Our firm has had a long-standing relationship with Mission San Juan Capistrano as the exclusive conservators of historic decorative finishes at the Mission since 2006. Founded in 1776, the Mission has a history of continuous rebuilding and architectural modification, with many phases of restoration efforts dating back to the 1920s. This makes conservation decision-making particularly challenging, as surviving original material is often fragmentary and its authenticity already significantly compromised. Our work there has therefore had to meet the Mission’s needs for adaptive reuse and presentation of rooms to the public, while ensuring the preservation of the historic paint and plaster layers that do still survive. Interventions have ranged from the protective covering of 18th century original limewash finishes, through conservation of early 20th century historic finishes, to the restoration of later 20th century repainting of historic schemes.
Specific projects have included: conservation of the interior painted finishes of the Serra Chapel, constructed in 1783, including nave/sanctuary, entrance vestibule, and attached Peregrine Chapel (2006-2008); conservation of the interior painted finishes of the 1919 Mission Gatehouse (2012); investigation and conservation of the finishes in the Mission Period South Wing (2008); investigation and conservation of the historic paint layers of the interior of the 18th century Sala Building (2014-2015); and maintenance repairs of the Serra Chapel (2017).
Conservation tasks have included: stratigraphies of historic limewash layers to determine progressive color schemes within given rooms; consolidation and reattachment of powdering/flaking limewash layers; injection grouting and plaster repairs of lime plaster and adobe; reattachment of flaking acrylic layers where necessary; cleaning; overpaint removal; visual reintegration and reconstruction of missing design.