18 FEBRUARY 2009 PRESERVATION IN PRINT www.prcno.org Jennifer Coolidge and Banks Mc- Clintock admit that this is the very reaction they seek to provoke with their historic preservation of 1228 Race St., a three-story, 10,000-square- foot Italianate residence that faces Coliseum Square in the Lower Gar- den District. “We are very big on people coming to the house and not knowing that we have redone it,” says McClintock. According to American New Orleans, “Focus on architectural detail rather than the whole make the house look like a stage set.” As an actress and screenwriter, respectively, Coolidge and McClintock have keen eyes for the scene-setting value of minutiae. They have gone to great lengths to assure the authenticity of the restoration as well as the future longevity of the residence. “Imagine if the wrong person had bought it,” observes Andrew Yon, president of the Coliseum Square Neighborhood Association, an all- volunteer group that has painstakingly worked to ensure the vitality of the neighborhood. “I have the utmost respect and admiration for what Jen- nifer and Banks are doing; they are putting [the house] back to its pristine condition. The city owes them a debt of gratitude. The right people bought this house, and it will be a huge con- tribution to the neighborhood.” The last major residence designed by noted architect Henry Howard before the Civil War, the Race Street building was drafted in 1861 for John T. Moore, a steamboat captain and wholesaler. After the foundation was laid, war broke out, forcing the construction to stop until 1867. Con- structed by esteemed builder Frederick Wing, the house was described in the contract as “an elegant first-rate city residence.” (New Orleans Architec- ture, Volume I: The Lower Garden District). “It had two huge walk-in closets, hot and cold running water with a boiler system that was designed by the steamboat guys to push hot water up into the bathrooms to get re- ally hot baths. So for the early 1860s, it was pretty advanced, I suppose,” McClintock muses. While working on the river, Moore befriended Samuel Clemens — who would later become known as Mark Twain. The writer made several visits to the house, the last in the year before Huck Finn was published. The Moores sold the home in the late 19th century to a Dutch family who changed the distinctive heavy iron balconies, a Howard trademark, to the more traditional wood. It took Coolidge and McClintock four years of searching to find their perfect home, and they celebrated with an elaborate birthday party for Coolidge to commemorate the start of the renovation. But then Katrina hit. The roofs were weak, and the house sustained serious wind and water damage. The biggest problem was the sinking foundation, which rendered the property a candidate for a tear-down, and it was red-tagged for demolition by the city. “Over about 100 years, the house sunk on one side and started to list pretty drastically,” McClintock says. Once they were able to secure some cement – at the time cement was scarce because the Corps of Engineers was using most of the available supply – Coolidge and McClintock were able to repair the foundation. An extensive masonry repair to the exterior of the house was followed by the decision to lathe and replaster the entire interior by hand. Because the skilled labor necessary for a job of that scale was not available, McClintock gathered a group of young people, and master plasterer Allen “Chink” Sumas taught a five-day “master class crash course” on tricks of the trade. A full plaster shop has been set up in the back, and McClintock makes molds to repair and reproduce large plaster medallions. With a project this large, budget is a necessary concern. The Historic Building Recovery Grant Program administered by the Louisiana State Historic Preservation Office helped fund the unearthing and rebuild- ing of the original 1300 bottle wine cellar and the reconstruction of 12 marble mantels. The grant will also contribute to repairing the hardwood and marble tile floors, the front porch foundation, masonry and windows. McClintock has acted as the general contractor for the project and estimates it has cost him one-third of what it could have. Although he takes a “hands-on” role, he credits his talented crew with the bulk of the work that has been done. “At one point we had roof slaters, copper- smiths, ironsmiths and masons. It was Actress and Screenwriter Open House to PRC in Midst of Major Renovation Imagine working tirelessly on a renovation project for nearly three years and then feeling complimented when a visitor asks, “When are you going to start?” Designed by Henry Howard before the Civil  War, the Lower Garden District home origi- nally featured heavy iron balconies. In the  late 19th century, a Dutch family purchased  the house, removed the distinctive Howard  ironwork and substituted wood.  A visible listing to one side landed the house on the city’s red tag list after Hurricane  Katrina, making it a candidate for demolition. The renovation, by necessity, began with  foundation repairs. By Suzanne Blaum, PRC Education and Outreach Coordinator Ph o to b y B a n k s M cC lin to c k Ph o to b y B a n k s M cC lin to c k