Executive Mansion Restoration
The Executive Mansion of Virginia, home to Virginia’s governors and their families since 1813, is the nation’s oldest continuously occupied executive mansion. Located next to Thomas Jefferson’s State Capitol in Richmond’s historic Capitol Square, the Mansion serves as the center of hospitality for the Commonwealth and is frequented by members of the state legislature, guests of the Commonwealth, and international dignitaries. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969 and as a National Historic Landmark in 1988.
The first challenge was to return the building's to its interior architectural integrity. The original Federal-style structure was designed by Alexander Parris, a celebrated architect of the time. A Colonial Revival style addition to the structure in 1906 by W. Duncan Lee expressed another period and time. Additionally, minor changes over the years cumulatively distorted the vision of the building's public spaces.
Because of the two distinct interior architectural periods represented, the recommendation was to honor Parris and Lee's individual contributions as well as addressing the Mansion in its entirety. Returning the interior of the structure to its origins required intensive research into fabrics, wallpaper, and layers of paint that obscured original detail. Historic documentation assured that the period interiors were replicated precisely. Design and plans included the custom manufacturing of fabrics, colors, patterned carpet, furniture, mantels, wood-grained doors, trim, and wainscoting. The Colonial Revival style that characterized the 1906 addition and alterations also was reintroduced with the restoration.
“With its renovation, the mansion is not only more handsome and more sparkling than it has been in years, but with its new, enlarged kitchen and additional bathrooms, side entrance, and elevator (all accessible), it is better able to host the governor and first lady’s guests at state functions, from intimate dinners to elaborate balls.”William Lebovich, Architecture Week, July 25, 2001