Fire and Flood: assessment, conservation & restoration
When precious porcelain or a hand-worked fabric suffers damage, there’s no hesitation in consulting an expert for its repair. Sadly, the same is not always true when fire or flood water ravages timbered features in historic buildings. Insensitive restoration can put major details such as panelling, flooring and furniture at risk of further degradation - or of their provenance being lost forever. Specialist conservators, Vincent Reed and his team are outstanding in this field, taking every care to protect your investment.
“Period timber features are a rare and accurate glimpse into the past. I am dedicated to ensuring that these valuable and individual characteristics are preserved; whilst maintaining a balance with the needs of the owner to live in, and enjoy the space.”
Vincent and his team have the skills and commitment to approach every restoration and conservation project with absolute professionalism and strict attention to historic detail.
Under Vincent’s expert guidance, you can be confident that your period wood features and furniture will be restored to the highest possible standards, thanks to over thirty years experience in the field; and Vincent’s self-confessed perfectionism, honed by clients of the calibre of England’s Historic Royal Palaces, English Heritage and the National Trust.
As well as a love and respect for timber and traditional woodworking techniques, you can be sure that Vincent insists on using original artisan methods and materials, guaranteeing the highest standard of finish: one that will stand the test of time.
Liaising with other Professionals
Not only does Vincent offer a bespoke design and installation service, faithfully replicating or replacing details as closely as possible, even where they seem beyond repair; he carries out a full assessment of the damage to your house, advises you on all possible options, always balancing conservation with your living needs; and liaises fully on your behalf with your listed buildings officer, Historic England and your insurers, where appropriate.
Discovery and Dismantle
The owners did not discover the catastrophic effects of water cascading through the ceilings of their beautiful Grade II listed home, until they returned from holiday some days later. Aware of the historical and financial implications of inexpert restoration, they commissioned Vincent Reed as leader in this field, to explore the extent of the damage and to make a plan for its conservation that would satisfy both building officers and insurers. Vincent’s target was to fully restore the historic fabric of this fine building and reinstate the room as it was before the flood damage.
The panelling in the dining room and drawing room was cracked and split, showing signs of cupping and warping; it was essential that it should be repaired in an environment where temperature and humidity could be controlled: so the decision was made to remove it completely and transfer the timbers to our workshop in East Sussex, where they could be repaired using the correct tools and procedures. Meanwhile moisture levels could be reduced and monitored in the damaged rooms before the restored panelling was replaced. The panelling in the drawing room was installed in 1845 in new and reclaimed oak, using techniques traditional to that period. However, the floor to ceiling sections taken from the four walls of the dining room revealed a surprising secret: at first sight, the warping and distorted effect the water had made on the panels suggested they were merely veneer. But their construction, now evident on the reverse, told Vincent quite another story. The reclaimed 17th and 18th century oak panels, rails and stiles were made of earlier hand worked component parts of uneven thickness and finish, witness to an era when oak was scarce and labour cheap. This presented quite a problem, as some sections were too thin in places to survive the dismantling, drying and reconstruction necessary for their restoration.