HMFH Architects

The Paint Factory

Gloucester, MA

The former Tarr & Wonson Paint Factory was a complex of brick and frame structures built between 1884 and 1892 on Rocky Neck, the gateway to Gloucester, MA’s Inner Harbor. This historic “manufactory”, which produced copper-based paint for boat bottoms, has been vacant since the 1980s and is now repurposed as a private residence.

Due to the prominent, waterfront location, this conversion required Chapter 90 review by the Army Corps of Engineers, and subsequent permitting approval from both the Massachusetts and Gloucester Historical Commissions. When initial designs were met with opposition from these preservation organizations, the owner engaged HMFH to redesign the project to address objections and satisfy permitting requirements.

The Paint Factory is a well-known fixture along the shores of Gloucester Harbor, and the redesign retains the property’s historic authenticity while accommodating its new residential use. Exterior alterations have been kept to a minimum, utilizing existing openings and restoring the façade. A highly visible sign was added to the southern face of the building to honor its industrial heritage.

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