Julia Ideson Library

Houston, TX

Located in downtown Houston, the Julia Ideson Library has maintained its status as a functioning library since its construction in 1926. This Spanish Revival-style building has numerous outstanding features which were originally accented with an interesting array of finishes that complemented the individual elements and created an overall color harmony from room to room. Much of this original decoration has been lost to neglect and overprinting, and the original harmony and aesthetic had significantly degraded as a result. The restoration was a continuation of an ongoing initiative to repurpose the library as a meeting and support center for the adjacent new library.

Our team conducted an initial survey of conditions and historic finishes throughout the building and developed and completed a comprehensive scope of work to transform the space back to its original aesthetic. The project scope included paint restoration throughout the building and wood finishes in the “squaretunda.” Conservators repaired, cleaned, and refinished the wood elements of the main ceiling, arches, and second-floor balustrade and fascia. Decorative finishes including glazing, gilding, and polychromatic paint schemes were applied in several areas of the building. The decorative frieze was lightly inpainted and the banisters and handrails gilded. The ceiling was cleaned and, where necessary, repainted the coffers, and selectively inpainted the ceiling rosettes wherever there was loss. Additionally, we cleaned and polished significant stone features at the main entrance to the building.