Golden House Numbers

We’ll make your new home look great with new golden house numbers. So how does glass gilding happen? Our team uses 23 karat loose gold leaf, applied carefully by hand. The master gilder arrives at your home at 7 am, and he can finish the job in four or five hours. Successful gilding requires patience and timing. The process is tedious and delicate; haste is not advisable.

Installing golden house numbers

First, we clean the glass with Bon Ami soap powder and use a razor blade to remove other surface debris. Then we paint the outline and shadow onto the interior surface of the transom glass. The next part of the process is applying the backup paint. It dries hard and fast. Back-up paint is strong, and it holds up well during later parts of the gilding process.

Next, we apply water size to the glass. A small piece of gelatin dissolves into filtered water. Sterno heats the water a little to complete the dissolution.

Finally, Our installers spray the water size directly onto the glass and quickly apply the gold leaf sheets. A soft gilder’s tip is needed. The gold leaf will jump from the tip to the glass. Once the gold has dried, we can polish it lightly with cotton, and then the process is repeated. Multiple layers of gold leaf are necessary to cover the glass completely. Little spots where gold is missing will allow light or black paint to show through. “Holidays” are small areas of glass where gold leaf is thin or missing, and they can ruin the job!

How to finish a gold leaf installation

The last step involves more backup paint. We must cover the entire gold leaf area inside the outlines with protective paint. Once the paint has dried, we use an eradication brush to scrub away excess gold. Be sure to apply the gold leaf gently, as the process is delicate. Poor judgment or hurrying will lead to unintended damage to the gold leaf and paint.

Gold leaf at Fort Mcnair in Washington, DC

We installed gold leaf house numbers on 15 homes at Fort McNair in Washington, DC.  Our team is proud of the finished work and grateful for the opportunity to work on this famous military base. These Fort McNair transoms are one of our most extensive gold leaf projects to date. We love glass gilding in Washington, DC.


Fort McNair is the 3rd oldest Army post in the United States.

Throughout history, this Army base has served as a prison, barracks, hospital, and college. The arsenal housed 1,000 beds during the Civil War for the treatment of the wounded. The arsenal also produced ammunition for Northern soldiers. Following the assassination of President Lincoln, conspirators were tried and executed at Forst McNair. Major Walter Reed was a faculty member at the US Army Medical School. He conducted extensive research on malaria at the post-hospital.

After the Spanish-American War

Fort McNair became the Army’s school for senior officers after establishing the Army War College in 1901. Next, the Army Industrial College was founded at McNair in 1924 for training officers for high-level positions. Finally, the college evolved into the Armed Forces Industrial College. Next, it became the National War College in 1946. Finally, In 1948, government officials renamed the post in honor of Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair. He was the commander of Army ground forces during World War II.

Would you mind taking a moment to review more photos of our beautiful gold leaf installations?

Gold in popular culture

Emily Dickinson, ‘The Moon Was But a Chin of Gold.’ In the nineteenth century, Emily Dickinson (1830-86) was one of the most distinguished poets. Among her contemporary poets, only Gerard Manley Hopkins comes close to matching her attention to detail and captivating style. Emily Dickinson was one of the creators of extraordinary new metaphors for describing the world around her long before the Imagists, under Ezra Pound‘s leadership, began to “make it new.” In her eyes, the moon is not a dull and predictable ‘silver’ orb or pale silvery face, but rather a ‘chin of gold.’ Her fine example of this is ‘The Moon was but a Chin of Gold’ which begins as follows:

The Moon was but a Chin of Gold
A Night or two ago—
And now she turns Her perfect Face
Upon the World below—

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Transom Numbers In Gold Leaf

Transom Numbers In Gold Leaf

Right on Florida Ave in DC Here you'll find a standout piece of work at 1231—the transom numbers in gold leaf. They're bold, bright, and they scream...

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