The Brookings-Smith Funeral Home is an historic funeral home first built around 1874. Centrally located near the confluence of the Kenduskeag Stream and Penobscot Rivers, the funeral home first began to establish its reputation at the height of the Northern lumber industry, when Bangor was universally recognized as the business center of Eastern Maine, and a rising metropolis of the Northeast. The Smith family later purchased the home and the family tradition continues to this day. In seeking to properly maintain the structure, the owner wanted to not only preserve its aesthetical appeal for his clientele, but to pay due homage to its longstanding position in the community.
When Hascall & Hall were first called to the site the owner had an idea of what he wanted, but not a clear picture of what it would look like in the end. As we often do when scoping our projects, we worked closely with the client, to meet him on site and install samples of a variety of new façades to the exterior of his building so he could get a good conceptual idea of what he would be buying.
While deliberating over the choices for the building, the project manager soon became aware that the project would be perhaps be what we call “green friendly” today. In addition to taking great care to choose the right façade, it soon became abundantly clear that he was attached to the shrubbery and other landscaping details that had long been making their homes at the front of his building. While this may not seem significant to every client, to this owner the landscaping materials were like children, and we were entrusted to protect them, an accountability we took seriously.
As Hascall & Hall prepared to begin the project, a standard test on the existing masonry indicated a thick coat of white, lead-based paint. This type of paint would need to be removed chemically using an extremely careful process, which we carried out according to a standard protocol set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Our first task in accomplishing this was to design and prepare the protective measures for the shrubs from the very caustic paint stripper that would be required to remove the white paint from the red bricks.
This aspect of the project consisted of removing multiple layers of paint from the brick, cutting out all the mortar joints within the work area, and 100% repointing the entire area. Hascall & Hall went to task, and about three-quarters of the way through the restoration the owner recognized how dramatically the changes were transforming the building’s appearance, returning the brick to its original beauty. He consequently requested that we remove the vinyl siding from the left front portion of the building and install a new face of brick.
The project team worked with an engineer to design a new brick relieving angle that would be required for installation at the base of the wall, to allow for the construction of the new brick façade. The additional scope in work was completed in a timely manner, leaving his building with a complete look of brick in the front and on the right side of the building. In addition, the entire building was cleaned and waterproofed, and every window and every door perimeter was caulked and sealed as part of the renovation process.
This project was completed in the early years of the 1990s, and to this day it is as stunning in appearance as the day we completed it.