Dumaine Street, French Quarter
The involvement of Studio Patina was two - fold for the renovation of this three story multi - unit brick building circa 1898. Brought in to do a paint analysis to start with, the following year Studio Patina concluded involvement providing the FFE packages - exclusive of the kitchen cabinetry and plumbing fixtures - while working for studioWTA (see 'Dumaine' under design heading).
Upper two floors of the front facade were painted sometime after 1960 according to historic photos of the building. The first layer was tan, then a pink and finally a dark rose which was the color when the renovation started. These layers are shown in the photo of a sample magnified 40x's, upper right.
The original shutters were still in use and were cleaned up and painted a color similar to the last one applied - not quite as saturated and much lighter than the original. The original pigment was likely verdigris which makes a rather dark green (slightly on the blue side). This was a common shutter color historically in New Orleans (and other areas of America). All layers of paint can be seen in the photo of a sample magnified 40x's, upper right.
This sequence on the courtyard facade generally follows the main building except for the pink. The only facade that was stuccoed in part was this one; all others on the main building remained brick. The mauve color is the only paint coating that was applied to all the facades. The sample (magnified x40's) shows the stucco (white) followed by the bright pink and then the mauves like the rest of the building. Bright color layers show up often - usually from the 1930's - this one was late.
New Orleans Notarial Archive water color rendering of a building in 1876 that shows what the original simple color scheme would have looked like except the bricks were unpainted.
(Planbook 5, folio 22, New Orleans Notarial Archives, 1876, James Strehler, French Quarter).
The client wanted a blue exterior color for the building. Blue essentially was not found on the exterior of any building until the 20th century since the pigment that created blue (Prussian Blue) was more expensive than gold, indigo could not be used in paints, and synthetic blues were essentially not invented yet. However, a watercolor rendering of a house on Rampart Street, 1853, was located as a precedent to present to the Vieux Carre Commission even though the rendering likely depicted a gray color originally. Approval of exterior palettes are mandatory in the Historic French Quarter District.
The blue was approved but when it was applied on all the surfaces of the interior courtyard it overwhelmed and had to be neutralized by a soft gray (below photo) which also complimented the green shutters on a bridge that connects the main building and the rear dependency.
The historic interior scheme at left from a mid 18th century colonial house in Natchitoches, Louisiana, informed the interior placement of grey in the main units and two dependency units.
Traditionally, all trim and fireplaces were painted with a lime-wash and lampblack pigment - dark grey to hide dirt and soot.This was also the reasoning behind the dark grey base board and any crown molding since black smoke from the lamps of the fires would 'gather' at the corners and turn it black. In turn, the soot (lamp black) would be scraped off the ceilings and used in paint.
The original dark Colonial grey would have overwhelmed the renovated interior however, so the grey was cut with white to keep the same look - updated for today.
Architects - Wayne Troyer & Toni DiMaggio, studioWTA
Photography / Interior rooms - Neil Alexander