For most of the 20th Century, the Wren’s Nest was painted light gray with darker gray trim.
When the Joel Chandler Harris Association restored the Wren’s Nest starting in 1985, restoration architect Lane Greene suspected that gray on gray was not how the house was painted in 1900. He was right. After some layman’s paint sampling, Greene determined that the house should be yellow and red ocher.
You can sort of see as much in this watercolor postcard from 1909. Sort of.
The Association painted according to Greene’s findings in 1988. This was not a popular decision.
Many old codgers maintain that the Wren’s Nest should be and has always been beautiful gray on gray, and what are these stinkin’ colors on there now, and gosh I just hate them. I have listened to hours of complaints about our paint colors, every minute more exciting than the next.
In 1990, members of the Harris family — so I’m told — hired Robert Furhoff of Chicago to perform an architectural finishes analysis to confirm or contest Greene’s analysis. The Furhoff document is extensive* and confirms Lane Greene was more or less right. Fancy that, a guy named Lane being right.
The color is, however, slightly different than what’s on our walls now.
I’m not sure this picture does the difference justice, but the house will be a little darker than it has been for the past twenty years. Get ready.
* The Furhoff document is not exhaustive, however. We do not have documentation on how the latticework should be painted, nor do we have information on the window sashes.
We’re performing a small analysis and amending Furhoff’s document.