Skilled Craftsmen at Work: Our In-House Upholsterer

A Talented Artisan Who Has Become Part of the Fabric that is The Manor

Along craftsmen’s row, a quaint series of workshops built as part of an all-brick cottage house on the grounds of The Manor, hang “shingles” declaring the intended purpose for each space and the trade to which inhabiting craftsmen belong. The shops are reminiscent of an earlier age when most were known by their particular trade and goods were made by hand to serve the local village; the tradition of which The Manor has worked to carry on in support of the extensive care and skilled workmanship needed to maintain the grandeur of the historic property. If, on your next visit to The Manor, you happen upon the shops and peek into the doorway beneath the sign that reads “upholstering”, you might just find Patricio Guzman attending to a piece of antique furniture propped upon his workbench.

More like family by now than employee, Mr. Guzman has been keeping The Manor’s appurtenances well-covered in fine fabrics for decades. If you’ve ever sat in a chair at The Manor, then you’ve experienced his handiwork. Whether in The Dome or the dining room, a banquet chair or a baroque settee, Mr. Guzman has upholstered it.

Beginning his career at The Manor in 1971, first as a server as well an assistant to the owner Harry Knowles, Mr. Guzman soon found himself with a talent and a trade he hadn’t before considered. Witness to many of The Manor’s finer furnishings being shipped out for repair or recovering at great expense with less than impressive results, Mr. Guzman couldn’t help but to have an “I could do that” impulse. Always one to look out for The Manor’s best interests, and one of the many proactive thinkers who have helped make the venue’s reputation for perfection, he consulted with Mr. Knowles on letting him learn the craft of upholstery and take on a piece or two here or there, repairing and recovering some of The Manor’s furniture.

As chair led to chair and projects--along with his skills--grew, he soon found himself taking over a larger shop and being called-on to fulfill all of the furniture upholstery needs of The Manor. He quickly became an example of talent and enthusiasm finding opportunity. Mr. Guzman, however, credits The Manor’s owner with an unwavering trust in him to take a chance, fostering all his employees’ growth within the business, encouraging their improvement, and providing the resources necessary to do whatever was needed…not just to do it, but to do it well.

Mr. Guzman at work in his upholstery shop at The Manor, repairing a classic chair from the Terrace Lounge.

After over 45 years since his start at The Manor, Mr. Guzman has honed his skills and expanded the scope of his work to include the venue’s sister properties of Highlawn Pavilion, Pleasantdale Chateau, and Ram’s Head Inn. With his recent work renewing antique pieces to complement the décor of The Manor’s many newly renovated rooms, it has stayed consistently rare to find his shop without some type of chair in some stage of repair. He has joked that by the time he completes every project for which he planned, it is time to start again revitalizing the items he had crossed off the top of his list.

         

        

This antique chair was reupholstered in a beatufully patterened fabric with a lush tufted effect by The Manor's own Patricio Guzman to complement the aesthetic and color palette of the new Vesailles Bridal Suite, one of thousands of furniture upholstery projects he is responsible for at The Manor.

But his light touch and eye for detail with delicate, intricate pieces and an ability to shape and fit beautiful fabrics on age-old furnishings has enabled The Manor to revive antique pieces to be both visually impressive and comfortable objects of form and function.

Very few places exist--and even more rarely so, restaurants and event venues--where skilled artisans are valued enough that the business is willing and able to invest in creating an environment where they can flourish as a holistic part of a larger business—where trades of the hand are integral to the ethos of the venue. And where their skills can shine to bring added quality, character and charm to the environment that guests experience.

In reflecting on his time at The Manor, even though he has lived it across the decades, Mr. Guzman still almost shakes his head in amazement all the unique skills of so many individuals--from bakers, to carpenters, to an in-house laundry, to the gardeners who maintain the expansive grounds—all employed directly by The Manor just to create a singular overarching experience for a guest dining with us for two hours, or an attendee of one of our weddings. It is a massive undertaking, but one that does not lose sight of the importance of the individual in making the whole better than the sum of its parts.

What Mr. Guzman is too humble to also contemplate is just how much value he personally has added to the experience of our guests as well. We appreciate his loyalty and talent, as well the passions of countless unnamed contributors who strive just as hard at their own craft. The best reward for their efforts is when we notice our guests stop to admire some detail or another throughout The Manor and guess with each other how it was done. In most instances the answer to the question not asked is, “Yes, it was done by hand, it is real, and it did take a lot of time, effort, and skill to do it.” For those of you have noticed, we thank you. And for those who have simply enjoyed your experience at The Manor, whether any detail stood out or not, your satisfaction is reward enough. Because that is what Mr. Guzman--and all of us at The Manor--do it for.

Tools of the trade: Despite the advancements in the availability of power tools and new equipment, some of the favored tools of Mr. Guzman are the classic pieces he's picked up along the way that--along with a steady hand and trained eye--always just seem to work well.


Also read about some of the other talented artisans whose craftsmanship has been integral to The Manor's authentic design. 

Aliya Riaz
Decorative Painter

Gerd Dagne
Renovation Upholsterer

Hans Breuckl
Coppersmith


A Brief Overview of Our Renovations
Recently, The Manor has embarked on a new era of growth and change, undertaking an extensive multi-year, multi-phase revitalization project. Continuing to build upon our success, this multi-million dollar endeavor has included an array of upgrades, renovations, and changes to the physical structure of the building. As many of our guests have already experienced, the early phases of this ambitious initiative included a completely new foyer and lobby, enlarging and redesigning the aesthetics and physical structure of these spaces, making them more airy, open and welcoming. 
Read More >>


The Planning Process - Preparing for Renovations
Before any structures could be erected, any stone could be laid, or any walls adorned, the painstaking and complex task of planning The Manor’s renovation first had to be defined. There may never have been a doubt that The Manor would continue to evolve and offer new amenities (as it had over the course of its almost 60 years prior), but deciding on the timing and scale of the project required a great deal of consideration, forethought, and scheduling. Committing to a multi-year, multi-million dollar project and setting the plans into motion was no small task.  
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Making a Grand Entrance
One of the ambitious redesign goals of The Manor’s renovation project was to create an entirely new, more welcoming, airy, and grand first impression for guests walking through our doors. Part of that plan included significantly opening up our lobby. An by opening up, that meant going up—removing a large part of the floor of the second story above the lobby to create a two-story view. Doing so required the removal of not just one ceiling, but two. Read More >>


Selecting and Installing Our Chandelier
To fill the lofty area created by the opening up of the lobby to two full floors, the Knowles family and The Manor's renovation team looked for a focal piece worthy of the grand scale of the room. They concentrated their attention on finding a central design element that would be large enough in size to match the scale of the space, but light and airy enough to complement the fresh, lively new aesthetic of the lobby.  Read More >>


Uncovering and Restoring a Hidden Gem
The Manor’s renovation crew uncovered the original arched windows, still in tact and in place inside the walls. Inspired by this discovery of The Manor’s past, the Knowles family, known for their appreciation of history and tradition, along with their architects and design team, worked to find a way to incorporate these relics into the new aesthetic. Read More >>


The Creation of an All-New Ladies' Lounge
Not to leave any aspect of our guests’ experience unattended to, the Knowles family incorporated plans for an entirely new ladies lounge. Built on the first floor in the heart of our historic building, the new accommodations now offer a more centralized and easily accessible location.  Read More >>


The Creation of an All-New Men's Lounge
Just below The Manor’s lobby on the lower level, is our newly-constructed men’s lounge. With rigid, rich wood elements, substantive leather seating, two high-definition television screens, and an array of other more masculine elements, this Manor man cave is another unique room newly-built from the ground-up for our guests’ enjoyment.  Read More >>


Installation of a New Elevator
In order to provide a more convenient and centralized means for our guests to travel from floor to floor in The Manor’s sprawling mansion, the Knowles family incorporated into the renovation project, plans to create a new elevator system. Making this possible would be no small feat and come at no small cost. Building a modern service with very technical requirements around the bones of a historic building proved to be a major engineering challenge.  Read More >>


Showcasing The Manor's Storied Past
Now hanging in The Manor, along the reconfigured walls of the former Carolina Room, is a gallery of images that reflects upon the long and storied history of our restaurant and event venue. Set on richly-adorned, earth-toned damask-patterned walls, the photos, now framed and engraved, mark special moments in time. The images are but a small sampling of the events across the years that we’ve hosted and the people with whom we’ve enjoyed them. Read More >>


A More Welcoming Vestibule
In their renovation planning, the Knowles family’s mission was to not only refresh, brighten and revitalize the look and feel of The Manor, but to also find ways of further improving the appeal of the public spaces to make them more welcoming and comfortable for our guests. Some of these improvements have been realized even with the first step through our doors.  Read More >>


Enhancing The Manor's Grand Facade
Along with extensive renovations to The Manor’s many interior spaces, so too came updates and upgrades to the building’s exterior. The multi-million dollar project included plans to extend the eastern portion of the second floor façade to add more symmetry to the front of the building, without growing the overall footprint of The Manor or impacting the beauty and size of surrounding grounds.  
Read More >>


The Garden Room - A Reimagined Banquet Space
Recognizing the importance of offering an entirely private and separate reception space apart from our other event rooms for wedding couples, corporate events and social gatherings, the Knowles family, owners of The Manor, established plans to completely gut, enlarge, and modernize our second floor. With designs for a new restroom, bridal suite, service areas, pre-function space, and banquet room, The Manor set in play the creation an entirely self-sufficient and self-contained party space. Our brides would now have a complete, thoroughly- and thoughtfully-designed exclusive rooftop space for their receptions.  Read More >>


The New Garden Room Bridal Suite
As part of The Manor’s newly constructed rooftop ballroom, we’ve designed a special space just for the bride. Our Garden Room Bridal Suite offers a cozy private sanctuary to escape and prepare for the events of the day. With a private restroom, easy elevator access and located directly adjacent to the event space, the Garden Room Bridal Suite provides for all of the newlywed’s needs. Our design team, led by Keri Knowles, carefully selected bold patterns, rich fabrics, and regal colors that would create a luxe look and feel that every bride deserves on her special day.  
Read More >>


Our Enchanting New Rotunda Bridal Suite
As yet another entirely unique, authentic space at The Manor, our newly revamped Rotunda Bridal Suite now offers our brides a lush, romantic getaway to prepare for their special day. This space has been re-imagined from a public ladies’ lounge to serve as a private suite exclusively for our bride and her bridal party.  Read More >>


Versailles Bridal Suite I - A Touch of Aristocratic Enchantment
The awe-inspiring reinvention of this additional all-new bridal suite successfully elevates The Manor’s already unique environment. From the color palette to the architectural style, to the design choices and lux furnishings, the room provokes a vibrant, fresh and breathtaking feeling. The aesthetic pays significant homage to The Palace of Versailles, Louis XVI design, and the French baroque style.  Read More >>


Versailles Suite II - Combining Classic French Grandeur with Modern Amenities
With ornate designs and luxurious details reminiscent of Versailles, our newest of The Manor’s grand bridal salons offers our bride her own private retreat to feel pampered in extravagance as she prepares for her special day. From a full-length three-way mirror to a an adjoining salon space with three glamour stations that feature large vanity mirrors surrounded by Hollywood lighting, this suite provides for a bride's every need. Read More >>


Our Charming New Regency Bridal Suite
This cozy new bridal suite was recently fully redesigned and redecorated for our Manor brides. Specifically for the use of our bride hosting her wedding reception in The Manor’s Regency Room, the suite offers easy access to the adjacent ballroom.  Read More >>


Following a Long Tradition of Master Craftsmen
The Manor has enjoyed over a half-century history of fostering a holistic approach to its business, to keep as much of what defines us within our own family of operations. A vital part of sustaining that ethic is our tradition of supporting the work of true artisans and incorporating their talents into all that we do.  This may make us a larger business to manage, and a more costly one to operate, but we believe that it also improves the quality and authenticity of the experience we can provide to our guests.  Read More >>


Skilled Craftsmen at Work: Our Decorative Painter
Aliya Riaz, the creative force behind the award-winning decorative art and design firm Portfauxlio, Inc. was tasked with leveraging her talents across a wide range of projects throughout the recent renovations. Whether it was decorative painting, gilding, glazing, applying specialty finishes, or unique plaster work, her contributions helped to successfully revitalize antique pieces, blend new construction with old, and further enhance the grand aesthetic of The Manor while maintaining its authentic charm and hand-crafted appeal.  Read More >>


Skilled Craftsmen at Work: Our In-House Upholsterer
For decades at The Manor, one man has been responsible for a very specific element of the venue’s décor. Gerd Dagne, an upholsterer trained in the art of design with fabrics, has sewn, assembled, installed, and maintained practically every piece of ornate drapery hung at The Manor and its sister properties for more than 30 years. His talents in this cut & sew craft have stood the test of time, while many others in the profession have not. In an age where labor-intensive craftsmanship has become too costly and attention to hand-made detail is less appreciated, only those with a reputation for quality and skill have flourished.  Read More >>


< Back to Main Renovations Page

The Manor has undertaken an extensive multi-year, multi-phase revitalization project.

Continuing to build upon our success, this multi-million dollar endeavor has included an array of upgrades, renovations, and changes to the physical structure of the building.

Many of these improvements are already in place, while others are soon to be ready for our guests' enjoyment.


Our All-New Garden Room is Now Open for Wedding Receptions, Social Banquets, Corporate Events, and Other Private Parties.

This Unique Two-Room Event & Celebration Space Includes a Ballroom that can Accommodate up to 80 Guests.

Click Here to Contact Us for Room Details and Booking Information.