Como Living Heritage Grant Works
Summary of Works
Como House & Garden is included on the Victorian Heritage Register H0205. The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) is currently undertaking the first stage of works to restore the historic buildings at Como. This first stage of work will involve urgent exterior conservation works to the Mansion, Kitchen/Servants Wing and Laundry/Coach House and is funded by a DELWP Living Heritage Grant.
These exterior conservation works are being undertaken as the first priority to ensure that any damp and deterioration issues are addressed before any exterior or interior finishes works are undertaken. Undertaking aesthetic works such as reinstating colour schemes and decorative finishes will be a waste of time and money and will fail unless all underlying building issues are addressed first. It is essential that the buildings are in good condition and any water ingress issues are addressed before these types of works are undertaken as a second stage.
These works will include the following:
- Slate roof repairs to the three buildings using recycled Welsh slates;
- Repair/replacement of rainwater goods and flashings as required to the three buildings;
- Replacement of the weathering mortar to the top of the parapet of the mansion and kitchen wing;
- Repair and repainting of timber fascias, bargeboards and eaves to mansion, kitchen/servants’ wing and laundry/coach house;
- Render repairs and brick stitching to the mansion;
- Repair, repainting and associated works to windows and doors to mansion, kitchen/servants’ wing and laundry/coach house;
- Removal of exterior paint to walls and chimneys of kitchen/servants’ wing and laundry/coach house and application of lime wash; and
- Stabilisation of the brick nib wall to the laundry/coach house.
Paint removal from the outbuildings
Exterior paint removal from the kitchen/servants’ wing and laundry/coach house is being undertaken as the acrylic paint currently on the buildings is not original and is accelerating the deterioration of the brickwork underneath, as moisture is not able to escape. The moisture that is trapped under the paintwork then erodes the bricks and mortar. These buildings would have originally been face brickwork with a lime wash finish, which would have allowed the brickwork to breath. The brick and mortar deterioration and previous bad repairs will need to be addressed once the paint is removed and then a lime wash finish will once again be applied.
The paint removal also allows the opportunity to reveal the history of the buildings by showing the different underlying materials. For example the paint removal has revealed that the kitchen wing is constructed of stone, similar to the earliest part of the mansion, whereas the servants’ wing and the laundry/coach house is brick, most likely constructed at a similar time to the ballroom. The later paint finish to these buildings has concealed this story and the paint removal demonstrates how buildings and their different materials can tell us a lot about the history of a place.
Dates of the buildings
The original Como mansion was a single storey villa constructed in 1847 of rendered mudstone. In 1853 an additional storey was added along with the two storey verandah. The Ballroom wing was added in 1874. These later additions are constructed of rendered brick.
The Kitchen Wing and Servants’ Quarters were most likely constructed around 1847 and are constructed of rendered masonry (kitchen likely to be stone the same as the mansion), face brick and what appears to be a later section on the south-east corner in timber.
The Coach House & Laundry are constructed of brick and have been painted at a later date. Their date of construction is unknown however they most likely date from a similar period to the Ballroom Wing, which was constructed in 1874.