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Boston Painting Services

St. Augustine, FL

Recreating History

A shot of the structure shows how massive this project was

There is a lot of history behind this Jacksonville, Florida edifice. Originally built in 1925 as the San Jose Hotel on the St. Johns River, it was turned into a boys’ military school in 1933 and today serves as Bolles Hall at Bolles School. Through those changes, one thing remained the same: The original prohibition-era paint job hadn’t been touched.

Boston Painting was tasked for the job with a few caveats: for one, replicate the original finish. For two, this part of Florida is known for its daily afternoon rain showers, so good luck with scheduling. For three, class was in session. Four, limited budget; five, limited time frame. The building is on the Historic Register, so everything suddenly mattered a lot more.

“Jobsite management was crucial in completing this project on time, safely, and within the budget approved per the contract for the lift and material expenses – all while keeping the daily weather in mind,” said Boston Painting manager Danny Boston. They brought in five aerial lifts and scaffolding so they could get around the building in the time allowed, while one crew member worked on re-creating the original faux finish to ensure consistency.

After pressure washing came some crack repair, while the more significantly damaged sections required stainless steel stitches with epoxy. “Other areas required new texture to cover and blend the many areas worked on over the years that did not match the original texture of the building,” said Boston.

Moonshine was a staple of 1925 but so was lead paint, so they had to follow EPA guidelines to ensure the safety of the crew, students and faculty. “We sanded the metal handrails, security bars and decorative metal, then primed one coat and painted two finish coats,” said Boston. “Then we sealed the precast concrete.” They brushed and rolled all of the nearly 800 gallons of paint used in the project on the walls and ceilings. The soffits, ceilings and columns were repaired as needed, again primed with one coat and painted with two.

They chose one painter to apply the faux finish on over 70,000 square feet of wall and ceiling space – since no two artists are alike, they needed one person to keep the look consistent throughout. So he went to work with a 5-inch brush. How’d it all come out? “The project was finished ahead of schedule, on budget and exceeding the expectations of the school staff,” said Boston. Guess they got an A.

The Historic Register plaque.
For consistency’s sake, one painter did 70,000 square feet of faux.

Key Products

  • Keim Concretal
  • Keim Soldalit
  • Benjamin Moore Aura
  • Benjamin Moore Regal Select
  • Holdzout Universal Metal Primer
  • Benjamin Moore DTM
  • Zinsser Peel Stop