Design: Cheers for a Born-Again Capitol

California gets a big Victorian bang for its buck

California's 107-year-old capitol in Sacramento was draped in festive bunting last week to mark the official debut of the most expensive and extensive single renovation of a historic building in U.S. history. After touring the $67.7 million restoration, which took six years to complete, flamboyant Willie Brown Jr., speaker of the California assembly, boasted: "It's the eighth wonder of the world. It is the most significant physical structure in the state of California."

Indeed, the four floors of the historic west wing, labored over by 2,000 construction workers and hundreds of special craftsmen, do...

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