KINSMAN HOUSE Landmark returns to its original look

The project should be finished in six to eight weeks.
WARREN -- A historic city landmark has gone pink. Or maybe it's closer to a salmon color.
The Kinsman House on Mahoning Avenue has been cleaned down to its original brick colors; the house was built in stages with reds, grays and others in between.
The work began at the back of the mansion four or five weeks ago, but is especially noticeable now that the front brick is revealed.
That brick will be repainted, said Dale R. Serne, architect with Gaede Serne Architects Inc., Cleveland, a specialist in historic renovations.
"It's always been painted. We're just in the process of determining exactly what the color scheme would be," he said.
Why paint?
Heather McMahon, Warren's urban design and grants coordinator, said the oldest of the exposed bricks actually were made on site as the house was being built. They are soft and that's why painting is necessary.
The city's board of control in January awarded the contract for exterior renovations to Jance Construction LLC of Mentor. The house was a light gray before the renovations began. The company is cleaning and restoring the outside of the mansion and its adjacent land title house, 303 and 321 Mahoning Ave.
The older lead-based paints from the home exterior were encapsulated during removal to safeguard the environment. Research into the house's past colors is ongoing, Serne explained.
"The historic color is not a bright yellow, it's more like a sandstone color -- like a 'tannish yellow,'" McMahon said. Three or four shades had been used on the house in the past, including off-white and green.
"When those homes were built, they didn't do seriously contrasting trim," she noted.
More repairs
Painting will start in a few weeks. Steps are being repaired and 15 rhododendrons -- which may have been planted by the original owners, Frederick and Olive Perkins Kinsman -- were removed and are being cared for at a local nursery.
Six of the bushes will be returned to the house, the others will be placed on the grounds, McMahon said.
"It's going to be just beautiful," she added.
Windows, shutters, exterior woodwork and all brick and stone exterior surfaces, including chimneys, are part of the project.
The contract is for $485,506. Serne said the project is moving along well and should be finished in six to eight weeks.
The Kinsman House, a Greek Revival style structure, was built in 1832. The project has been planned since 2001. It is a part of Warren's Community Development Block Grant program.
The house during the 1930s was used as a branch of Hiram College; in 1940 it became a courthouse annex. The house was restored during the 1970s and designated a state and national historic landmark in 1971.

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