On one of the squares in the center of Florence one finds the majestic Palazzo Budini Gattai. The palace (formerly known as Palazzo Grifoni) was built around 1570 by Bartolomeo Ammannati for the secretary of the legendary Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici. Today part of the vast building houses offices. Another part is in use as residence by the owners, the Budini Gattai family.
In the residential quarters of the palazzo Alexander Hamilton (re)painted among other things the decoration of a grand bathroom. Center piece of the room is a roman style bath tub, matched by a roman style ceiling lamp.
For the biggest part this project was about restoration. The ceiling being only lightly damaged, required small retouches and the repainting of some architectural framing. The main challenge was colour matching to the original 1880’s decorator’s palette. It also required using the correctly formulated casein lime paint. This ensured that the refraction of the colours matched the old, in direct sun light.
The walls were in a truly bad condition, but samples of the original decoration were found behind the marble sarcophagus- bath and in other areas, and this gave enough information to reconstruct the original scheme. All this was dutifully matched and an epic stencilling job was done…
The floor was also repainted in it’s original format. This is a plaster floor with marbling stone work on top, then varnished to make it water proof. The casein lime paint on the walls was also waterproofed with a formaldehyde solution.
Guest rooms Florentine style
Other rooms in the Palazzo were also restored and repainted. This included an entrance hall and two bedrooms. Both bedrooms had cobalt blue walls and flower patterns were painted to match the original decoration.
Next door to this Palazzo Budini-Gattai is a beautiful hotel called Loggiato dei Serviti and many of the guest rooms were decorated in original Florentine style by Alexander Hamilton and his painter friend George Dawnay.