The meeting room, which was part of the original residence, was expanded around 1918 to include a fireplace. The room also features colored walls and dark wood paneling. The wooden fireplace frame is decorated with sculptural and incised ornaments, hand carved from solid teak by master craftsmen using special chisels and blades.
To restore the fireplace, a coat of paint was painstakingly removed and missing sections were repaired with wood that match the color of the antique surface before being stained and sealed. The ceramic tiles of the firebox required only minor surface cleaning. A craftsman from Italy was able to determine the original wall color of the room by carefully scraping away the layers of paint applied over the decades.
The sunroom was expanded after 1918 and was once used as a space for growing plants and convalescing. The room has many windows that allow the space to be bathed in sunlight. The upper stainedglass windows repeat motifs found throughout the residence; however, the imagery within the large figural panels is unique to the house. It is not known whether Rong Zongjing commissioned them, but their interpretation suggests connections to the previous resident’s own life.
The original wooden window frames required extensive restoration. The surface was sanded to remove old layers of stain and repaired sections were blended with the original wood. Missing hardware was also replaced and treated to match the original metal pieces.
During an expansion project following Rong’s purchase, the grand ballroom was created by combining three bedrooms. The space, which was used to host parties and formal events, is crowned by a massive 45-square-meter stained-glass skylight comprising 69 panels. This stained-glass centerpiece is a motif prevalent during the Art Deco era. It is juxtaposed with ornamental elements from ancient Greek and Roman cultures, such as the spiraling ribbons and corner laurel wreaths.
The restoration of this feature required the complete removal of the skylight. During an earlier restoration, the original glass was damaged and some of the panels had been installed backwards. Broken or missing pieces were replaced with vintage glass that look similar to the original.