WANDA GAG HOUSE
INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR RESTORATION
NEW ULM, MINNESOTA
Built in 1893, the Wanda Gag House is a 2-1/2 story Queen Anne style home. Located in New Ulm, Minnesota, this wonderful house was the childhood home of Wanda Gag, author and illustrator of “Millions of Cats,” a time-honored classic of children’s literature.
The original interior decoration is unique in the Midwest and possibly one of a kind in the United States. The vibrant murals—hand painted decorative motifs and architectural ﬁnishes—were executed by Anton Gag (Wanda’s father), an accomplished artist, decorator, and photographer. They were created by overlaying several opaque and transparent layers of casein paint on primed plaster.Over the years, especially after the passing of Anton Gag, this historic monument suﬀered multiple exterior and interior alterations. At the time it was purchased in 1989 by Wanda Gag House Association, it was hard to imagine the original beauty of this structure. After many years of hard work and with grants from Minnesota Historical Society, this Queen Anne house was returned to its former glory. This house is registered as a National Historic Site in the United States.
The exterior was restored to its original appearance. The original architectural elements, including the ﬁsh scale shingles and the wood siding, were discovered under asbestos tiles. The original seven colors used by Anton Gag were also discovered under several layers of paint. The original colors were replicated. The missing architectural elements have been replicated as well.
Interior restoration consisted of cleaning, removal of multiple layers of paint, ﬁlling the missing areas of plaster, inpainting, and varnishing. The large areas of missing decorative motifs and ﬁnishes were replicated using a paint casein paint, similar with the historic one.