Summer/ Fall Resoration Project: Chelsea Townhome Facade Restoration

Hello all! Welcome back to another segment of our NYC townhome restoration. We hope everyone out there stayed safe before, during and after hurricane Sandy. Now that the storm has passed, work has resumed again this week on the most challenging portion of the project: the facade.

The current project is not a designated landmark site, however, it does have many architectural components that exist in buildings that are landmarked. The front of the building – in an abstract, Picasso-like manner – is similar to a human face. In this case, the face would be a Greek Revival style face. Slight variations exist but the Greek Revival townhome usually displays the following: six-over-six-double-hung wood windows, and usually six-over-nine windows at the parlor floor level; grand entrance pilasters; sidelights; stone enframements (brownstone base with brick upper facade, or stretcher bond brick in this case); a stoop of medium height with wrought or cast-iron handrails, fence, and newels; a wood dentiled cornice; and a vertical paneled wood door. These features alone reveal that this home was built between 1830 and 1850. When the actual work began, the facade revealed quite a bit more.

After the application of the concrete scratch coat

To prepare for restoration on the lower brownstone portion, the existing brownstone was chiseled off until the sturdy subsurface was reached. In this particular case, portions of the existing facade were chiseled off 6 inches deep! That’s quite a depth considering that the anticipated depth would only be 2 inches. When the loose, chipped layers are removed, we can then proceed with the concrete scratch coat. The scratch coat consists of a 1:1:6 ratio lime, cement and sand mixture. The scratch coat is the layer over the brick that the final brownstone layer will adhere to.

Now that the scratch coat has been completed, a unique application of Cathedral Stone Lime Mortar will be hand troweled and formed onto the scratch coat. We will be posting with more details on that as progress is made.

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