What’s In The Color?

Prior to opening to the public in October of 2004, Hills & Dales Estate undertook the project of repainting the Fuller E. Callaway home. After careful consideration we decided to conduct a historical paint analysis of the house to determine what colors were used on the house in 1916 and how the colors changed over the years. From studying old photographs and postcards we could see that the house had been painted a number of different ways over the years. The project yielded some interesting results, despite the fact that the house is only ninety years old.

The paint study was conducted by Steve Tillander and Keith Miller from Restoration Craftmen, Inc. of Atlanta. During the paint study they sampled 53 different exterior locations on the house. At each location they lightly sanded a crater and studied and recorded the color of paint in each layer. In selected locations they collected paint samples and looked at cross-sections through a microscope to determine the color and characteristics of each layer. They found some interesting things. In one location they found 26 layers of paint, which attests to the quality of care the house has received over the years. Also, in several spots they determined that sand had been added to the original paint, a common practice in that time, to add a stone-like texture to the finish. In other spots they found clean, non-aged layers of paint that had been over painted with a new color suggesting that perhaps the first color selected was not acceptable.

After all the paint samples were studied, we compared them to historic photographs and finalized our palette of colors. In the end four colors were chosen for the exterior of the house. The main body of the house was painted pure white, while the window and door trims were painted soft beige. These two colors were augmented with a grey-brown trim that matches the color of the limestone quoins (cornerstones) and basket green shutters. This paint scheme, while appearing new to many people, was actually returning the house to the original colors selected by Neel Reid and the Callaways back in 1916.