Saturday, April 6, 2013

Visit to a Local Landmark: Lockwood Mathews Mansion

I attended the Traditional Building Conference this week at the Lockwood Mathews Mansion in Norwalk, Ct.  I have lived in this area nearly my entire life, have driven by the Mansion hundreds of times, and somehow have managed never to tour the mansion.  The conference seemed an ideal opportunity to finally see the inside of the mansion and to take care of some of my continuing educational units. Although the conference was restricted to the the entry, rotunda, and the billiards room, we could peak into the other spaces which have been restored to their former glory.  It was a real treat.

 The mansion was built in the 1860's as a summer home near the Norwalk River.  The city is really built up now, but I imagine when the mansion was built, it was almost a coastal home, and probably had views of  the Long Island Sound.  It was built in the Second Empire style, and was a precursor to the Newport Mansions which were built some 20 years later.  I have to say I love the architecture of this building, the granite, the massing, but have always found the wooden porch, picture above, to be an odd design element.  It's always seemed way to spindly and weak compared to the massive granite building.

 I love this little conservatory room.  apparently major green houses were part of the original estate...they were demolished many years ago, and I've never seen them.

 Roof and dormer details

 Porte Cochere

roof and dormer details

view from the South East

Floor Plan

 Entry Hall with extravagantly carved mantel

Detail of Mantel

 Library with restored woodwork and new wallpaper

 Library with restored ceiling details 

Much of the restoration work including ceiling painting and woodwork has been done by the amazing firm of John Canning Art Restoration & Decorative Painting.  They are a world renowned company located nearby in Cheshire Ct.  They have worked on notable projects including the Grand Central Station renovation in NYC.  Mr. Canning gave one of the lectures about his work on the restoration of the mansion. It was fascinating.

 Library before the wallpaper was installed

 Detail of Library Cabinet


Music Room

 Detail of Billiards Room ceiling

 Detail of Billiards Room Ceiling




  1. The porch does seem to be out of place, but it still looks great. I guess the weak look came from it following the overall shape of that part of the house, having to bulge at odd places rather than being a defined space in front of the house.

    Tittle Brothers

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