Palmer House, a historic building at the 4UR Ranch, has a new look! The remodel of the building, taken on by Avery Auger of Creede America, started late winter/early spring. When walking into Palmer House, you will now experience a light, open and airy feel. The building still has a lot of the same beautiful historic qualities that were there before, such as the rock chimney and fireplace, bead board and lofted ceilings, but now they are enhanced and highlighted.
Avery Auger of Creede America put his wisdom into the start of this project, and worked closely with the Ranch, keeping with the ‘feel’ of the historic buildings populating the grounds. Avery strives to do just this in all his design work throughout Creede, grabbing inspiration from the historic “funky old shacks” and miner cabins, as well as the mining structures themselves. Avery is able to capture the uniqueness of these structures and use an evolution in design to bring a modern day beauty, comfort and touch to his architecture.
The building has always been used as it was intended from its opening in 1906, and was referred to as the “Casino”. A 1906 Brochure from the Ranch Describes it as such: “The Casino, or amusement hall, is a spacious building designed for the entertainment of guests. It has an admirable floor for dancing, a large and attractive fireplace where open wood-fires burn each evening throughout the summer. The Casino contains a piano and a billiard (pool) table.” The original term “Casino” may have meant a gaming room but it also may have been derived from its Italian roots of “casa” which meant a summerhouse or pavilion, a gathering area for the guests. Some guests remember when they were younger, everyone would leave the lodge immediately after dinner to allow the staff time to clean up. They would go to the Palmer House to listen to stories. Afterward, the children would go to bed and the adults would stay behind to play cards, etc. The original front porch was enclosed and the roof sported a cricket. During the remodel, we uncovered various paint colors used over the years, including a bright turquoise (pictured below).
Avery Auger was happy to tell us a little more about the project:
4UR: What was your reason for taking on this remodel?
Avery: “My love of historical structures. The restoration of the Sunny Side Chapel in Creede is an ongoing project I am involved in. Palmer House is one of the oldest structures at the 4UR, and a lot of the original ‘fabric’ was still there.”
4UR: Was there any cool discoveries made during the remodel?
Avery: “There weren’t too may as most materials were pretty apparent. One discovery was made above the double door entrance. There was a transom window above the doors, or the doors were originally higher.”
4UR: What was the toughest part of the Remodel?
Avery: “We had a little issue with the flooring, but nothing major. When I approach any restoration project, I have a strong hunch of what we can do and the strategy that will be followed. That can all change as we peel back the layers and maybe find the walls were in worse shape than we thought, or something else can show up that is not anticipated. Luckily, this was not so with Palmer House. The flooring is the original, as well as 98% of the bead board. Very little had to be replaced. The plaster walls were in poor condition, but we knew that ahead of time. The drywall covers right over the old plaster, to keep it as authentic as we could.
“A lot of people want to know why we would not rip out a replace all the old stuff? To me there is something about the original material that is appealing, as if allowing old ghosts to remain. It’s about preserving the heritage of the place.”
4UR: What are your thoughts on the final outcome? What are you most pleased with?
Avery: “Two thoughts on this . . .
“I hoped to achieve better lighting in the space. Palmer house has few windows, and the lighting system we put in was designed to get light where it needed to be not just in the evening, but also during the day. I had the Quiller workshops in mind, knowing that an artist’s lighting is essential to their work.
“I think Palmer House is a classy space. The remodel was not terribly complicated or expensive to do. My question is, will it find new uses? Will it become a beloved space above what it already was? Time will tell.”