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There’s nothing quite like the beauty of an old New England home built into the landscape rather than on it. Older homes speak of proportion, scale, and form. More than almost any other kind of project, Catchlight Painting, a Historic New England Preservation Partner, loves working to bring out the original, inherent character and beauty in these pieces of history.
Structures built more than a century ago feature building materials and coatings no longer used today, so their maintenance requires a knowledge of historic materials, respect, and old-school craftsmanship. This beautiful farmhouse in Stow, Massachusetts, is certainly no exception.
Like many old New England farmhouses, the beauty of the Osborne House in Stow lies in the simple practicality of its architecture.
Below, the peeling section shown above has been thoroughly scraped and sanded. Our work reveals the home’s colorful history, uncovered layer by layer, like an archaeological dig. Since 1820, this house had been painted white, gray, and various shades of red.
Of the four hundred hours spent “painting” the Osborne House, three hundred were devoted to preparing and restoring its exterior surfaces: cleaning, scraping, sanding, caulking, replacing, etc. Our steadfast commitment to comprehensive surface prep ensures that the coatings we apply bond and flex well for years to come, expanding and contracting season after season without peeling off.
Once prep work completes it’s time to “mask,” or cover, various elements of the house. A sprayer is used to paint the body of this house, so windows, fixtures, and gutters need to be covered with protective plastic and paper.
Like wrapping a present, masking elements of a house requires a measure of finesse and ingenuity.
Here you see well-wrapped windows, fixtures, and gutters, plus sections where clapboard has been replaced and primed.
Shrubbery, walkways, and roofing are covered to protect them from paint mist should the wind kick up during the spray application process.
Two painters move up and down ladders, deftly applying a smooth, even coating—neither too thick nor too thin. Their movements are sweeping, focused, and methodical. Meanwhile, a third painter carries ladders and drops forward preparing the area ahead.
The spraying process is beautifully choreographed and mesmerizing to behold. The intense shade you see will darken nicely as it dries. The owners chose to keep the deep rich color that was there before.
We continue around to the gently arched bays (aren’t they lovely?). The first of two spray applications is nearly complete!
The over spray you see on the white trim is not a mistake but a consequence of the painter’s steady and intentional edge to edge sweep. In the next phase of the painting process the crew will paint every square inch of trim by hand.
The vibrant red clapboards and crisp white trim complement one another magnificently, don’t you agree?
We find the result absolutely stunning and would love to visit on a cold winter day to see the Osborne House surrounded by fresh-fallen snow.
We think it would bring the original builder enormous satisfaction to see how nicely the Osborne House is being cared for nearly two hundred years on. We consider it a privilege to add our name to this extraordinary property’s story.
Nigel Costolloe is the president of Catchlight Painting, a full-service residential painting company serving the Greater Boston Metropolitan Area. He is active regionally and nationally in the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) as a leader, speaker, and mentor.