- The Washington Times - Friday, January 13, 2006

Older than George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the mansion built by British loyalist Robert “King” Hooper exemplifies the best Georgian-style architecture of pre-Revolutionary War America. Its symmetrical facade, centered on Corinthian columns supporting a triangular pediment, may have been copied from a pattern book by British architect James Gibbs that widely influenced high-style Colonial architecture. Gibbs based his building designs on the classical principles espoused by 16th-century Italian architect Andrea Palladio, whose concepts also influenced architect Thomas Jefferson.

One of the most striking features of the 1754 house is its illusion of masonry construction. The front looks as if it were built of stone blocks but is really made from beveled pieces of wood covered in paint mixed with sand. This rusticated effect was also applied to several Colonial-era buildings in Newport, R.I., by sea-captain-turned-architect Peter Harrison, leading one historian to conclude that Harrison designed Hooper’s house.

In 1860, businessman Francis Peabody Jr., who had studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, purchased the house and named it The Lindens.

He added more historic refinements, including fireplace mantels by early American woodcarver Samuel McIntire and scenic French wallpaper in the Palladian entrance hall. Before the house was moved to Kalorama Road NW, the richly detailed wallpaper was steamed off the walls and then rehung in the hallway where it remains.

Peabody also added a kitchen wing and sun porch that weren’t transported to Washington. Also left behind were the wooden posts and beams that supported the original structure. They were replaced with steel and the house widened by 2 feet to accommodate modern conveniences such as plumbing and heating ducts.

— Deborah K. Dietsch

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