Restoration of Clayton
From Home to House Museum
The restoration of Clayton began soon after Helen Clay Frick’s death in November of 1984. The home’s historic significance was assessed in terms of its importance as an example of domestic architecture of the period, its furnishings, and its status as one of the few intact homes from Pittsburgh’s lost “Millionaire’s Row.” Since the home had been the family’s primary residence from 1882-1905, this time period was selected for the restoration and the basis for historic interpretation.
With an established budget of $6 million, the staff began to assemble a team of structural engineers, architects, architectural historians and history and decorative arts experts to undertake the project.
The Office of Thierry W. Despont developed the initial planning document and was the supervising architectural firm. Urban Design Associates of Pittsburgh and Peters Building Co. were the local supervising architects and general contractor, respectively. There were numerous specialty subcontractors, most of whom were local to Pittsburgh, who did the roofing, painting, plastering, and restoration of stone and wood details.
Decorative arts consultants from the Preservation Society of Newport and Winterthur examined the interiors and furnishings of Clayton. Their efforts were supported by documentary photographs and invoices, public documentation, and records from vendors who had worked on Clayton through the years, all of which were used to create an interior furnishing plan.
The physical work was begun in February 1989 and completed in October of the same year.