The Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion project

by Tracy Davis on March 18, 2009

We just received these photos of our Pabst sample on loom. It’s very encouraging to finally see this design take on a three-dimensional life.

This sample is being woven of Himalayan wool using the Tibetan cut-loop weaving technique. Making a sample, sometimes referred to as a “hand trial” or “strikeoff”, is often part of the process of creating a custom carpet. This allows us to confirm the color choices and color matching, and provide a more accurate representation of the look and feel of the finished carpet.

NOTE: We’re keeping all the information on our Pabst Mansion project in one post, with dates noted. When we have new information, the post date will change to the most current update.


February 2009: We are finally entering the production phase. The design phase lasted longer than any of us anticipated as we interpreted, drafted, reviewed, and changed the various elements. Having three opinionated professionals on this job (Gail, John, Tracy) is enjoyable and stimulating, but obviously entails extensive communication.

We ended up with fifteen colors in this carpet, primarily shades of green and gold. Now a small sample is being woven to check for color; after the colors are approved, we’ll be ready to roll!


Original post, 2007

star-medallion.gifWe’re working with historic preservation expert Gail Winkler to reproduce a hand-knotted carpet for the Regency Room bedroom (a/k/a “Emma’s room”) in the Flemish Renaissance Revival Frederick Pabst mansion in Milwaukee, WI. The painstaking restoration of the room includes uncovering the original lincrusta on the ceiling, and working with Scalamandre to reproduce the window treatments.

The only documentation we have of the original carpet is the visual reference provided by black & white photographs from 1902. The photos were originally taken with a wide-angle lens, and some areas of the photographs are overexposed. This makes it quite a challenge to determine the scale, size, and shape of some of the design elements as we try to replicate the original carpet.

In April 2007 we made a trip to Milwaukee to┬áinspect the architectural detail of the Regency Room, particularly the mantel and the restored ceiling. This really paid off, and provided us with a plethora of ideas to present to Gail Winkler and the Mansion’s architectural historian, John Eastberg.

Regency room ceiling.jpg border idea from ceiling.jpg

1902 photograph of the Regency Room, with draft design mockup:

Regency Room with carpet mockup.jpg

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe T March 20, 2009 at 3:36 pm

It is cool to see the work in progress, thanks for sharing.

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Mary S. March 23, 2009 at 9:51 am

What a cool project for you, Tracy! My daughter and I toured the Pabst Mansion during a college visit to Marquette a few years ago. It was one of the best “old mansion” tours we’ve ever done (and, we’ve done a few!) Well worth a visit for anyone going to Milwaukee.

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