The Georgia Trust


From Spooky to Sparkling: The restoration of Rhodes Hall

Rhodes Hall
photo by Diane Kirkland

BEFORE, Rhodes Hall Parlor

AFTER, Rhodes Hall Parlor
photo by Diane Kirkland

BEFORE, Rhodes Hall Parlor Ornamentation

AFTER, Rhodes Hall Parlor "Ivory" Ornamentation
photo by Diane Kirkland


Do you remember visiting Rhodes Hall when it was a "haunted castle?" Every Halloween from 1984 to 1992, the historic home became the perfect setting in which to spend a dark, spooky night. Screams of horror and delight filled the halls of the castle as volunteers transformed Rhodes Hall into something visitors would never forget. Through tireless restoration efforts, its haunted atmosphere has given way to sparking interior and exterior details even more memorable.

Rhodes Hall, the current headquarters of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and former home of furniture magnate Amos G. Rhodes, is currently being returned to its original grandeur. The most recent restoration to the "castle on Peachtree" includes extensive work in the parlor.

The parlor walls once again feature a beautiful pink silk damask, which was recreated from a piece of the original fabric by Scalamandre especially for Rhodes Hall. The walls had lost this rich adornment and had been painted by the time the Georgia Trust moved its operations into the building. The silk fabric also adorns the windows as re-creations of the original draperies once used in the elegant room. In the windows of the semi-circular bay, the self-lined draperies are hung "swag-and-jabots style" with delicate cream lace panels behind and starbursts above. The other windows feature pinch-pleat draperies hung on pin hooks with lace panels. George and Associates of Atlanta carefully upholstered the walls and reproduced the look of the draperies according to photographs from 1904.

The exquisite parlor fabric is complemented by the room's "old ivory" ornamentation. Decorative artists from International Fine Arts Conservation Studios (IFACS) delicately stripped numerous paint layers from the carved wood ornamentation in the parlor and then recreated the look of carved ivory with a stippled glaze.

IFACS artists also painstakingly recreated detailed, hand-painted rose designs on the ceiling and over the doors using original, surviving panels on the ceiling and photographs as documentation. The light colors in the room, coupled with the crystal chandelier and the transom windows of beveled glass in the apse, infuse the room with a soft glow, which contrasts sharply with the rich mahogany woodwork throughout the rest of the house. "This room has so much light and is so bright," says David Roark, IFACS decorative artist. "It is one of the most breathable rooms in the house."

"Rhodes Hall is a fantastic mansion," adds Andy Compton, IFACS project director and decorative artist. "It is very unusual to find a house so intact in this area."

IFACS has been involved with the restoration effort of Rhodes Hall since 1992, when the company began work in the entrance hall. "I'm proud to have been involved in the continued restoration of such a wonderful building," says Geoffrey Steward, IFACS managing director. "Rhodes Hall is a significant landmark in Atlanta."

Visit Rhodes Hall and see why it is a shining example of preservation and restoration. If you haven’t seen Rhodes Hall since its "haunted days," you may not recognize it!

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