Friday, August 27, 2010

Victorian Mantle/slate restoration project:

Regular readers might recall that some time back acquired salvaged right to a house that was being demoed. One of the "Prizes" was an elaborately painted/stenciled mantle. Unfortunately the piece had paint spill on it and the original slate hearth base piece was cracked beyond repair. We brought it back up for restoration and finally now that the Parlor Painting and stencilling is done it will be abale to be installed in the Knox Hill cottage

A damaged slate is a fairly common thing and unfortunately original slate is VERY expensive and a pain to install. Fortunately there are other options so we decided to build our own "slate hearth". We routinely make these for clients who have damaged slate and it provides an excellent alternative.
We use a product called greenboard which has some highly desirable properties. it is Water resistant, very stable, No VOC, contained no silica and is paintable and only 1/2 inch thick meaning it can go over an existing slate or on a floor and is very unobtrusive. Since we plan on new Parquet floors once they are installed it will fit perfectly. Hearths are typically 16 or 18 inches in depth in most Victorian houses.
To prep the board for Faux painting I apply a "base' color which should be in the red family. I use a color called Brickstone One good coat provides a good base for the faux painting and black banding.
The colors are applied in a random fashion similar to the original mantle and then marble veins are added by dragging a lighter color through the base paint. Once the mantle is installed I will "wash' the piece with tinted color which should,provide an exact match to the mantle. You always want to do this "final' finish once install takes place as you can more accurately get a good match because the lighting is consistent.

The mantle itself had several condition issues which we addresses by "backpainting' the black areas and then colorwashing the "spilled paint areas" (which we previously cleaned ) to get the color back to original.

Since this mantle was missing its summer cover I painted a piece of Luan to match and will install the old summer cover I found on ebay when it arrives. When the mantle is installed it will sit on top of the hearth piece

Next Step: Installation.