Decorative Interiors Investigation, Central London

H+R were instructed to revisit a site which they had previously investigated during the building’s last refurbishment in 2001. H+R undertook an investigation to determine the condition and extent of damage to the internal historic features of the 19th century, Grade II* listed property in Central London. This entailed surveying all six areas over two floors in the front historic section of the building. The investigation was to be carried out in conjunction with the refurbishment works to the 20th century rear section. An analysis of the construction as well as the condition was crucial to inform future maintenance recommendations.

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Work undertaken

H+R carried out eight detailed investigations into the various features of the historic front section. Initial investigations were conducted into hazardous materials and condition of timbers in ceiling and floor voids. Thorough inspections of the ceiling plaster and that of the walls at low level were completed. Further analysis was conducted at higher levels in selected locations; accessed by tower scaffold. The mosaic tiled floors and floor finishes were surveyed to make an accurate condition record. All joinery, including doors, windows, architraves and panelling were studied to verify their condition and construction. Marble and stone fireplaces were examined as well as the gilt over-mantle mirrors and other gilded features such as the pilaster capitals. The elaborate wall and ceiling murals were extensively examined in terms of deterioration.

Detailed drawings were produced outside the brief by H+R to aid in the investigations.

How we solved the problem

We provided detailed CAD drawings of all interior elevations, decorative ceilings and flooring to assist us in the investigations and it helped to inform the client’s Operation and Maintenance manual. Using the CAD drawings as an aid we produced annotated records of the condition of each of the historic features. We also used archive images of the building to support the investigation e.g. illustrating prior alterations such as the removal the original staircase.

The colour schemes such as the decorative wall paintings in the Reception Salon and Gallery were colour matched to provide a base for necessary re-touching. We also provided a list of recommended Conservation companies to use when major repairs were required.

Recommendations for maintenance, service life and general housekeeping were provided to help protect the features in the long term. Our awareness of future heritage management is key to the successful long term protection and preservation of the building.

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