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More restoration slated for Graycliff in Derby

Restoration of the spacious living room floor, dining room and entryway floors will start Monday at the Graycliff home in Derby.

The work, which also includes the installation of a fire-suppression system at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed summer home, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“We are delighted that we are embarking immediately on another major restoration project, coming so quickly on the heels of our historic landscape,” said Reine Hauser, Graycliff’s executive director.

Restoration of the grounds – one of the few times Wright designed the landscape by hand – was recently completed at a cost of $650,000. Improvements included restoring the irregularly shaped scenic pool and the circle leading to it, and the planting of paper birch, eastern hemlock and northern spy apple trees, the varieties Wright chose for the eight-acre estate.

The $325,000 for the interior work was provided by New York State, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation and the Hooper Family Foundation.

Hauser said concrete planks installed in the late 1940s to replace the wooden floor that collapsed from moisture in the basement will be removed. A wide-plank cyprus floor will be installed.

The fire-suppression model – the same now being used by the National Park Service in historic buildings – is a misting system that emits less water without losing any effectiveness, while reducing damage to interiors and furnishings, Reiner said.

During the last 16 years, the Graycliff Conservancy has purchased the Graycliff property, which was owned by the Darwin Martin family, removed nonhistoric buildings and made structural repairs to all three of the Wright-designed buildings, and completed restoration of the building exteriors. It is now working on the interiors.

Graycliff, which was completed in 1931, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a designated New York State Landmark.