STRIPPING HISTORIC EXTERIOR TRIM

Exterior paint layers build up over time, and accumulation of paint films will eventually fill and obscure original millwork details. An example is this Brattle Street Colonial Revival style house built in 1887. Built for Annie Thorp, a daughter of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, it was inspired by her father’s eighteenth century Georgian house nearby. The “revival” style was exactly that, a late Victorian homage to a much earlier traditional style. Even so, 1887 to the present was plenty of time for 18 layers of paint to accumulate, effectively filling the gaps in the small dentils in the cornice and likewise distorting other details.

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STRIPPING HISTORIC EXTERIOR TRIM

REFINISHING VICTORIAN WOODWORK FOR MODERN TASTES

The modern knock on the Victorian style is that it is both too busy and too gloomy, like the Addams Family. The modern taste runs to simple and light. Still, it is hard not to be awed by the lush craftsmanship that went into this paneled Victorian wood staircase, the rich, heavy panels and generous proportions and dimensions. And yes, it did need to be refinished, one way or the other.
 

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REFINISHING VICTORIAN WOODWORK FOR MODERN TASTES