Lambrite Iles Petersen House Secco Fresco 4-story Entryway

Down in Davenport, Iowa, the Lambrite Iles Petersen House built in 1856 resides in the Hamburg Historic District. Its designer, architect J.C. Cochrane, is also known for the Renwick Mansion and Davies Mansion In Davenport, and the Scott County Courthouse, and the Iowa statehouse in Des Moines, and the Illinois statehouse in Springfield.

The Lambrite Iles Petersen House stands as the first residence built in the city to use the Italian villa style, and is named after three of its previous owners: Jospeh Lambrite, Dr. Homas Iles, and John H.C. Peterson. The current owners have sought out our expertise in secco fresco restoration to return its 4-story entryway, that culminates in an impressive belvedere overlooking the Mississippi River, back to its original splendor. A preliminary trip was made to the sight and, as is documented in the photographs below, the projects looks like it will be equal parts spectacular and challenging. We will be sure to post updates as we go.


Joseph Lambrite was a partner in Davenport’s largest sawmill, a major industry in the city’s early history.The mill was located on the Mississippi River between Scott and Ripley Streets.

Thomas Iles was a physician in Midway, Kentucky. He married Maria Louisa Nuckols and together they had eight children, seven boys, and a girl. In 1862 the family moved to Davenport. He served as the chief surgeon of the Civil War Confederate prison camp located at the Rock Island Arsenal. Iles became a prominent doctor in Davenport after the war, and he owned the house until his death.

John H.C. Petersen’s was born in Schleswig in present-day Germany and went to school until he was 16 when he was apprenticed to a dry-goods seller. Petersen married Johanna Elsbeth Hansen in 1844 and they had ten children together. The family immigrated to the United States in 1860 and settled in Scott county, Iowa  where he initially worked as a farm hand. In 1872 he established the business by which he would be known for the rest of his life. The J.H.C Pertersen’s Son’s Store was located at 219 Second Street. As the business grew he added the building at 220 Second Street and then later 217-217½ Second Street.The store became one of the foremost mercantile establishments in Davenport. In 1916 it was sold to Charles J. von Maur, R.H. Harned, and Cable von Maur, who owned their own store. Thereupon, the two stores merged into a new store named Petersen Harned Von Maur in 1928. In 1989 the store’s name was shortened to Von Maur.

The Inn at St. John’s: Part 1

The Inn at St. John’s is a luxury boutique hotel and golf resort in the Metro Detroit area. The centerpiece is a wonderful and breathtaking display of old-world craftsmanship, the St. John Chapel. A pair of corridors lead to the entrance, and both are ordained with coffered ceilings that are in need of a bit of repair.

With The Inn at St John’s temporarily closing its doors for the pandemic, the situation subsequently provided the ideal, isolated work-environment for the restoration of these ceilings, a project we were very happy and excited to win.

Work began with thorough cleaning and then transitioned into a condition assessment.

Besides areas of loss, deterioration, and crawling paint with craqueleurs, conditions you would expect to find, we also discovered that the two corridors differed in terms of the finish technique and the color schemes.

The Inn was originally a Provincial Seminary, conceived in 1936, but due to WWII, not constructed until about a decade later. Cardinal Mooney was the forerunner of the stylistic choices, of the Romanesque archways, wide-open spaces, and the grand bell tower. In 1949, classes began, and the seminarians even built their own golf course, and they could play the course as long as they had worked at least 60 hours per yer in maintaining it.

Stay tuned for more…