Preservation :: Historic Paint Colors

Color is one of the most immediately noticeable features of any structure. The placement of color on cornices, moldings, and other architectural details can influence the success of the overall design. Paying attention to detail in the application of color often makes the difference in accurately reflecting a historical period as well as creating a balanced architectural composition and pleasing aesthetic effect.

Historic buildings are likely to exhibit different paint color choices and placement schemes at different points in their history. This range in color and schemes is reflective of changing tastes in geographic regions and time periods. Property owners thus have many options to consider, including their own tastes and contemporary context.

Our firm takes pride in assisting clients with color application that is appropriate for each project. Principal Architect, Elise Johnson-Schmidt, has done extensive research in historic paint colors and the historic application of color. In working with clients, she not only brings this expertise, but also works with technical specialists to determine the composition and pigmentation of earlier paint through paint sampling and microscopy. She frequently provides lectures on historic paint colors and applications as it relates to preservation.

Homeowners who are interested in historic paint colors but do not require this type of detailed expertise may find these resources useful: 

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has worked with Valspar to develop a collection of historic paint colors.

Frank Welsh is among the most renowned and experienced color laboratories in the United States and has a longstanding relationship with Johnson-Schmidt & Associates.