Before and After ~ First-hand Experience

The Eustis mansion outside Boston was a showplace of Aesthetic Movement finishes when it was completed in 1879. In the mid-20th century, the original painted surfaces were covered over with light colored latex paints that dramatically altered the character of the spaces. After Historic New England acquired the property in 2017, our firm was brought in to conduct historic paint analysis to determine what the original finishes had been.

These photos show the main hall as it appeared before (upper left) and after (lower left). The photo on the right is of me doing an exposure of the original surface by removing an area of the latex paint. This was done to confirm our conclusions about what we saw in the cross-section microscopy if paint samples that had been cast in resin and examined in the lab. The original finish here was made up of four layers of paint and glazes with hand-ground pigments and fine sand in one layer for texture. A team of conservators replicated the original finish. The after photo by Eric Roth clearly shows the difference appropriate paint colors can make in a historic space.

Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners is based on more than 40-years first-hand experience. The 720-page hardcover book now available in bookstores and from online retailers (it is currently 35% off on Amazon!). Signed copies are available directly from the author on this site. Your local bookstore can order copies from W.W. Norton.

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