Exposing Original Red Paint

What is under that modern latex paint? In this photo I am working with acetone and cotton balls to dissolve layers of modern latex paint, exposing an area of the original red wall color in the great hall at Historic New England’s Eustis Estate to confirm what was seen in cross-section microscopy paint analysis.

Removing all of the modern paint by this method would have been impractical and was never considered but exposing the color in a sample area confirmed what we were seeing in tiny paint chips under a microscope.

The four-layer red paint treatment was subsequently replicated with hand-ground pigments to restore the original appearance of the hall. I was part of the team that did the historic paint analysis to restore the interior finishes.

The work we did is described in “Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners,” including before and after photos!

The award-winning and bestselling 720-page hardcover book is based on 40+ years first-hand experience in the preservation field and is available in bookstores nationwide and from online retailers.

Signed and personalized copies are available directly from the author in our shop, YourHistoricHouse.com/shop/.

Want to learn more about historic house styles? “A Field Guide to American Houses” by Virginia McAlester is the classic volume on the subject and is available in our shop along with select preservation and restoration titles by other authors. Save with our multi-book combo packs!

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