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Common Glaring Deficiencies in FLW Restorations

 
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pharding



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
Posts: 2221
Location: River Forest, Illinois

PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 8:01 am    Post subject: Common Glaring Deficiencies in FLW Restorations Reply with quote

Based upon intact Davenport original wall finishes, interior stain finishes, and exterior stain finishes, I believe that glaring differences exist in most, if not all of FLW Prairie School restorations that I have seen in the area of finish systems. The original finishes were more transparent than what is being used in the many public and private restorations that I have seen. It is common for restored FLW buildings to have interior plaster and exterior trim coated with opaque paint. I believe that these finishes originally were transparent allowing the beauty of the substrate to appear through the finish. This would also give a more varied, natural appearance to the materials. I base this upon testing and visual observation of actual concealed matrials which were protected from the elements on the Davenport House, and careful examination of Clarence Fuerman interior photographs.
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Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn


Last edited by pharding on Wed May 03, 2006 8:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 9195

PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are absolutely correct. The worst things to happen to paint are latex and the outlawing of lead-based oils. It may be a healthier environment (although I'm not so sure children eating latex paint chips is a huge step up from lead) but it is now extremely hard to recreate finishes that were commonplace 100 years ago. It is mostly done artificially. And just try to find a day laborer standing on the corner by Builders Emporium who knows how to scumble with bees wax!
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RJH



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 682
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana

PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul,



I would tend to agree with you and I am glad that you broached the subject. Although our FLLW houses were built during different periods (Haynes 1952), I believe Mr. Wright had similar organic design intentions in leaving the interior and exterior wood as natural as possible.



My original Haynes house drawings specify under
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www.HaynesHouseLLC.com.
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MHOLUBAR



Joined: 03 Mar 2006
Posts: 132
Location: Oberlin, Ohio

PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 1:42 pm    Post subject: Early Finishes Reply with quote

In general I agree with Paul. The restored interior finishes at the Westcott House in Ohio are a colored wax encaustic and give a very good case study of the difference in old and new finishes. Unfortunately there was extensive restoration in the Westcott house and the clearer finishes tend to showcase the restoration rather than the architecture.
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mholubar
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D. Shawn Beckwith



Joined: 03 May 2006
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 9:45 pm    Post subject: Paints and stains Reply with quote

This is true regarding the paint formulations of late. When the Lead was in you did not have to paint for 10 years +, mildew was not a problem, coverage was great and it stuck to the substrate. Now you have to paint every 5-6 years.



For the Westcott we used a semi transparent stain on the exterior and formulated a finish that had organic pigments suspended in parafin to create an encaustic wax finish on the inside. Existing cabinetry exhibited a stain and we waxed all the old and new woodwork. We performed labatory analysis of plaster and paint and it was reported in a newspaper article of 1909 that the painters accidently caught the house on fire when melting parafin for the wall finishes. ( and we found evidence in the laundry room of such)

Ironically the article mentiones the man being rushed to the hospital in the nieghbors automobile, which was not a WESTCOTT MOTORCAR.



The restoration of the Westcott was performed to the Sec of Interior Standards but as Mholubar mentioned we did have to repair a lot of plaster due to conditions preceeding our renovations, removing altered items prior to installing new mechanicals. We did as much as possible to save as much existing where we could.



D. Shawn Beckwith

Project Manager Westcott House

The Durable Slate Company

www.durableslate.com
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therman7g



Joined: 24 Jan 2005
Posts: 263
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 4:36 pm    Post subject: Burton J. Westcott house Reply with quote

I really enjoyed your Historic Restoraton website of the Westcott house. Hats off to Mr. Wright, and to all you folks for restoring a treasure. Can't wait to see it in person.



http://www.durableslate.com/westcott.asp
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