Recreating the Olden Days of the Calvin Jones House

The historic Calvin Jones House is getting a complete interior overhaul in preparation for the 2014 Christmas Historic Home Tour, and this new floorcloth is certain to be a focal point. Mark Gansor of Mark Gansor Decorative Painting in Wilmington and Rocky Mount created this canvas in his studio and installed it in the dining room before applying a final coat of varnish.

Once called oilcloths, Gansor says these floor coverings were the predecessors of carpets. In the 18th century, rugs were imported from Europe and were very expensive. Floorcloths were a more economical option, and they ran the gamut from from very simple to quite elaborate. Gansor says this particular design is historically accurate, and the simple greenery border matches the Calvin Jones House time period. It’s a heavy canvas, covered with latex exterior paint, and is the first one Gansor has created for a historic site. The piece took several weeks to finish.

This is one of many exciting contributions made by a group of dedicated volunteers working overtime to fully refurbish the home’s eight main living spaces in time for the holidays. After months of extensive historical research, the Calvin Jones House Restoration Committee is outfitting the home with window treatments, new upholstery, furniture, and artifacts. Committee members Cassandra Baker, Elizabeth Melvin, Susan Brinkley, and Barbara Whiteman have worked with Executive Director Ed Morris and Wake Forest College Birthplace Society Vice-President Durward Matheny to select appropriate fabrics, search for glassware, and locate just the right furnishings.

The four upstairs rooms are receiving makeovers to become the Calvin Jones Bedroom, the Samuel Wait Bedroom, a 1920s medical student room, and the boarding room of a 1950s undergraduate. Period accessories such as calendars, books, pictures, clocks, and G-rated pinups are still on the wish list.

Financing for the project comes from Birthplace Society funds designated for exhibits and the support of an anonymous donor. To further preserve the house, Wake Forest University has generously agreed to cover the full cost of purchasing and installing modern HVAC units.

One comment

  1. I would love to know how he made the floor cloth this size stretching the canvas? I have been making floorcloths by stretching them over a hollow door before painting,.but want to move on to do larger scale floor coverings, but without a stretch them.I am concerned that they will warp too much? Thank you!

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