Studying history and preserving the past has been the objective of mankind probably from the beginning of time when heliographics were etched into the sides of cave walls. The fact that other parts of the world were way ahead of the United States in history and development does not make the preservation of our history any less significant. One way to do that is by maintaining, restoring and renovating historic structures. This is no easy challenge.
Restoration of old buildings has become very popular here in San Diego as well as other places in the country. Golden Hills, the Gas lamp district and Hillcrest have long attracted restoration enthusiasts and the neighborhoods reflect their efforts. Some of the buildings have been modernized over time, which unfortunately has lost much of the historical significance. A trend is now in place where people want to bring back the old charm of a building and return it to its original grandeur.
Taking an old structure, doing a little sanding and slapping a coat of paint on it is not what we are talking about here. Most historic buildings need thorough maintenance at least every 50 to 60 years. This may include adding and matching mortar if brickwork is involved, reworking the heating system, replacing or upgrading the woodwork, both interior and exterior. Replastering the interior walls and reconditioning wooden windows to save the integrity of the building is a must. Once all of this work has been completed, the last thing on the list is painting the structure.
Using historic colors can enhance the beauty of the building while maintaining its original appearance. “Combinations of colors are taken from historic period architecture and modern color theory,” according to a recent article on Historic Colors. Paint stores today offer a variety of historic colors. Taupe exterior is a widely preferred color in house painting. Often a restoration expert will choose a variety of two-tone paints, which will give a blend of historic color with a modern approach to painting.
Unfortunately, many historic buildings today have not applied proper colors thereby minimizing the restoration value of the building itself. By doing this it does not give any true value to highlighting the important architectural significance a person is trying to create. Painting a structure with exaggerated colors from modern times denigrates the project and what it is one is trying to create. The result does not give a smooth blending between historic architecture and modern colors. Having the appropriate paint helps not only the value but, the buildings historical significance. It is a gauge to determine the original design and taste of the structure and its creator.
Restoring any building is a long, arduous, time-consuming project that can take years. When it comes down to the end and your building is about to become a canvas for the world to see, do not shortchange yourself. Get professional advice and use those colors that represent the true historical heritage of that which you are about to present to the world.