Dodona Manor, located in Leesburg,Virginia, was the home of General George C. Marshall, a pivotal figure in twentieth century history. Restoration of this eighteenth-century estate was completed in time to honor the fortieth anniversary of the death of this great military and political leader in 2005. Dodona Manor has been designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as an Official Project of Save America’s Treasures. This designation assured adequate funding for the restoration and maintenance of this historic property, wherethe Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Western Europewas first envisioned. Dodona Manor isopen for public tours, while continuing to serve as a meeting place for world leaders.
Fine Paints of Europewas honored to be selected to provide the paint for this restoration. Competition for this project among Western European paint manufactures was fierce, as many prominent industry leaders viedto express their gratitude to the man credited with rebuilding their wartorn countries. This competition was short-lived, however, as the general contractor on the Marshall House project, the Oak Grove Restoration Company insisted upon using nothing but Fine Paints of Europe paint. The principals in this award winning firm based in Laytonsville, Maryland, Hank and Ann Handler and Barton Van Riper, are nationally recognized restoration experts who specialize insignificant historic properties. Their unique skill and judgment are regularly called upon for both private and public projects, ranging from St. Paul’s Church in Alexandriato James Madison’s Montpelier estate.
On the Dodona Manor project, Oak Grove Restoration employed enamel and house paints, which were applied to wooden surfaces which had first been prepared with Fine Paints of Europe Oil Primer/Undercoat. An unusual aspect ofthe Oak Grove approach is that all preparation prior to painting is accomplishedby carpenters rather than painters. As Hank Handler notes, “Prep work on two and three-hundred year old structures is substantially different from that done on new construction. Frankly, even the finest painters do not possess the particular skills and tools that are often required to prepare historic woodwork for the application of paint. ” Handler believes that it is this unorthodox division of labor that guarantees the best results.
“I wouldn’t consider using anything but Fine Paints of Europe on our projects. Over the years… I have found that when you follow their simple instruction, Fine Paints are no more difficult to apply than domestic coatings, which have less than half the expected life. Besides, every can of Fine Paints of Europe is the same as the last one, and they are not constantly changing their formulas.”
“Fine Paints of Europe has been our paint of choice since we first discovered it in 1994” –Hank Handler.