We at The Paint Doctor appreciate fine work and, thus, wanted to draw your attention to a beautiful restoration of the 107-year-old Coweta County Courthouse in Newnan, Ga., which was first listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
The Classical Revival style courthouse was designed by James Wingfield Golucke, who designed 25 courthouses throughout Georgia and the Coweta County Courthouse is reportedly the “most ambitious” of Golucke’s works based on the building’s mass, porticos and strong vertical projection of its clock tower.
The $7.5 million historic rehabilitation project was directed by Lord, Aeck & Sargent Architecture of Atlanta. The project included selective demolition of non-historic features, exterior restoration and interior rehabilitation, and was completed last Fall.
Following demolition, the architect enlisted the expertise of a paint conservator who identified the historic paint colors and original faux wood graining, providing a guide for the restoration program. Samples were taken in May 2008, followed by extensive laboratory study with microscopy analysis. The investigation found that colors were typically “earthy, dark and woodsy” and all the woodwork—most likely yellow pine—was painted in imitation of varnished oak.
Apparently, virtually every surface on all three levels of the stair hall, baseboards, doors, door frames, chair rails, courtroom balconies, judge’s stand, and window pediments was painted with faux oak graining.
Over the years, the original graining was covered by varnish layers, then opaque paint layers in brown, blue and cream. The restoration program, however, revived the dark natural finish colors that once decorated the courthouse, including red-browns, dark tans and greens.
The finishing scheme, including the oak graining, was typical of the late 19th century and early 20th century. Such color palettes and graining methods, however, were going “out-of-fashion” by the first quarter of the 20th century.