Preserving the Shingle Style at NBSS

May 13, 2016
Kevin Derrick
Loring House lecture

As part of Preservation Month, NBSS hosted a crowd of over 50 attendees for a lecture on the restoration of the Loring House window by Preservation Carpentry students.

In addition to presentations from faculty and students of the School, Friends of the Loring House committee member Lynne Warren spoke fondly of the preservation efforts made by the community and the eventual salvaging of the window by NBSS.

View a timelapse video of the project here. The window restoration project was also featured in the May issue of Design New England Magazine.

Below is a brief history of the Loring House as well the Preservation Carpentry student work that took place.

  • Designed by architect William Ralph Emerson and sited by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted
  • Commissioned by General Charles G. Loring, the first director of the Museum of Fine Arts and his wife, Mary J. Hopkins.
  • A summer cottage in the Shingle Style, completed in 1884
  • Was located on a bluff in Pride’s Crossing, outside of Beverly MA
  • Passed down through the Loring, Shaw and Codman families, until the last owner, Samuel Codman, passed away at age 100 in 2008.

NBSS Involvement, 2015–2016

  • Being on a seaside bluff, the elements took a toll on the home. The cost of restoration was too high, and so the home would have to be dismantled. This took place in 2015.
  • Multiple museums were approached to salvage various components of the home for their collections. North Bennet Street School was invited to be a part of this process by the Smithsonian’s National Building Museum.
  • A divided window with fanlight and raised panels was chosen (image) to be salvaged, as well as as curved door with brownstone. The year 1906 was chosen as the year to which the elements would be restored.
  • NBSS’s Preservation Carpentry program incorporated this project into the Spring-Fall 2015 curriculum. The project would take 11 full-time students and one full-time instructor over 3000 hours to complete.
  • In the Spring, first year students learned hands-on the process of reclaiming historic artifacts (Document–Identify–Extract) and went about restoring the window and door in Fall/Winter 2015.
  • Restoration included replacing lost pieces “in-kind” (with the same materials and techniques) as well as repair with epoxy and other materials. Only half of the window was restored to serviceable condition in order to highlight the before/after.
  • The window is on display as part of North Bennet Street School’s Annual Celebration of Craft taking place May 16–June 2, 2016.
  • The window will be moved in summer 2016 to the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

Check out @NBSSboston on Instagram for a number of pictures of the Loring Window project from start to finish.

Preservation Carpentry Program