Chesser-Williams House

Chesser Williams House

Gwinnett County, GA

Lord Aeck Sargent was commissioned to work with the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center to perform a condition assessment and develop a preservation plan for the restoration and conservation of the historic Chesser-Williams House.

The Chesser-Williams house is an extraordinary historic resource that is unique in rural Georgia. The house is a classic vernacular example of an I-house configuration built circa 1880.  It features subtle Greek Revival features, such as boxed eave returns and a frieze board. Only minor alterations had occurred on the house since the late 1800s, however, the house was in need of immediate conservation in order to preserve its character-defining features.

The house features unusual interior finishes, which include surprisingly well-preserved interior folk art painting in both the parlor and central hall. The folk art painting was done freehand by an itinerant painter back in the 1890s. The parlor is the most elaborate of the interior spaces with a compass rose border on the ceiling, an apple motif bordering the wall and a landscape mural over the hearth. Our team collaborated with Frank Welsh of Welsh Color & Conservation to evaluate and document the decorative painting and to make recommendations for its conservation.

Gwinnett County moved the house to the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center, where it will serve as an interpretive house museum. We conducted solar studies to ensure that the orientation of the new site would not degrade the fragile painting. All recommendations for repair, relocation and siting focused on the conservation of the unique folk art and its ultimate interpretation for all visitors.

 

Practice Areas

Public Buildings
Preservation Planning