elevated heights Hill-Stead will reach thanks to this long-planned renovation!
Please enjoy a glimpse of both the brand-new doors that will fill our space with light and the laying of the pavers in the courtyard. They are symbolic of a strong foundation as we lay the groundwork for an exciting new chapter.
At the end of their weekly construction meeting, Hill-Stead Board President Lavell Thompson and Dr. Anna Swinbourne conspired to throw a surprise birthday party for two special collaborators.
They celebrated Hill-Stead renovation project architect Chuck Mueller, senior director and principal of Centerbrook, and construction project manager Joe Sosnicki of PAC Group. The project leads share the same birthday on Saturday, March 6th! For Chuck, it’s the big 6-0!
They surprised them with meaningful gifts. For Chuck, they gifted him with Chick Austin’s biography and a private tour of Chick’s celebrated home (now owned by the Wadsworth Atheneum). For Joe, it was a gift certificate to Millwright’s, his favorite restaurant. It was significant as it’s the place where he proposed to his wife – and it included a handwritten card by Chef Tyler Anderson.
The icing on top was an incredible construction-themed chocolate cake made by Lavell!
All the unsightly yet necessary components are now hidden behind what some call “sheetrock,” but we call gallery walls! The progress has been astonishing. We are immensely grateful for the various crews and teams working together in every available space. It’s a noisy, invigorating hub of activity as they contribute to our transformation every weekday.
Included in all this activity was the critical and highly anticipated day when Eversource helped power down the entire museum to perform the necessary testing on the renovation’s electrical components.
In the meantime, our team hauled generators to the courtyard to gear them up to power the historic house. The weather played its typical tricky February self, causing us to reschedule a few times. Still, we responded in our usual determined fashion and kept at it until the skies cleared, and voilà—the job was done!
On this snowy winter day, please enjoy a glimpse of our progress as of February 2021 as we work to create beautiful new spaces at Hill-Stead. As we aim to complete the major renovation project by June, we will share a sneak peek of the progress each month via video and images.
While many of us were enjoying some quiet time and staycations over the holidays, renovation work at the Hill-Stead continued to make impressive progress.
To celebrate this new year, we are delighted to have a new concrete floor in the carriage barn in the space that, just a few weeks ago resembled a rocky moonscape, will soon become our beautiful art gallery!
These photographs show a satisfying progression of beginning, middle, and end.
The holidays aren’t slowing down our construction project at Hill-Stead—the past two weeks have been busy, noisy, dusty, and at times, a little smelly!
Woodworkers and painters are repairing the siding and trim along large swaths of the exterior. At the same time, the infrastructure and piping for sufficient basement drainage are being laid underneath the area known as the kitchen garden.
What is less visible to our visitors is the interior work, including the new, upgraded, and ADA-compliant restrooms. (We are very proud that our plans include more than double the number of bathrooms required by code.) For a central bank – of men, women, and family rooms – in the structure’s northwest corner, the new walls and plumbing have been put in place, and the ductwork is currently being installed.
Watching the progress on our construction this past week was nothing short of amazing! The symbiosis of destruction and creation continues to work its magic.
Down came the kitchen and the interior modifications made years ago, namely to install visitor bathrooms near the Makeshift Theater, which resulted in a massive pile of rubble, seen in this photograph below. (From this pile, we extracted and saved beams of the original wooden structure, which we plan to cut and craft into souvenirs for faithful donors and supporters.)
As we all know, sometimes one has to take things apart to create something new and beautiful!
We are delighted to share that we are now at that exciting stage at Hill-Stead. The exterior fencing—in our favorite shade of green—has gone up and been decorated with colorful renditions of the renovated spaces to come. And, the interior demolition has begun. In these photographs, you can see the transition that is occurring in the museum’s entryway. The paneling on the north wall has come down, revealing a first look at the ticket desk and gift shop! For the moment, the shop serves as central command for our site supervisor, Carl (pictured above in red coat here). Continue reading →
From left to right: Dave Perbeck, Operations Director at Hill-Stead; Lavell Thompson, President of Hill-Stead’s Board of Governor’s; Frank Giordano and Chuck Mueller of Centerbrook Architects.
After a decade in the making, Hill-Stead launched our highly anticipated strategic endeavor to enhance our sustainability. As you can see from the photos, the construction phase of our Carriage Barn renovation kicked off this past Friday, September 18 with work on the Entry Hall, Gift Shop, and Media Space now underway.
Please stop by Hill-Stead to check on progress or visit these pages every two weeks as we continue to post project updates.
In the meantime, please read our Case Statement validating the importance of this renovation to the future of Hill-Stead for generations to come!