Warne Ballroom at the Cosmos Club

Location: Washington, DC
Size: 1,000 SF
Client: Cosmos Club
Completed: 2012
Type: Master Plan and Restoration


The Townsend Mansion was designed by Carrère & Hastings, one of the preeminent American firms of the time, and was celebrated in Architectural Record in April 1901. In 1950, the house was purchased by the Cosmos Club, the prominent Washington institution founded in 1878 for men distinguished in science, literature and the arts.

JMA Preservation assisted the Cosmos Club to restore the Warne Ballroom whose gilded age finishes had lost their luster due to moisture infiltration and outdated repair campaigns. JMA Preservation evaluated the conditions of this Louis XV style room with its profusion of gilt and painted ornamental plaster and woodwork, sanguine overdoor paintings, an elaborate coffered ceiling with a central tondo, walls divided into arched bays for windows, doorways and mirrored panels, and oak parquet floor. The restoration efforts aimed to conserve as much historic fabric as possible while preserving the historic character of the room as it was from 1901-1915.

Initial work by JMA Preservation included a Master Plan to establish a scope of work for the restoration efforts for the ballroom. This report included investigations of the original finishes through paint analysis, historical research, and physical investigations. JMA Preservation developed construction documents to perform construction administration for the following restoration projects: painting, ornamental plaster, and gilding conservation; parquet floor refinishing; electrical upgrades including restoration of the historic light fixtures; audio-visual upgrades; and mechanical systems upgrades.