HISTORY BY DESIGN

The decorative history of a room can bring its past splendour to life, whilst providing an inspiring starting point for a new scheme

ARCHITECTURAL PAINT RESEARCH

Understanding how buildings, rooms, and individual interior elements were originally decorated and how their appearance was altered over time. Architectural Paint Research gives a lot of information about the decorative history of a room or a building and is therefore indispensable in building conservation projects.

PROCEDURE

Architectural Paint Research is the analysis of consecutive paint layers in a building, with the aim to identify original decoration layers and subsequent colour schemes of an interior (element) or a building façade. It is often carried out to determine an appropriate (historical) colour scheme for a repainting campaign. It consists of on-site small-scale excavation work, scientific analysis of paint samples and archival investigation.

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STRATIGRAPHY

Architectural Paint Research is mostly carried out on site. In multiple well-chosen locations in the room and on specific interior elements, paint layers are carefully uncovered one-by-one to reveal the paint and colour history. This so-called ‘stratigraphy’ is key to a good understanding of the visual appearance and surface quality of historic paint layers (colour, texture and sheen), and serves as a basis for microscopic analysis, for which discreet paint samples will be collected.

MICROSCOPIC ANALYSIS

Microscopic analysis of paint samples will provide further information about the build-up and composition of historical paint schemes. Sometimes a paint layer can be dated based on the presence of certain pigments. We can also get an idea of the extent to which paint layers have aged (faded or darkened) or have been abraded during past re-painting campaigns.

DECORATIVE HISTORY

Together these two research techniques provide insight about the paint history in general, and more specifically about the technical and visual aspects of individual paint layers. Archival and documentary investigation can often generate further information and assist in completing the decorative history.

RESULTS

The results of Architectural Paint Research are often quite surprising – historic interiors can hold many secrets to be discovered.

All findings will be presented in a report with ample images and illustrations and including advice on paint options. Following Architectural Paint Research, History by Design can give on-site guidance in choosing paint and colours, and source complementary interior furnishings such as wallcoverings, curtain and upholstery fabrics, furniture, lighting and accessories.

SCOPE

If you are interested in having Architectural Paint Research carried out, I can make a preliminary visit to your building site to assess the scope of the research project.

Together we can have a walk through the building, get a sense of its history, and identify interesting elements and promising locations for APR. A specific research question (e.g. regarding a certain period in the building history) will often come out if this. Getting an overview of the decorative history in general is however a very common research aim as well.

A preliminary visit will be followed by a research proposal and estimate.

PROJECTS

Below you can see some pictures that illustrate the procedure and results of Architectural Paint Research. Please view my portfolio to see the project details and a more extensive gallery.