Work has already begun to bring back Fair Lane to the look and feel of 1919, the time when the Fords had started to settle in to their new home.
We had to tackle some major structural and system repairs before interior work could start, including shoring up the riverbank, addressing foundational damage, fixing stonework and repairing leaky flat-tiled roofs.
Now, our attention can turn to inside Fair Lane. Our team of artisans and conservators will restore existing finishes and recreate the furnishings, textiles and objects that adorned the rooms when Henry and Clara lived there. At the same time, we are developing experiences and programs to bring the public back to Fair Lane.
Removing six decades of putty-colored paint from the Music Room's wood walls and trim to expose the original walnut takes hours, hours, and hours of patience and skill.
The installation of the recreated Sun Porch rug instantly transformed the room from staid to stunning. The Fair Lane team relied on heavy research, historic photos and documents, and the experts at Hagopian to bring the imperial blue and yellow stunner back to life.
The goal was to give new generations the same view that the Fords enjoyed: An unencumbered vision of the wildlife, native plants and flowing River Rouge.
The artisans were able to use photos, home video, an advertisement and the original receipt to recreate the wicker chairs Henry and Clara Ford used on their Sun Porch at Fair Lane.
Because decades of water damage left behind chipped paint, ugly stains and peeling plaster, the ceiling on the Sun Porch was one of the most glaring repairs needed in the room.
Anthony Kartsonas, founder of Historic Surfaces LLC of Milwaukee, Wisc., and his team have set up shop in Dearborn over the summer of 2016 to fix the ceiling of Fair Lane’s Sun Porch -- its cracked surfaces crying out for repair and restoration.
The beautiful waters of the Rouge River provide a scenic backdrop for Fair Lane, but crumbling infrastructure along the riverbank also made the water a threat to the estate.
The Henry Ford Estate, with support from UM-Dearborn, undertook a project to shore up the limestone wall on the riverbank and protect the estate and surrounding property for generations to come.
How do you recreate the rich color palette of a room lost to time and history, a room that was only originally photographed in black and white?
The answer is research, research, a little elbow grease, and then more research.
The historians and artisans at the Henry Ford Estate-Fair Lane have spent the past few years pouring over 100-year-old documents...
Scaffolding has been a fixture at the Henry Ford Estate - Fair Lane all summer, and many have wondered just what has been going on up there? Work is nearly complete repairing and restoring the three flat roofs - waterproofing and securing the roofs, as well as bringing back the original beauty of the tile work.
Flat roofs were common when the Fords built their home 100 years ago, but they are troublesome to maintain. Water damage in areas...
Restoration work continues at the century-old Henry Ford Estate - and it is exciting to see all of the new discoveries and transformations unfold.
Conservator Mark Gervasi has been working on bringing back many of the interior fixtures to their original appearance. It is very detailed, meticulous work, but the results are stunning!
Take the chandeliers pictured above, for example. They are original to the Sun Porch and were manufactured by the Sterling Bronze Company...
Fair Lane Volunteer Gardeners and staff welcomed back former volunteer, Ruth Warner (center in black dress), for a tour of the gardens last Monday. Ruth started gardening at Fair Lane in 1989 and was a faithful Monday gardener until her “retirement” from volunteering last December. It was good to see Ruth again in the gardens! For more information on how to volunteer, click here: http://henryfordestate.org/about#Volunteer