Before and After

Left: The final coat of paint on woodwork, baseboards, and windows.
Right: Wallpaper hanging is completed.

Once the Architecture team completed the repair work in the Blue Room, the decorative wall and woodwork finishes could be applied. The most dramatic transformation of the restoration was the application of the period-appropriate wallpaper and paint. All of the woodwork in the room was first primed with shellac—a technique used during the 18th century to seal the wood—and then coated with an oil-based primer tinted with pigments to closely match the paint. After two to three coats of primer, a final coat of hand-ground, oil paint was applied. Both the primer and the paint were applied using reproduction round brushes, the preferred tool for painting in the 18th century. The color of the woodwork (except for the baseboards) is now a delicate cream, and baseboards are now a dark grey. Those colors were determined from microscopic paint analysis and documentary research. Paint specialists, Erika Sanchez-Goodwillie and Chris Mills, executed the painting.

Left: Paint Specialist Erika Sanchez-Goodwillie priming the chair rail and mantel. Right: Architectural Conservator Chris Mills priming the door

Final coat of paint on woodwork and baseboards.

Once the hand-ground painting was completed, wallpaper was applied by traditional wallpaper hangers, Jim and Frank Yates. Installing the wallpaper began with coating the plaster wall surface with primer and liner paper. The primer layer prepared the wall surface to bond with an adhesive used for adhering the liner paper. Liner paper is a plain paper used to help smooth out and cover uneven wall surfaces before installing the wallpaper. In the 18th century, papering adhesive was a paste created from carbohydrates extracted from plants, such as wheat. For this project, a modern paperhanging adhesive was selected that could be easily removed in the future with minimal damage to the wall surface. This adhesive was applied to the back of the liner paper, and the liner paper was hung. Another layer of adhesive was applied on top of the liner paper for hanging the decorative wallpaper and border.

Master Paperhanger Jim Yates applying adhesive to the liner paper.

Paper hanging in progress.

Completed paper hangingAfter the paint and wallpaper application was finished, the room will be photographically documented.  The final touches to the architecture work will include dusting and wiping down all of the woodwork, wiping down the fireplace, mopping the floor, and installing hanging hardware for curtains and artwork.

Before and After

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