Diamond Bar
Masonry Solutions

News and Insights on the Masonry Repair and Maintenance of Institutional, Commercial, and Condominium Buildings in  
Eastern Massachusetts  

Volume 9 No. 3
May 2017
In this issue, our Case Study article describes Abbot's recent restoration of a 5-story brownstone condominium building at 33 Chestnut Street in Boston's historic Beacon Hill district. It is significant to note that Abbot was contracted once again by an owner based on successful work at the same property in the past. In our Masonry 101 article, we describe what a mansard is and trace its roots. 
We trust that you will benefit from the information provided in this publication. If you have any comments or questions, or would like an estimate on a masonry repair project, we can be reached at 617-445-0274 or www.abbotbuilding.com.

Michael Norman, President
Abbot Building Restoration Company, Inc.

Case Study

Abbot Restores 5-Story Brownstone Condominium in Boston's Historic Beacon Hill District   

Abbot recently completed a masonry restoration project at a 5-story brownstone condominium building located at 33 Chestnut Street in Boston's historic Beacon Hill section.
2003 Project

33 Chestnut Street, Boston, MA
Abbot had originally been contracted by the Condominium Association back in 2003 to perform a comprehensive restoration of the front of the building. The work included restoration of the brownstone, removal and installation of a new slate mansard, and painting and caulking work. In the process, Abbot removed the original slate and replaced the rotted wood underlayment and waterproofed the underlayment. Abbot then installed a new slate face, and installed new copper trim, copper gutters, and a copper shelf. To complete the repairs, Abbot performed minor restoration of the wood trim, then painted and caulked all the wood and windows within the mansard with a historically approved color.
In the body of the building below the mansard, Abbot removed all of the deteriorated brownstone and repaired the defective areas using a restoration cement. Again, Abbot coated the brownstone with a historically approved color coating. Finally, Abbot caulked and painted the windows and the front door.
2016 Project

As is often the case due to Abbot's strong client relationship and quality workmanship, the Condominium Association proactively contacted Abbot in the Fall 2015 to reevaluate the condition of the front of building. Abbot determined that the previous restoration performed in 2003 was still in excellent condition. However, the new investigation uncovered deterioration on the mansard windows and dormers that were not part of Abbot's original restoration work.
Based on this new evaluation, Abbot was contracted to perform repairs in the spring of 2016. The repairs consisted of wood dormer restoration, including removing all of the trim around the mansard windows and some of the wood framing, and replacing the deteriorated wood with new wood. Abbot also removed the dormer roofs and replaced them with new roofing.
Below the mansard, Abbot hammer tested the brownstone and removed any defective regions. Abbot then repaired these areas with a special brownstone colored repair material as directed by the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission. The Commission's rationale for requiring special colored repair material was the understanding that if the coating were ever removed from the façade in the future, the new repairs would match the original brownstone to create a natural appearance, Finally, Abbot recoated the brownstone façade with the same approved color coating to create a uniform appearance, and caulked and painted all of the windows and the front door.

Masonry 101

Mansard Roofs

One of the most famous American buildings with a mansard roof is the Germania Insurance building in New York City which was constructed in 1911.    
A mansard (roof) encompasses a four-sided gambrel style hip roof with two distinct slopes. The steeper slope with windows can be found on one side creating an extra floor of habitable space, known as a garret.
The upper slope of the mansard roof may not be visible from street level when viewed from close proximity to the building. 

The earliest known example of a mansard roof is credited to Pierre Lescot on a section of the Louvre in Paris built around 1550. The design was later popularized in the early 17th century by François Mansart, an accomplished architect of the French Baroque period, thus the term "mansard" was born. It became especially fashionable in the mid-1800s during the Second French Empire of Napoléon III.

The mansard roof style also became prevalent during the historic development of the City of Boston in both large and small buildings as described in our Case Study  article on 33 Chestnut Street.
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Abbot Building Restoration Co., Inc. 
28 Allerton Street, Boston, MA 02119 
Tel: 617-445-0274  · Fax: 617-445-0277