O’Kane Notebook IV: The Ghost Pantry

Blue Parlor Wall, Dismantled

Blue Parlor Wall, Dismantled. Photo by John Butler

One of the first treasures we uncovered at O’Kane was a wall of horizontal featheredge sheathing painted in bright yellow.  It was hidden behind plaster in the Blue Parlor, and had shadow lines delineating where once there were shelves.  Where the boards terminate, on the left side, we think there was originally a wall, creating three rooms in the back half of the house.  Two smaller rooms flanked the Blue Parlor with its large central hearth.  The yellow paneling probably turned the corner, creating a pantry in what was originally the kitchen, given the large fireplace.  Throughout the house, we have continued to find boards and shards in the same chrome yellow, used as padding and strapping.  This helps to the date those walls, and solve the mystery of the house’s original layout.

New Wall, Old Panelling


Pictured above is the paneled wall that we uncovered in the room directly above the Blue Parlor.  The right portion of the paneled wall is original, and you can make out the hinges from the original door opening on the second panel from the right.  The door opening was filled with one wide, nondescript board and a board with the same chrome yellow paint and shadow lines.  During one period of renovation, this yellow pantry board was probably taken from the partition wall downstairs and installed upstairs to create what became a UNH student’s bedroom.

We have found other pieces of this doorway elsewhere in that upstairs bedroom.  In the closet, the head casing was being used as a shelf cleat, allowing us to determine the width of the original door.  Time and again during the dismantling process, we are reminded to be thankful for that Yankee thrift.

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