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Restoration and Traditional Decorating

Over the years H&S have built experience of restoring and decorating buildings with historical status and architectural features, handling many projects demanding specialist skills, techniques and crafts. This capability was recognised in the award winning restoration of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Below are the range of our services, with an explanation of each and how they’re used on behalf of our clients.

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Oil gilding, also known as ‘architectural’ gilding, is the most frequently used technique and can be seen throughout the Theatre Royal. We can also undertake water gilding which is more suitable for smaller, specific items like picture frames and decorative objects. Because it is burnished to a high lustre it gives the appearance of solid gold.

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Refers to painting an imitation of a wood finish. This is a highly skilled technique and often used where delicate restoration is needed or when the original could not be replicated any other way. It is also useful where there are issues of scale, as it is less costly than fine timber and there is a guaranteed consistency to the finish throughout.

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Dates back thousands of years and is used to reproduce a marble finish for a decorative scheme where it is either physically or practically impossible to use the actual material. Marbling can be applied to any surface which can be painted, but with much greater control and flexibility than using real marble. And, of course, at a fraction of the cost. The image shows the ‘Imperial Porphyry’ marble finish created in situ at the Theatre Royal and the marbled base of Canova’s Three Graces in antique carrara.

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This ancient technique, used by artists such as Raphael, is employed where working on site poses a challenge, as it did at the Theatre Royal. We used marouflage to create the Verdi Antico columns, painting the marble on to paper off site and then applying it on site. It can be used for any mural work and specialist decoration.

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We have extensive experience of recreating traditional artworks on walls & ceilings and the creation of bespoke concepts for clients. Trompe l’oeil means ‘deceive the eye’ and is a technique used to create the optical illusion of 3D.

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Is often used to recreate traditional decorations and nowadays stencils can be produced using computer graphics. Stencilling can also be used to deliver a bespoke effect according to an architect or client brief, as demonstrated by the images of this stencilled Japanese style finish created for a private client.

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This involves the use of fabrics such as silk, cotton or canvas for reasons of conservation, aesthetics or even acoustics. The two feature walls shown were made to architect specification. The multicoloured wallcovering was made off site using the marouflage technique mentioned above and is shown prior to application on site at Cambridge University. At Exxon Mobil in London we created a wall on textured paper which appears to be made of real stone.

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Our work with plaster and mouldings covers projects ranging from restoration in buildings with historical status to original works. We are able to match or create bespoke cornices, ceiling roses, corbels, pilasters, arches or any style of decorative wall or ceiling panel. The examples show a vaulted arch ceiling and restoration work at Chicheley Hall. For specific projects featuring plaster and mouldings go to the case histories for Equinox GymSt.Pancras Chambers and Nomura HQ.

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This refers to a range of techniques and materials which use paint to produce a ‘broken’ finish to a surface, giving the impression of texture, depth and movement. Colour glazes can create a finish which can appears to have ‘depth’. Colour washes applied horizontally and vertically create a gingham effect finish. Other effects include ‘chalking’ and ‘striping’, or applying paint to metal as an alternative to gilding. At the Theatre Royal we used a paint effect for ‘bronzing’ the balustrades.

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This covers those materials used mainly in historic buildings where conservation is a primary consideration. Use is often restricted, particularly where lead based paint is necessary. We have experience of using materials such as Linseed Oil based paints and traditional finishes such as Limewash and Distemper. For example, we restored and painted the exterior of Coworth Park with a traditional lime based restoration product (Tellings Lime Corical, made using a modern process) and treated all exposed timber beams with wood preservatives.

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French Polishing is a longstanding and highly skilled technique designed to bring out the natural beauty of fine wood. It has a unique look and feel, and although delicate can be repaired easily. However, if a more resistant finish is demanded we recommend a lacquered application. We currently maintain the polished surfaces throughout Mellon Bank HQ. The images show the restoration of wood panelling in Chicheley Hall and relacquering of a boardroom table.

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