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Vinton, Iowa



Historic Renovation
Fixing up a 130-year-old paint job

This Victorian mansion got its first repaint since its construction in the 19th century.

A Victorian home, they said. We love Victorian homes, they said. It’ll be easy, they said. “When our client called us to estimate her Victorian Home, we thought to ourselves ‘this is a walk in the park, we’ve done tons of Victorian homes,’” said Henry Herrera, owner of Henry’s Painting. “One of our team’s favorite residential projects is restoring historic homes and watching the huge transformation it brings not only to the owner but the home itself.” In this instance, the crew was set to paint the exterior of a was a 5,000 square foot, seven-fireplace, five-bedroom eight-bath abode in Vinton, Iowa, a city of just under 5,000, about an hour’s drive from the company’s home base in Coralville. It was built in 1893 and last painted in 1893, and immediately upon their arrival, the Gay ’90s paint job stated its demands.

“Our team spent over 500 hours prepping from dawn until dusk, including power washing, scraping, fixing imperfections, replacing shakers (they don’t sell these types of shakers today, so we custom cut them out of wood to match current shaker design), fixing all five decks and the railing around the home, and then priming to prepare for the topcoat,” said Herrera.


The crew repaired some of the architectural features before settling in to paint.

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A lot of scrapers were put to use to create a sound surface.


Work in progress. Much of this work was tedious and done in the high heat of the summer.

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Side view of the completed project.

It was summertime and temperatures were soaring, and the clear days brought lots of sunlight. “We were blessed to have such a genuine and caring client to give our crews access to a fridge full of water and snacks throughout the day to keep them going,” said Henry. “Our client took part in our day to day operations, watching each and every move, keeping all of us on our toes.” And of course there was a deadline, as the homeowner was getting ready to put the house up for sale.

Victorians look great with a flashy paint job, and this house was set to receive five different exterior colors to flaunt and accent its many intricate architectural details. The work was often tedious and time consuming, Herrera acknowledged, but the team pushed though and eventually was able to step back and admire the result. “From one color to the next you could see the home coming to life again as it once was before and it was amazing to see,” he said. “We were fascinated by the color combination, and it was an enjoyable project to work on and be a part of.”

Despite the heat, and sometimes the frustration of a homeowner who watched their every move, the crew pulled together. “Working together, starting on one side and working our way around the entire home, they showed great teamwork towards each other and everyone knew our goal and mission as a team,” said Herrera. APC