The Owens-Thomas is one of Savannah’s premier house museums. Designed by William Jay around 1816, it is considered one of the finest English Regency style houses in the United States.
Additionally, the preservation ethic used by the Telfair staff is an excellent example of the practice of conservation in historic preservation.
Because of the Telfair Museum’s dedication to the house’s preservation we have carried out a number of small projects there over the years while directing the preservation team for CHS. This work has included stucco repairs, repairs to historic shutters and other elements of the exterior.
When the Owens-Thomas house needed all of its shutters repainted many of them were also in great need of repair. The shutters, while not original are historic in their own right and certainly are a contributing feature. We conserved many of the shutters including replicating parts of the shutters in exact detail.
We also had high quality replacement shutters made for thos that we could not conserver or restore. Before rehanging the shutters, we gently cleaned the entire exterior with a carefully chosen restoration cleaner and fiber bristle brushes. The exterior of the building was originally stuccoed with a naturally-hydraulic cement stucco, which is a very rare historic material.
We first dry brushed the stucco and then applied the cleaner and agitated with a brush. The mold that was marring the building’s appearance is now gone. The cleaning and the shutter repairs were almost all completed using 45′ and 60′ lifts for the safety of both the workers and the building.