St Louis has a rich history of beautiful residential architecture
If you’ve lived in St Louis for very long, or have visited, most likely you’re aware of the interesting residential housing stock in neighborhoods renowned as wonderful examples of building styles in different historical eras in time. These neighborhoods, many beautifully intact, are like time capsules from bygone days.
St Louis had a thriving brick manufacturing base in the early 1800’s due to rich clay deposits in eastern Missouri. After a steamboat caught fire in 1849 and drifted into the wharves in the downtown area, 1/3 of the city’s mainly wooden structures were lost in the conflagration. An ordinance was quickly passed forbidding new structures from being built of wood. We can thank this ordinance for all the beautiful, long lasting, interesting architecture that we enjoy today.
The interior wall construction utilized plaster.
In the days before gypsum drywall, plaster was the common surface for interior walls. These surfaces are quite durable, but over time, settling, physical damage, and other damages can occur.
As part of the surface prep before painting, any cracks or other damage needs to be addressed. I’ve done thousands of plaster repairs over the years, and repaired many “repairs” that were previously attempted. It can be kind of tricky at times, and many techniques are often needed. I’ve gone back years later for further projects in many of these homes, and have seen that the work holds up over time. After a successful patch, the surface texture needs to be matched to blend seamlessly with the rest of the wall. This may be the most difficult, but I use many different skills to make the patch “disappear”.
I’ve been fortunate to have been invited to do extensive painting work in many, many of these beautiful older homes in St Louis. Usually, there is plaster repair of some sort involved. It may be minor, as with small holes where pictures have been, or major, as when the nails holding the interior lath to the supporting studs loosens and a bow is created in the wall. If minor, this may just be considered “character”. But if it needs to be repaired, sections of plaster may be removed, screws installed to replace the loose nails, and part of the wall re-plastered with base coat and several skim coats using different materials. Care is needed to keep the dust down and sometimes, a plastic containment zone needs to be erected.
I never loose sight of the fact that I’m a “guest with a purpose” and take great care to respect my clients property and family.
Gotta run, more later