Design Masters: Michael Shoriak and Courtney Williams


Michael Shoriak and Courtney Williams

WHO: Michael Shoriak and Courtney Williams of Cypress Building Conservation.

WHAT: An architectural conservation company. We consult on all aspects of historic restoration projects, from documentation and research to laboratory analysis of historic finishes. We also hold a commercial contractor’s license.

WHERE: All over the city. Sometimes elsewhere in the state. Earlier this year: Maine.

WHEN: [In] 2013, when we both moved back home to Louisiana [after] grad school at the University of Pennsylvania.

HOW: Doing the work ourselves as contractors is an unparalleled way to learn about buildings, and it constantly informs our consulting work. It’s easier to explain to a mason why and how to use an historic mortar mix if you’ve actually repointed a wall yourself. WHY: In a single day, we could find ourselves on top of scaffolding inspecting masonry work on a National Historic Landmark, crawling around a French Quarter attic space documenting 19th-century timber framing, running to an Uptown Queen Anne to put a final varnish coat on a front door, looking through a microscope to analyze historic paint finishes from a Creole cottage up River Road and finally hauling debris away from a job site with a trip to the dump. But it’s definitely never boring.

IN YOUR WORDS: Our wide range of services allows us to participate in all aspects of the construction process. We are extremely fortunate to learn from and work with the best historians, architects and craftsmen in town. We are constantly striving to improve our knowledge and understanding of how to properly maintain our historic building materials, because they are truly irreplaceable.

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