After more than 60 years as a school, the magnificent Grade II Listed Moreton House in Bideford, north Devon, has finally been returned to family ownership. Half way into its ten year restoration, Moreton House is intended to provide a living as well as a gracious home for the Philips family.
Here we explain a little more about this 100 room property and what its owners are doing to restore it to its former glory…
Moreton House is a Grade II Listed property which consists of a main house along with a Victorian wing. This section has already been restored and now offers four luxury holiday homes. Work has moved on to the main, Georgian part of the property in which the first function room has been completed.
Owner Helen Phillips said: “The house had become very institutionalised. The modifications and maintenance carried out by the school over the years has been very practical rather than focusing on the historical features or restoration.”
“Cement repairs, vinyl paints and a sprayed-on acrylic render coating had caused a lot of damp to build up inside the walls, damaging the plaster and wood. In many places we found moisture trapped behind the paint. People now seem to be becoming increasingly aware of how important it is for old buildings to breathe.”
The project has involved replacing some of the external render with lime. This work has been completed for the entire Victorian wing and is ongoing on the main house.
Helen added: “To cover the lime render we needed a highly breathable paint but we didn’t want to use limewash as it needs a lot of coats and regular reapplication. Fortunately, we discovered Earthborn’s Silicate Masonry Paint system which gives the breathability the walls need and it has a much longer life.”
The Ecopro Silicate Masonry System offers a durable, easy to use alternative to limewash and conventional masonry paints. It comprises a primer and paint, which form a chemical bond with the underlying mineral substrate. The result is a very hard wearing, weather resistant barrier. It offers the same high levels of breathability as limewash but is easier to use and lasts much longer.
Useful for any porous mineral surface such as stone, brick, concrete, render or cob, Ecopro Silicate Masonry Paint gives a classic matt finish that will not yellow with time. It even helps prevent algae growth and mould. The Phillips family used the paint on the stone window sills as well as the walls.
Internally, the walls of Moreton House are either lath and plaster or lime plastered stone. Both of which are being repaired or renewed as necessary with lime plaster. Earthborn’s Claypaint has been specified to prevent future damp problems by ensuring the internal walls can breathe.
Claypaint is a unique, clay based emulsion. Its advanced technology maximises the natural properties of clay to create a high performance, highly breathable paint. It covers exceptionally well and gives a distinctive, ultra matt finish.
Being free of oils and acrylics, Claypaint is virtually VOC free and does not give off any toxic emissions. That means it is safer for the health of building occupants as well as the environment. Its eco credentials include the stringent EU Ecolabel.
Claypaint is available in Earthborn’s signature palette of 72 shades. The Silicate Masonry Paint range has 24 colours. Bespoke colours can be developed through the nationwide network of Earthborn stockists such as Heritage Cob and Lime which supplied this project.
We’ll be revisiting Moreton House on our blog over the coming months to share more about its restoration. Meanwhile if you have a period property (large or small) and need technical help when it comes to painting, feel free to contact us here.