Historic Places Trust

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The Aalto New Zealand Historic Colours range was created in collaboration with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust's  advisors and consultants. Aalto Colour worked closely with the Trust to formulate a palette to help re-establish historic New Zealand colours for use by contemporary restorers.

History of paint manufacture in New Zealand

Brett's Colonists' guide advised new colonists to New Zealand how to mix and use paint while the first paint manufactured in New Zealand was in the early 1870's by T.B. Louisson and Daniel Johnston in the Parapara area of Golden Bay.
Paints were traditionally made from white lead and ground natural pigments such as umber, oxides, ochres and carbon using oil and turpentine as binders. Varnishes were mixed from kauri gum and solvents while shellacs, similar to varnishes, were made from insect resins and methylated spirits. Alkyd resins replaced linseed oil in the late 1920's. Acrylic and lead free paints were developed after WW2 with improved drying times, gloss levels and sustainability.

Colour Schemes

Architectural styles influenced the use of colour.
The early colonial period saw simple one or two toned colour schemes, with early timber buildings often not painted at all. Early wall colours tended to imitate the colour of stone with the use of creams, fawns, buffs, and greys. While white was not common, early evidence shows that when it was used, it was often for window sashes. Corrugated steel roofs were either left unpainted or painted red oxide. 
Generally a three colour exterior scheme was applied, with popular dark colours being greens and reds. Base colours tended to imitate the colour of stone - creams to dark buffs e.g. Aalto Boss, Aalto Prismatic and Aalto Piecrust.
Trim work was commonly painted a dark colour with a different deep base colour for doors and windows, for example Aalto Register and Aalto Celtic.
White was used but not commonly, and generally only for sashes and trim of houses. No evidence has been found for its use on commercial buildings.
Other less common schemes saw weatherboard painted darker colours, such as Aalto Wage with a lighter trim colour and dark doors and windows.
In the interior, patterned wallpapers were used for colour and the timberwork was varnished.
The use of a dado was common and grained timberwork popular in the larger houses and especially in Otago.
Match lining in living areas was varnished. Work areas were painted a light colour.
Edwardian exterior colour schemes demonstrated greater experimentation. 
New styles such as Eastlake and Queen Anne were highlighted with greater detail.
Some two storeyed houses featured a dark bottom storey with a lighter upper floor, although an entire house could be done one colour such as red. Black and white schemes were used on Tudor styled houses.
Verandas could be painted in alternating light and dark stripes. A fourth colour was often used especially for decorative elements such as veranda, valences, brackets and balustrading.
In the interior a greater use of colour was introduced. Pressed metal ceilings could be painted four or five colours in the larger houses.
Wallpaper still provided most of the colour on the walls. Floor and timber elements were usually varnished. However floors could also be painted a dark brown or black to provide a perimeter around the carpet.
Bay Villa 1890s - 1910
    Bay Villa 1890s - 1910s
  1. Flying gable eaves bracket and decoration Aalto Acanthus
  2. Bargeboard, finial (actually in this case a pendant as it hangs down) and main gable framing Aalto Hourglass
  3. Fretted pannels between gable framing Aalto Acanthus
  4. corrugated steel roofing Aalto Inscription
  5. Eaves brackets and mouldings Aalto Hourglass
  6. Veranda brackets and mouldings Aalto Acanthus
  7. Veranda post Aalto Hourglass
  8. Baseboards Aalto Hourglass
  9. Door Frame, side lights and toplights Aalto Hourglass
  10. Door Aalto Inscription
  11. Bolection moulding to door Aalto Acanthus
  12. Weatherboards Aalto Welfare
  13. Windows sills and Architraves Aalto Hourglass
  14. Corner coverboards Aalto Hourglass
  15. Window sashes Aalto Inscription
The inter war years were characterised by a great range of architectural styles. 
The commercial availability of an increased range of colours enabled designers to experiment with colour ideas. 
Georgian revival:
The exteriors were painted pastel, white or cream with blue, green or red shutters. Grey corrugated steel roofing, grey slate or Marseille tile.
White or cream windows were predominant with a different colour for doors eg black, green or blue. 
White or bluff weatherboards with a dark green or brown trim, white windows and doors; alternately the whole house was creosoted or painted dark browns. 
Arts and crafts:
White, cream or buff walls, dark trim consisted of dark reds, browns, black stain. 
Art Deco:
This later interwar period incorporated light colours with similar colours for windows, often whites, creams, pinks and light greens. Doors were painted a different colour, eg red. 
California Bungalow 1920s - 1940s
    California Bungalow 1920s -1940s
  1. Splayed bargeboards to gable Aalto Trade
  2. Shingles in gable Aalto Celtic
  3. Corrugated steel roofing Aalto Celtic
  4. Gutter board Aalto Trade
  5. Porch beam Aalto Celtic
  6. Porch piers and caps Aalto Hourglass
  7. natural coloured bricks to porch and belcast peice
  8. Roughcast stucco Aalto Hourglass
  9. Sills, window frames and architraves Aalto Trade
  10. Fanlight and window sashes Aalto Celtic
Post war
From the Modern Movement, whites and creams for walls and windows continued to be used. Bay area styles used dark stained/creosoted weatherboards. Doors were often a different colour such as bright red or black. Roofs were fern (chromium oxide), red oxide, mid grey or tangerine.
Moderne 1940s - 1950s
    Moderne 1940s - 1950s
  1. Roof (hidden behind parapets) Aalto King Dick
  2. Window shutter, window sills, frames and sashes Aalto King Dick
  3. Door frame and door Aalto King Dick
  4. Stucco walls, chimney, string course, other rendered detail Aalto Erewhon