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The finish plaster coat has been completed for the second floor rooms, kitchen, butler's pantry, and powder room. We had the original plaster analyzed in a laboratory and we matched the finish coat exactly. We used custom graded sand to match the original sand finish exactly. As part of series of tests/mock-ups we had the plasters mock-up the Robie House plaster mix. The plaster finish of the Robie House had a rougher sand finish which utilized a large sand granule. The Davenport House utilized a finer sand granule which resulted in a more delicate sand finish. It is interesting to see the evolution of FLW's use of materials.
We have successfully replicated the stain finish of the 1901 wood trim. We worked with a furniture restoration specialist, who previously worked on the Dwight Martin House. The original wood finish was tested in a laboratory to identify the chemical composition of the stain system components. We were fortunate to find the original wood finish covered by a piece of 1931 wood trim. We did a series of stain/finish tests with a range of stain options/colors. We then worked with a color and materials consultant to dial in the stain color exactly. The stain finish system for the interior is as follows wood conditioner to mitigate blotchiness typical stained softer woods, in this case the soft hardwood poplar. Then we applied and wiped off the stain. We then used an Antique Amber Shellac. Then we used wax to create a wonderful soft sheen finish.
We are currently just starting tests for the paint system. Conventionally restored FLW Prairie School Houses use two layers of paint to create a mottled look. Personally I am skeptical that this is historically accurate. I believe that the mottling was the result of lime or chalk, a type of lime, blooming in the paint finish as it dried. I intend to investigate this by using black and white photography of the Davenport finishes and comparing those to period photographs of other FLW houses.
The rooms of the Davenport House are looking abolutely beautiful. I am thrilled with the results thus far.
Soon. I will post some after the plasters finish next week.RJH wrote:"Excellent commentary and photographs. Photographs make this board come alive."
When are we going to see some photos of Davenport? You have time for a lot of blogging, though.
We retained two panels of the original, albeit cracked, unretouched painted plaster for future analysis and documentation of our restoration process for visitors. We have also created a library of original finishes which will be part of the archive that stays with the house. We also retained the original, heavily cracked and patched painted plaster within the restored plaster finish system throughout the entire house. This will allow future generations with even better technology to analyze an original FLW Prairie plaster and paint finish system.