Miracle on Fourth Street:
An Architect Steps In

In 1968, The Decorators Club called on New York University architect Joseph Roberto to address serious water damage and extensive structural damage.

It was not long before Roberto fell in love with the house and committed himself to a complete structural restoration, one that took nine years to complete and was undertaken in four phases. Funding came from grants from the federal and state governments, private foundations, and corporate and individual donors. Phases One and Two included extensive exterior work.

Joe Roberto on the Merchant’s House roof, 1972.

Structural and roof restoration, 1970s















Phases Three and Four of the restoration covered interior structural work and interior restoration and painting. The Museum’s original 1832 ornamental plasterwork was restored in 1979 by renowned plaster conservator David Flahartyis. It is considered to be among the finest extant anywhere in the country.

  Ornamental plasterwork medallion in the front parlor.

Front parlor, 1979

Roberto was scrupulous in maintaining the integrity of the original design, reusing original materials wherever possible. Following the exterior and interior restoration work, he and The Decorators Club restored and reinstalled the collection of the Tredwells’ furniture and personal belongings. The museum reopened to the public in November 1979. In 1981, the interior of the Merchant’s House was landmaerkd by the City of New York. Today, it is one of only 120 sites to be so designated.










Miracle on Fourth Street: 85 Years as a Museum




..The Early Years..

..Mid-Century Changes..

..An Architect Steps In..

..The ’90s to Today..

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