Painting Considerations For Kansas City Shirtwaist Houses

Painting Considerations For Kansas City Shirtwaist Houses

One of the most unique styles of homes that we do work for is the Kansas City Shirtwaist House, also known as the Midwest Shirtwaist House.

What is a Shirtwaist House?

Shirtwaist refers to the architectural style of many homes built in Kansas City in the early 1900’s. Common shirtwaist house floor plans and features of this unique-to-our-area architecture include:

  • At least two, possibly three levels with a very symmetrical design.
  • A first level usually made from native limestone (in later years, brick was used).
  • A front porch made of the same stone (or wood in later years).
  • A steep, triangle shaped gable roof.
  • A kitchen in the rear of the house, with a backdoor leading outside.
  • A first floor of living space, with all bedrooms located upstairs.
  • A full basement to attic staircase, generally located on the side of the house.

How To Paint A Shirtwaist Home

a limestone house in kansas city fits the shirtwaist home guidelinesThese gorgeous and unique homes also require unique preparation when planning for exterior painting or repair. The prep work is extremely detailed, it takes a lot more tedious effort to restore these homes (see an example of our work in this article). Extra work includes things like re-glazing old lead pane glass windows, laborious hand-scraping of old paint, replacing rafter tails and repairing trim embedded in Stucco. It’s also imperative to follow lead safe protocol on these houses. All the replacement trim and lumber on these homes has to be custom fabricated, manufacturers don’t make these trim pieces or lumber sizes any more following modern housing trends.

Beyond prep, choosing the right color and paint schemes are important to reflect the time period, usually there are 3-4 paint colors around the entire home and part of the allure of these homes is keeping them in-period, even after restoration is complete.

If you live in a Kansas City Shirtwaist Style House and are considering repainting or restoring the exterior of your home, please contact us. Our exemplary understanding of these architectural beauties coupled with our customer-first approach make us the absolute best choice you can make.

-Updated 4/12/2023

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