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OFF THE WALL: Beer’s the Secret to Faux Finish’s Vintage Flavor

Thursday, October 27, 2011

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Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall…

Well, it could have been more, or less. The quantity involved when Dundurn Castle was built in the 1800s is not certain. It was then, says a restoration team working at the site, that a type of beer was used to formulate a faux-marble finish material applied to interior masonry walls of the landmark building in Hamilton, Ontario.

 Dundurn Castle

The Hamilton Spectator 

Lori Le Mare stands alongside the faux-marble walls in Dundurn Castle, Hamilton, Ontario.

The restoration team is completing a project to resurrect the faux finish on walls of the building’s main entranceway, reports thespec.com, the website of The Hamilton Spectator newspaper.

The restoration team, seeking clues to the original faux-marble finish, sent samples to a testing lab for analysis. The conclusion: the composition was a type of stout beer mixed with paint pigment.

“Beer was actually used commonly back then,” Lori Le Mare, whose Hamilton decorative-painting and faux-finishing studio is executing the restoration work, told the Spectator.

Le Mare’s choice for the restoration formula Is based on a Guiness brew, and the mixture is reported to go down well. (See Going for all the Marbles.)

 Dundurn Castle
 Exterior view of Dundurn Castle

The restoration program is designed to take the walls back to their 19th century origins, when Hamilton luminary Sir Allan MacNab lived there. Stout was a popular beer, and was brewed at the castle, according to the Spectator story.

“Apparently, MacNab’s wife liked to have a beer and oysters for lunch,” the story relates.

In design, as with beer, it’s all a matter of taste.

More on Dundurn Castle: Dundurn National Historic Site.


Tagged categories: Artists; Decorative finishes; Decorative painting; Design; Faux finishes; Interior design; Restoration

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