Mills Mansion Dining Room

CURRENT PROJECT: DINING ROOM RESTORATION

After a century, the silk velvet drapes and the ornate ceiling design were showing their advanced age, diminishing the opulence of the impressive and elegant dining room. In 2017, the Friends made the restoration of this room its highest priority.

Decorative flourish

As of September 2019, Phase 1 of this ambitious project is complete. Phase 2 continues, focused on creating custom exterior storm windows for the dining room and library and in time, repainting the faux marble at the top of the walls.

We especially thank our members, donors and event attendees who helped make this happen.

Draperies

The drapery project was funded in part with a generous grant of $48,000 from the New York State Park and Trail Grant Program (NYSPTGP) for “Keeping Up Appearances: Maintaining Opulence of Staatsburgh’s Grand Formal Dining Room.”

Staff from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation worked to source fabrics from New York-based company Kravet/Lee Jofa, which specializes in high-end and custom fabrics.  The very ornate trims, tie-backs and tassels were supplied by Samuel & Sons, a leading supplier of intricate trims, or passementerie.  The materials used to make the drapes very closely replicate the Gilded Age materials of the mansion’s historic drapes.

Volunteers from Embroidery Guild of America worked many hours on the creation of the stunning new drapes, closely resembling the originals, for the room’s 5 enormous windows.

Ceiling

The Friends funded the re-painting of portions of the room’s ceiling where the peeling paint detracted from the splendor of the room.

Tablecloth

Mrs. Mills was renowned for the quality of her linens. To complete the refreshed setting and to reflect her special concern for this aspect of entertaining, the Friends purchased a stunning, linen damask tablecloth for the 15-foot dining table, custom made in Ireland.

“The dining room was the zenith of impressive experiences during the Millses’ lavish weekend parties for the elite people in New York society,” says Pam Malcolm, Historic Site Manager: “If their guests were not sufficiently impressed by all the other rooms, or the stunning landscape and river views, entering the dining room with its marble-lined walls, giant tapestries and gilded 18-foot ceiling, tended to elicit the admiration Mrs. Mills sought from peers in her social set.”

We think Mrs. Mills would be pleased.

Click through the gallery below to follow the progress of our dining room restoration project.

EDUCATION


Staatsburgh is an unforgettable classroom where students explore the world of 100 years ago. Depending on their grade level, they may learn about the lifestyles of Gilded Age millionaires and servants, about immigration and industrialization, or how the estate functioned as an independent community. The Friends partners with the Staatsburgh State Historic Site team to fund the development of new programs and exhibits.

Decorative flourish

 

For more details on current programs:

Visit the Staatsburgh Education topic

Decorative background detail view of a ceiling
 

“My favorite room is the dining room because it is the wow factor of the house. The big event when people visited here was dinner. This was, if you notice, the most elaborate room in the house. This is where Mrs. Mills got to show off.”

-JOE D’AGOSTINO-