Preconstruction Planning Services for Historic Restoration

Successfully restoring, preserving, or conserving historic interiors requires accurate, comprehensive planning and coordination.

John Canning_Planning and Design Color Palette (1)Even the simplest of restoration projects is complex. In order to deliver the project within budget and on time, activities must be sequenced and planned in a logical way that allows for the coordination of multiple different trades and teams—including the architect, owner, general contractor, and various tradespeople.

Without this careful planning, it is all too easy for a project to fall off schedule and miss key dates and milestones.

That is why the first step of every project that we work on is to create a plan that will guide the entire restoration through to a successful completion. Though each project is, of course, unique, this planning phase will often require a number of services specifically designed to inform the rest of the project and specification.

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Pre-Construction Planning & Analysis

Before any work takes place, care must be taken to understand the structure as it currently exists. This may be achieved by conducting a historic paint analysis and finishes investigation, plaster conditions survey, or mural conditions assessment, drafting a protection plan for vulnerable works, and guiding the client through the process of drafting a specification and mocking up a design for the project to go out to bid.

Historic Paint Study
John Canning & Co.’s comprehensive paint analysis uses advanced technologies to evaluate original historic decoration, colors, and finishes.
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plaster conditions survey
John Canning & Co. plaster survey reveals the condition of ornamental and flat plaster substrates and defines the steps needed to stabilize and repair them.
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Pre-Construction Mockup, Samples, and Design

After the requisite studies have been completed, design work and other pre-construction services must take place. Depending on the specifics of the project, this may include:

  • A series of drawings or documentation to be incorporated in biddable documents
  • Samples of any work to be done (color matching, specific design techniques)
  • In-situ mockups of original decoration for client approval (also useful in serving as a vehicle for fundraising)

Final design work can include the creation of architectural murals, furnishings, and new period decoration for landmarks and other interiors using a range of materials and techniques:

Decorative Painting

John Canning & Co. carefully plans out the materials and process needed for our work with other trades to deliver the project within budget and on time.

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Plaster Restoration

John Canning & Co. skilled artisans have mastered mould, ornamental, acoustic, and scagliola plaster fabrication methods to replicate any type of period element.

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Exterior Architectural Gilding
John Canning & Co. specializes in architectural and exterior gilding whether it be atop buildings, inside iconic landmarks, churches, theaters or residence.
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Wood Restoration
Wood restoration involves conservation cleaning, repair and reversible coatings with paint and glazes that replicates the grain and color of the original material.
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Stone Restoration
John Canning & Co. has invented gentle ways to evaluate, test, and formulate custom cleaning agents to restore historical stone for every kind of surface.
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Restoration and Conservation
John Canning & Co. professional conservators evaluate conditions, develop harmless cleaning solutions, reattach original paint, and protect original artwork.
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Specialty Contracting
John Canning & Co. has developed unique approaches for handling the manipulation, removal, or re-installation of historic architectural artwork and plaster.
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Testimonials

“They [Canning] discovered additional layers of decoration in some areas that expanded upon the recommendations of the previous consultants, and that work is what was undertaken.”

— CHARLES D. LIDDY, JR., FAIA, PRINCIPAL, MILLER DUNWIDDIE ARCHITECTURE, MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA

“The firm’s knowledge of historic finishes, their attention to the minute detail of every feature, the consideration they give to all documentation of original features, from historic photographs to paint sampling, and their dedication to appropriate restoration are impressive.”

— ANDREA F. SCHOENFELD, VICE PRESIDENT, COSMOS CLUB HISTORIC PRESERVATION FOUNDATION, WASHINGTON DC

“Canning’s thorough knowledge of period decoration and methodology, as well as traditional materials, was a valuable contribution to the project team.”

— AMANDA EDWARDS, PA-AIC, LEED GREEN ASSOC., JOHN MILNER ASSOCIATES, INC. ARCHITECTS, ARCHEOLOGISTS, PLANNERS, ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA

“With all the beautiful, quality work, the manager will remember you most for finishing two months early, allowing him to rent out the room for spring events. The room is one of the [Cosmos] club’s biggest sources of revenue.”

— G. WILLIAM WHITING, VICE PRESIDENT, THE WHITING-TURNER CONTRACTING COMPANY, GREENBELT, MARYLAND
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SELECTED PROJECTS

Philadelphia-Academy-of-Music-500px

The Philadelphia Academy of Music restoration involved analysis of up to 16 layers of paint aggressive exposure methods to reveal faintly ghosted patterns.

US National Archives

Our team was asked to assist with the design of a new mural of a shallow dome in the new visitor plaza, located below the Constitution exhibit hall.

Mural in St. Patrick's Parish

We were able to uncovered original colors, patterns, and finishes to conserve 24 murals while restoring Stations of the Cross and the scagliola columns.

Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist Ceiling

Our team provided historic restoration of ornamental plaster and decorative painting, new murals, and design that reflects the Catholic liturgy.

garrett+hall+ceiling

We were involved in paint analysis, plaster stabilization, and creating a new ceiling and beam structure independent of the severely compromised Garrett Hall building.

Warner-Theatre-Erie-PA-Restoration-500px

Our team coordinated all work and trades, responsible for the restoration of all designs for the Art Deco movie theatre built by Warner Brothers.