Project Info

The Bayley House

The small town of Newton, Massachusetts, most known for its eponymously named Fig Newton cookie, is home to some astonishing architectural wonders - a testament to the days of cheap labor, cheaper lumber, and architects and homeowners with aspirations of grandeur and permanence. This project, the Bayley House, has a storied history spanning 8 owners and multiple uses - private home, junior college, religious order priory but fortunately the integrity of the original structure is largely intact.


We spent almost 1600 hours protecting, prepping,sanding, priming and painting this wonderful home -time well spent and money well invested. Our work should last the current owners 15-30 years with occasional touch ups to higher wear surfaces like window sills, deck and handrails. The original fabric of the house is remarkably tight and sound - old growth lumber milled from Maine and Quebec forests easily stand the test of time - we made sure to use the highest grade shingles and wood-specific epoxies as we made our own repairs. It’s a privilege and a pleasure to work on homes as proud and well built as these - we feel like curators or stewards more than painters. And luckily for us, greater Boston is home to many of these stunning houses - we’ll be busy tending them for decades to come.


Learn more about this exterior painting project on our website here.


Catchlight Painting
93R Border St
Newton, Massachusetts 02465
(617) 734-1696

Click images below to make larger.
A combination of red brick, brownstone, shingles, stucco and elaborate trim, timbering and balustrades made for an interesting painting project.
Weathered shingles on exposed outside corners required repair - our carpenter Doug made sure to blind nail all shingles using stainless steel fasteners and red cedar shingles.
Tempting as it was to strip all paint from the trim, in keeping with the building preservation protocols of Historic New England, we limited out preparation work to scraping and sanding, leaving the intact original finishes in place.
Rafter tails, or faux rafter tails in this case, ornament the north elevation beneath the elaborately timbered and stuccoed gable end.
Aggressive hand scraping removed much of the alligatored and delaminating finishes from the shingles. Note the protection applied over the windows, to ensure our disturbance of old lead-based paint was properly kept from entering the home.
Did I mention we scraped aggressively? Not much coating left on this southwest elevation. Note the HEPA filtered Festool vacuum parked on the blue tarp, and attached to the sander in use on the porch roof.
Properly attired painter working on lead based paint - HEPA filtered dust extraction from from the HEPA sander, Tyvek suit, full face HEPA respirator.
Note the bowed shingling over the porch floor scupper, or drain.
At last, prep complete, the easy work of priming and painting begins.
It’s always curious to discover how well adhered coatings can be to disparate surfaces - here the first floor shingles were stripped bare easily while the upper courses held onto their original finishes. Note the rubber sheath installed on the electrica service to the home - an essential safety step to prevent electrocution as aluminum ladders and steel boom lifts negotiate the driveway.
When priming, it is essential to liberally coat the overhanging or drip edge of the shingles - it’s this edge that can most easily absorb water via end grain osmosis.
Wait what, we’re painting the storm window frames? Rarely, but since they had been previously painted, we simply repeated the application. The storm sash frames were not painted however - this usually causes the sash to get stuck, as every painter painfully discovers eventually.
Curiously, the front entrance, nestled under the porte cochere - we left all masonry untouched, even the efflorescence visible on the brownstone.
Reverse angle of the porte cochere - massively overbuilt pedestals and columns holding up the roof!
Use of a boom lift, in this case an articulating lift that allowed us to maneuver the bucket around corners, allows safe access to dormers, peaks, and work over delicate roofs. We won’t step on metal roofs, or slate, or even EPDM membranes. Note the painter wearing HEPA filtered respirator and properly harnessed in the lift bucket - safety first, at all times!
A Festool angle sander making short work of 160 year old painted finishes.
Boom lift in use to safely access the gable end peak - the lift is parked on ½” plywood sheets to minimize damage to the driveway and lawn.
Shingles for every mood - sawtooth, fishscale, straight edge … this photo shows the original dark brown stain applied, likely Benjamin Moore Tudor Brown which seemed to be the default color for houses of this vintage.

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