Monday, September 26, 2011

Knox Hill Project:Weekly Update: More incredible "Finds"

Surprise! Just when we think we have discovered everything!
Restoration: The art of taking what appears ordinary and returning it to its former granduer.

People who do not restore houses often ask me when we will be done with the Nagele-Merz House. My reply is "when its done, its done and of course there will always be maintenance so really an Historic house is never done". It is just a process: from dilapidation, to restoration, to preservation.  To restore an old house means you have to be a patient artisan. Plans must be subject to change . You are an archeologist letting the house tell you what its is rather than you making it something. This is not "gut rehab" which is the city of Cincinnati's idea of what you do to an old house. This is not a 3cdc/HGTV makeover either, it is a restoration and it tells you whats next.

Greg works on the wall chipping away the newer layers
This week our house 'shared' with us another of its secrets in the discovery of the design of the wainscot/dado area in the formal dining room. While scraping off layers of paint to get back down to a clean original surface level, we discovered a color change. This was on the east wall and one of the few 'intact' area of the dining room as other areas had extensive plaster damage  We needed to preserve and repaint it this wall in order to maintain the wall to window trim ratio as original. What we found was that there was a hand painted  series of lines at the chair rail height in this room. 3 lines in fact two small ones at the top and bottom with a 2 inch line in between which made the division between the upper and lower wall colors.

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Clearly the dining room was the 'showplace' of the house and where the family enterianed. The multiple colors, banding ,linewok and stencilling is simple over the top for a small cottage and its owners valued  their weekend surroundings as much as their  in town house.


Proper ceiling prep is critical if stencilling and line work is to look correct.
 Work continues on the ceiling prep. After extensive sanding and prep we were finally ready to apply a base primer to the ceiling. We used a special  drywall primer. We have one coat on now after the second coat we will do and sanding and filling to get a smooth a surface as it possible then another coat of primer before the actual base painting is begun and then of course the line work, stencilling and medallion installation.

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