Saint Charles Street, New Orleans THE ROUND TABLE CLUB
Following a preliminary paint analysis performed by Dorothy Krotzer , Building Conservation Associates, and the Preservation Technology class at Tulane University, Studio Patina continued their work on the exterior elements as well as three interior rooms. Microscopic paint analysis was preformed on seven samples to determine the original colors, matched to commercial paint, and provided to the Club in a graphic report complete with swatches.
The goal was to bring the Queen Anne building back to the original color scheme. The main body of the house (finished, below) shows a warm yellow and cold grey trim with darker grey windows. This would have been typical at the end of the 19th century - darker trim remained an influence in New Orleans long after the East Coast schemes changed to white trim - an influence brought to America by Scottish designers James and Robert Adam who had been influenced by Johann Winkelmann's (1717 – 1768) publications of the discoveries at Pompeii in 1762.
It is important to note for historic color accuracy that blue porch ceilings are NOT typical in New Orleans until the late 20th century. Not one paint analysis performed on porch ceilings in New Orleans reveals the use of blue - it was an application common in New England to keep away bees and insects but never in New Orleans. It would have been particularly avoided on grand houses uptown like this one since it connotated a more rural, farm house feel which they likely wanted to avoid. The ubiquitous use of it today demonstrates how tricky architectural color can be since usually a building is painted every 7 years thus hiding the previous schemes. A fad catches on, someone posts a blog about it, everyone thinks its correct... The color layers shown in the porch ceiling chromacronology (lower right above) are common - grey, tan, white.
Following the Civil War, house styles become less regional like the Queen Anne and colors become commercialized for the first time since the recent invention of the paint can, rail transportation, and synthetic pigments all converge within a few decades and change the colorscape of America forever. One of the first color cards above by Sherwin Williams (1890's) shows possible schemes - and the adoption of the scheme and placement similarities to the Round Table Club.
Studio Patina was later hired to consult on the remodel of an interior room (not shown to retain privacy). The double room had a fireplace with crackle-glaze tiles seen upper left and 10' ceilings with high base boards and picture rail molding about 2' from the ceiling providing a logical gradation of color placement from floor to ceiling. A paint analysis was not performed so the starting point was an original tan previously found in a chip from the first floor (upper middle).
Wallpaper was also applied - one color way, two patterns - which were English designer William Morris' Willow (1874) and Brer Rabbit (1880). English designer Morris was inspired to design the pattern after reading the folk tale Uncle Remus written by Joel Chandler Harris - a tale that originated about 30 miles up river from the Round Table Club at Lara Plantation. The cabin at Lara where Uncle Remus himself told the story is pictured upper right.
Studio Patina extra - the above chromacronology comes from the entry hall - with the plaster substrate at the bottom followed by five strong reds and then tans and whites. To have such bold color on the interior of a house - especially the entrance - shows confidence and attitude at the end of Reconstruction.
The darker stripes between layers is likely soot accumulated on the walls from gasoliers or the fireplace and not cleaned properly before another layer of paint was applied.
In memory of Ellis Joubert.