With its hand-painted ceilings, carved rosewood staircase, marble fireplaces and elaborate plasterwork, the Culbertson Mansion reflects the affluence of a man once considered to be the wealthiest in Indiana. In 1867, William S. Culbertson spent about $120,000 to build his grand home in New Albany.
The three-story French, Second-Empire mansion encompasses more than 20,000 square feet and contains 25 rooms. The north, east and west facades each contain a semi-circular bay, allowing plenty of light into the rooms. Built by the brothers William and James Banes, it was, by all accounts, one of the most striking homes on Main Street.
No expense was spared in decorating the interior of the home. The family hired artists to paint the designs on the walls, ceilings and cornices of the first and second floors. Artists used the French technique of trompe l’oeil in several rooms to mimic paneling, molding or other textured surfaces. Special tools were used to create the look of wood graining. Many of the floors were hand-painted with a faux grain. Other rooms were covered with thick wall-to-wall carpet
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