NRF promotes and invests in the architectural heritage of the Newport community, the traditional building trades, and Doris Duke’s fine and decorative arts collections, for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of all.
As a leader in the preservation of early American architecture, NRF supports research and education in areas directly related to its collections and issues of critical concern to the field of historic preservation.
Visit Doris Duke’s art-filled mansion and enjoy panoramic ocean views from the extensive grounds. Open late March to November.
The Vernon House is a site for expansive story-telling, contemporary dialogue, and preservation trades skill-building.
Newport Restoration Foundation holds one of the largest collections of period architecture owned by a single organization anywhere in the United States.
Celebrate excellence in historic preservation efforts within the City of Newport, Rhode Island.
Live amidst history by renting one of our many historic properties.
My internship project to catalog NRF’s property paint colors and formulas was born out of necessity. Over the years, the NRF crew had amassed an astounding depth of knowledge about the organization’s paints, but this knowledge had never been formally documented. The focus of my internship stemmed from the desire to capture this information before it was lost to time. I was given the task of documenting 20 different exterior paints for more than 70 properties.
This large undertaking began with the very important question, “Where do we begin?” Our answer was to start small by finding the colors at NRF’s two major paint suppliers, Humphrey’s Paint Center in Middletown and Adler’s Hardware in Providence. I was greeted at Humphrey’s Paint with a metal box of nearly 400 index cards, all of which held a piece of NRF’s paint color history. Our process began with photographing each index card, whether the information was for an exterior or interior color, and thus the archival and research process began. These index cards became the basis of the project and have answered many of the questions I set out to answer. The goal of accessing these index cards was to document the information on paint formulas and names and make them available for the paint crew to answer questions on a property’s exterior paint color through NRF’s in-house property management tool.
When documenting the paints, I added categories to differentiate the three exterior paint colors for each property and the date the paint was last updated. I repeated this process with the paint information from NRF’s other paint supplier, Adler’s. Throughout this part of the project, I conducted several interviews with the paint crew to learn more about the history of the paint colors, their experiences working with Doris Duke, and the importance of their roles in the preservation of NRF’s historic properties. This project would have no foundation without the experiences of NRF’s paint crew. I learned so much about how the colors came to be, what colors were used throughout NRF’s existence, and the events and decisions that led to the colors we see at NRF properties today.
In the next phase of the project, I am repeating the process to document the interior colors of the properties. I am also interviewing retired members of the paint crew to learn more about their experiences with NRF’s paint colors. The paint collection can now be viewed on NRF’s website, as well as additional information on the colors used at each property. If you see the crew working around town, ask them about the paint colors and explore the information we’ve uncovered so far.
By Elizabeth Baza, Salve Regina University Intern
The annual Doris Duke Preservation Awards, a joint program of the Newport Restoration Foundation and the City of Newport, are calling upon the local community to nominate innovative and best practice preservation projects.
The Newport Restoration Foundation and the City of Newport are seeking qualified consultants or architectural firms to develop graphics for the City’s Design Guidelines for Elevating Historic Buildings.
Thank you for following along throughout Preservation Month as we shared updates on our preservation projects and the people who make them possible.