11/8/16 NEMA 2016 - Belfry Historic Consultants: Find "Your Key to the Past”!

Belfry is pleased to participate in this year’s annual New England Museum Association Conference.   The conference will run from November 9th through the 11th in Mystic, CT and will showcase some of the most important historic archivists, conservationists, and restoration specialists in the U.S. 

 If you plan to attend, make sure to stop by and visit Belfry Historic Consultants, where we will be exhibiting rare and beautiful reproductions of hand crafted fabrics and wallcoverings.  Many of the fine products we offer will be on display, including: hand blocked and embossed papers,  passementerie, painted gaufrage mohair, horsehair fabric, leather panels, and many other historically accurate recreations which bring the richness of history to life before your eyes.  Hope to see you there!

10/28/16 Belfry Starts and Ends Their Summer Season With Two Great GHHN Events.

Belfry Historic Consultants are great fans of The Greater Hudson Heritage Network, one of the predominant historic conservation resources in New York State.  Therefore, we were thrilled to be a part of two of their events this year.  At the end of June, Belfry was proud to host the GHHN ‘Behind the Scenes Networking Event’ at our Beacon, N.Y. showroom.   We got a chance to talk about some of the exciting past and present restoration projects that we have been involved with, and to share some of our approach and methodology in recreating historic wallcoverings, fabrics, and trims.  It was a wonderful opportunity to talk about the philosophy that drives our commitment to Historic accuracy with some of the top professionals in the greater Hudson area and beyond. 

To wrap up the Summer and welcome in the Fall season, Belfry was pleased to take part in another fine GHHN event: the 2016 Annual Conference at Locust Grove Estate in Poughkeepsie, New York.  While the conference hosted several  talks and workshops on sensory immersion as an approach to accessing History, Belfry invited conference attendees to engage in the visual and tactile discovery of perfect period reproductions including:  printed gaufrage mohair, silk damasks, vibrantly colored horsehair fabric, embossed block printed wallpapers, and hand-crafted passementerie. We had an absolutely fantastic time.  What a great way to start and end our Summer season!!

7/25/16 Historic Paparazzi – Following The Life and Times of Alva Belmont

It’s not unusual for Belfry Historic to work on more than one project at a Historic location.  However, it is not every day that we follow the personal life of an historic figure as she moved from place to place.

In the 1980’s Belfry Historic (then Classic Revivals) recreated the lampas for the bedroom of Alva Belmont (then Alva Vanderbilt), at the “Marble House” Vanderbilt mansion in Newport.  We were able to research and find the mill that had woven it in 1888, who still maintained records and color samples from the original weaving.  With great attention to period accuracy, Alva’s bedroom lampas was restored back to its original, regal, lavender-ground splendor.

A restored section of Alva’s ‘Marble House’ bedroom Lampas.

Alva slept in this bedroom at Marble House, which she used as a summer vacation retreat with her husband, William Kissam Vanderbilt, until they divorced in March  of 1895.  A year later, in 1896, Alva remarried Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, and  shortly afterwards,  began renovation on Belmont's Newport mansion, Belcourt. 

Belfry Historic Consultants received a call from Belcourt in the beginning of this year and was tasked with reproducing the sun-worn monogramed damask wall coverings which lined the hallways of this great estate.   Through painstaking analysis of the original document fibers, Belfry worked with Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company to recreate the damask with precise color matching and exacting detail.  Adding to that, perfectly reproduced cords and trims which were hand-manufactured by Sevinch Passementerie, the hallway damask was brought back to its original splendor.

We’re not stalking Alva Belmont, we promise!   However, we are very excited to have followed the life and vision of this influential figure as she left her mark on two of the most beautiful homes in Newport, Rhode Island. 

The restored Belcourt damask, juxtaposed with a section of the original sun-worn document.

Watch the video of Catherine Buscemi talking about the restoration process here:

6/20/16 Belfry Historic Consultants: Dinner with the Lincolns

In the spring of this year, ‘Belfry Historic’ owners/operators, Catherine Buscemi and Laurence Sansone spent an enchanting evening of fine dining, beautiful music and lively conversation, seated between Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. 

The evening was a recreation of a pre-1860’s dinner party, complete with period Lincoln reenactors exchanging polite banter as well as some historically poignant political sparing (Stephen A. Douglas was also in attendance).  ‘Edwards Place Historic Home’ in Springfield, Illinois hosted the gala to commemorate their recent renovation, in which Belfry Historic Consultants played an integral role.  Belfry restored the original wallpapers in the Dining Room, Formal Parlor, Library, and Children’s parlor, working with David Skinner and Sons. Belfry also supplied documented period patterns for the Sitting Room, by David Skinner and Sons, and for the Front Hallway and Back Hallway, by Hamilton Weston.

Belfry Historic Consultants was challenged to restore two document wallpaper fragments, discovered upon the removal of dense layers of subsequent wall treatments.  Through the painstaking efforts and expertise of David Skinner and Sons (one of Belfry Historic’s prestigious wall covering artisans) the patterns were restored and color matched to their original state with exacting attention to detail.

Illustrated clearly in the photos below, the pattern on the dining room fragment was washed out and sun-faded beyond recognition, with most of the original pattern completely lost; or so we at first thought. Suspecting that the original pigments would have left an indelible trace on the original wallpaper ground, we held the paper up to a window to illuminate the paper from behind.  Like magic, the sunlight, which had so greatly contributed to wearing away the original print, revealed instantly the full pattern in all of its original glory!

The formal parlor paper, also expertly recreated by Skinner and Sons, was restored from fragments recovered by Edwards Place by cutting through the wall of a cellar closet!  You can read many more details about the wallpaper recreation, as well as the rest of the very extensive and beautifully executed Edwards Place restoration at the Edwards Place Blog:  http://restoreedwardsplace.blogspot.com/

Our experience working with Edwards Place was an adventure we will never forget, least of all toasting a glass in the resplendence of perfectly reproduced antebellum wall coverings with Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln!


Past and present: Edwards Place left a portion of one Library corner unfinished for comparison between the original wall covering (right) and the completed restoration (left).

A view of the paper installed in the Edwards Place Library

A masterpiece in the making: behind the scenes at ‘David Skinner and Sons'

The second of two wallpapers beautifully recreated by David Skinner and Sons 
for the Edwards Place formal parlor.

Faithful reproduction to the most minute detail:  A close up view of the restored formal parlor wallpaper, 
with an original document fragment superimposed for side-by-side comparison.

A view of the Edwards Place sitting room, adorned with an 1840’s wallpaper patern from David Skinner’s catalogue: Edenderry.


 A beautiful period pattern  by Hamilton Weston, Uppark Trellis ca.1840
was installed in the Front and Back hallways.


Happy Earth Day - With Lim & Handtryck Wallpapers!

In honor of Earth Day, Belfry Historic Consultants would like to feature Lim & Handtryck wallpapers, who we have been so proud to represent in the United States for a decade.  

Their techniques, based on established traditions, and environmentally-friendly versions of historic color recipes include the use of handprints, original printing rolls and an over 100 year old surface print machine; called “The rose machine”. All of their products and manufacturing methods maintain high ecological quality and nearly all raw materials are renewable. The ground paper used is made from re-processed corrugated boxes and inks are made from natural pigments bound with pure linseed oil.

Here's to Earth Day and here's to Lim & Handtryck!

For orders and inquires, please contact: info@belfryhistoric.com or call: 845-275-4235.


Belfry Historic Consultants, LLC has moved its headquarters to Beacon, NY, located in the historic Hudson Valley area.  With Catherine Buscemi as acting manager, and John Buscemi remaining with the company as consultant, Belfry Historic will continue to provide the excellent service, attention to period accuracy, diligent research, and exceptional quality of goods for which it has become known.

To commemorate this relocation, Belfry Historic has also redesigned it's website.  This web re-launch features easily browsed samples of  the many fine wallpapers, fabrics, leathers, carpet, lace, and passementerie available from the artisans who supply our extensive catalog.

For orders and inquires, please contact: info@belfryhistoric.com or call: 845-275-4235.