Normal Hall Indiana State University Restoration
After 62 years of use and 42 years of abandonment, we were hired to restore the dignity and grace of twin, brass-plated, cast iron staircases.
Decades of grime and mystery substances had to be removed, rust had to be ameliorated, there was even antique gum to be scraped away. There were missing details to replace and unexplained tack welds to remove.
The only original photo—about a century old—showed railings that looked like shiny, bright brass. The client didn’t want that appearance, but in case someone wanted to pursue it in the future we opted to do nothing that couldn’t be reversed.
After gentle, thorough cleaning, we applied several layers of custom-blended colored waxes to simulate the layers of plating and patina.
The background colors are warm brown/blacks, with restrained gilt highlights. The project is sealed with water-based Incralac.
The building was to be LEED certified, so we used a minimal amount of solvents, dispensed—literally—with an eyedropper.