Interior restoration under way at Korner’s Folly in Kernersville

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Chris Thompson finishes touch-up sanding on a window casing in the Rose Room of Korner's Folly in Kernersville, NC, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, one of the first interior rooms to be restored. The work is being done in honor of the late Polly Wolfe, granddaughter of Jule Korner, builder of the Folly. (David Rolfe/Journal)

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. – Doré Korner’s historic bedroom in Korner’s Folly has been called the Rose Room for as long as anyone can remember, but until recently, its caretakers did not know the original paint shade that had given the room its name, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Now a restoration project is underway to return the room to its former glory – the look Jule Korner gave it in 1905 when renovating it for Doré, his daughter.

The Rose Room is the first of the historic home’s 22 rooms to undergo restoration.

The Rose Room project is being done in memory of Polly Wolfe, Doré’s daughter who died Nov. 4 at the age of 91. She was the last person to have lived in the house. Her family spent the summers there when she was a child.

Historic Korner’s Folly, located at 413 S. Main St., Kernersville, was built in 1880. Jule Korner, an artist and designer, used the home as a showcase for his work. Now the historic landmark is open weekly for tours.

For the past few years, the Korner’s Folly Foundation has focused on restoring the outside of the house by stabilizing the foundation and porch and replacing the roof. The major exterior work is done, and some smaller projects should be completed soon.

“Since the roof above the Rose Room is no longer compromised, we are able to start work in there,” said Dale Pennington, executive director of the foundation.
Wolfe and Associates donated money to restore the Rose Room.

“The room was my grandmother’s room, and it’s being done in honor, and now in memory, of my mom,” said John Wolfe, Polly Wolfe’s son.

Unfortunately, Polly Wolfe will not get to see the end result, but she did know that work was beginning on the room.

“She had always had a tremendous love for the Folly, and she herself saved many of the objects that we will be putting back into the room. So she was very excited about the fact that her … mother’s room would be restored,” Wolfe said.

In a historic house, restoration is not as simple as selecting a nice shade of paint for the walls. First, the foundation hired HagerSmith Design out of Raleigh to do a color study for the Rose Room. The firm analyzed paint chips to find the room’s original colors and when it had been painted.

“It was amazing what we were able to find out,” said Chris Thompson, former president of the Folly foundation and current facilities committee chairman.

The room’s original 1880 color was mint green. Around 1890, the room was painted beige.

In 1905, the room was painted a soft rose or pale pink – quite a different shade from the brighter pink that it got in the 1970s.

Doré turned 16 in 1905, and Pennington said they believe that was when it became her room. It had been a guest room.

That soft rose color is the shade that the room will be returned to, since the room was best known as Doré’s room.

Workers have already completed some plaster work and floor restoration in the room. Work will pick back up in January.

Restoration work will include painting the room, replacing the silk fabric panels on the wall, recreating the burgundy drapes, repairing the plaster molding and restoring the pine floors to their original wood finish.

Eventually, a mural will be repainted on the ceiling. The mural was a total loss because of the leaking roof. There is no full historic photo of that full mural, Pennington said, so they will have to draw from motifs and themes from other rooms in the house.

Some of the home’s murals just need touch ups, but others require more work. That work will be grouped together as a separate project.

“Our broader restoration goal is kind of like moving room through room of the house, restoring one room at a time and prioritizing them,” Pennington said.

Wolfe said he hopes the Rose Room project will encourage others to step in and contribute to having other rooms restored.

Pennington said the interior restoration work could take decades and is dependent on funding.

“We hope there are others who come along and see value and donate money,” Thompson said.

To learn more about Korner’s Folly or to donate money, go to http://www.kornersfolly.org or call (336) 996-7922.