Restoration Process

Restoration Timeline


  • The Corporation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest purchased the main house and 49.5 acres


  • Record drawings and photographs by the Historic American Buildings Survey


  • S. Allen Chambers begins documentary research
  • Property opens to public on limited basis


  • Emergency stabilization plan drafted
  • First archaeology staff hired
  • Architectural Advisory Panel established


  • Stabilization work completed
  • Director of Architectural Restoration hired
  • Phase One of historical research completed


  • Consulting restoration architect hired
  • Architectural conservator hired
  • Surface mapping of main house and photographic documentation (staff)
  • Investigation of sub-surface layers begins (staff)
  • Detailed architectural research drawings based on investigation and meetings of the Architectural
  • Advisory Panel (6-month phases)
  • One-inch scale investigation drawings (staff) and one-inch professional photographs with annotated overlays
  • Architectural Restoration Field School starts


  • Second phase of documentary research completed


  • Main House Investigation Report (HSR) completed by architects
  • One-inch scale drawings of interior and exterior walls by architects
  • Investigation of privies and East Wing
  • Historic Structures Report by staff
  • Advisors, consultants, staff and board establish restoration plan and guidelines
  • Preparation for bricks and mortar phase


  • Underpinning and waterproofing of outer walls; drains for foundation and roof
  • Restoration mason starts stabilization of walls and south portico columns
  • Restoration workshop and conservation lab established
  • Mortar reproduction process
  • Restoration craftsman assistant hired


  • Completion of footings and drain system
  • Mortar analysis to make lime mortar
  • Working drawings for roof reconstruction


  • Conservation repair and repointing of exterior walls with lime mortar
  • Millwork for exterior trim
  • Reproduction bricks made
  • Architectural Conservator Consultant hired
  • Getty grant for conservation work
  • Restoration of exterior walls complete
  • Cube Room brick walls restored to 20′
  • Main House terras roof and skylight framing


  • Principal timber frame roof completed


  • Main House terras deck and skylight completed
  • Tuscan Entablature completed
  • Roof balustrade completed
  • Stair pavilions and portico roof and pediment framing
  • Masonry conservation of east and west octagonal privies


  • Tinned shingles on main roof completed
  • Terras roof Chinese railing installed
  • Sash windows, louvered blinds and exterior doors installed
  • North portico stairs completed
  • North and South columns rendered with lime stucco
  • Conservation and restoration of interior walls completed
  • Exterior restoration of main house completed


  • Conservation and restoration of 14 fireplaces and hearths
  • Interior floor system of oak joists and oak floorboards restored (radiant heat underneath)
  • Mechanical system for heating and cooling begun


  • Counter-sealing of lower level ceilings installed
  • Staircase reconstructed in East Pavilion
  • North passage walls reconstructed
  • Lower level brick floors restored (radiant heat and air tubes underneath)
  • Mechanical system completed with mechanical room and remote vault
  • Conservation, restoration and reconstruction of East Wing began


  • Staircase in West pavilion reconstructed
  • Restoration of East and West privies: windows, door, seat, stairs
  • Limestone burned in traditional kiln for lime putty mortar


  • Masonry walls completed for East Wing
  • Plaster grounds and split lath installed for ceiling plaster
  • Three-coat lime plaster installed in four rooms. East and northeast room ceilings left unplastered
  • Chestnut shingles restored to East and West Privy roofs
  • Reproduction spring locks installed on sash windows
  • Masonry of East Wing complete; kitchen with hearth, oven, set kettle, stew stove
  • Old and new poplar plates installed on wing walls
  • West alcove bed framing
  • Sash doors of parlor installed


  • Ceiling plaster of cube room completed
  • Plaster grounds installed for wall plaster
  • Three-coat lime plaster on walls completed
  • Passage walls filled with brick and lath installed
  • Ridge and gutter joists for East Wing roof started


  • Joists and blocking for wing roof completed


  • East alcove bed framing completed; walls nogged with brick; alcove plastered


  • Fabrication and installation of East Wing terras roof shingles


  • East Wing entablature
  • East Wing roof caps on shingles
  • East Wing waterproof membrane on shingles


  • Window frames, sash and trim made and installed in Wing
  • Doors made and installed in Wing with reproduction hardware
  • Oak deck panels on Ipe sleepers made


  • Custom stainless steel deck railing made and installed on Wing
  • Stairs constructed for Wing
  • Exterior architectural restoration of Jefferson’s architecture finished, with the completion of the east wing


  • Interior Finishes Restoration starts


  • Conservation of original walnut door
  • Construction of Dining Room door jambs and soffits


  • Four sets of Sash Doors of Dining Room made and installed with custom hardware


  • Interior moldings made and installed for alcoves and bases


  • Door architrave trim and chair rails made and installed


  • Window sills and window panels made and installed


  • Ten new walnut doors made and varnished


  • Doors fitted with custom brass hardware and hung
  • Tuscan entablature made for passage


  • Tuscan entablatures made and installed
  • Marble hearth stones laid


  • Tuscan entablatures made and installed


  • Dining Room Doric Order entablature made and installed


  • Dining Room Classical Pediments over Four Doorways made and installed


  • Parlor Ionic Order entablature made and installed
  • House painted to Jefferson-era colors using historic paint finishes and techniques
  • Jefferson’s privy restored in west stair pavilion


  • Marble fireplace surrounds restored throughout house
  • Restoration completed