When we were restoring Woodbridge we uncovered many wonderful details of the house, but by far my favourite memory was finding Lewis.
I was quite pedantic about saving everything that we uncovered, even to the extent of telling the tradies to pick up every handmade nail that they saw in the dust and rubble. And I enjoyed finding ways to utilise these ‘finds’ somehow in the decor.
I was also a bit pedantic about cleaning as we went along with the renovation.
I arrived one day to see the workmen about to place sheeting behind a staircase. I was horrified to see that the back of the staircase was covered in cobwebs and that they were going to just cover over it. I called a halt while I went and got a broom to clean away the cobwebs, amid chuckles and no small degree of ribbing from the workmen. “Nobody is ever going to see it!” they argued.
Then as I brushed away the cobwebs, the handsawn timbers and dovetailing were revealed, and then as I brushed further and removed the cobwebs at the tops steps of the staircase, we saw Lewis’ signature.
Lewis was obviously proud of the staircase he had made. We ‘framed’ Lewis’ signature and left this section of the staircase bare so that all our guests could meet Lewis.
The workmen were suitably chastened!