Lee/Blair House

Washington, DC

Foreign visitors to The White House often stay at the Blair House, an ensemble of early 19th century brick buildings across Pennsylvania Avenue from the Old Executive Office Building. The Blair House complex consists of Blair House itself, and the adjacent Lee House. Both houses had been substantially changed over time.

A study of the damages from the earthquake of 2011 revealed structural conditions that required substantial interventions to remediate.

We worked with the OLBN design-build team to provide conservation oversight, including review of documents, submittals, bids, and RFIs; review of site conditions and mock-ups; to oversee work to ensure that conservation standards were met; and to provide documentation and inspection.

In addition to conservation oversight of the work, we performed material characterization and analysis on various interior and exterior finishes the purposes of documentation and to inform the selection of restoration materials, means and methods. Research included paint analysis of the exterior renders, mortar and brick testing, and wallpaper studies. A major focus was on working with the engineer to minimize impact of the structural reinforcing on historic materials, including the 18th century Chinese wallpaper.