Where Damp And Mold Lay Siege...And A Clinic Tends The Casualties

Irina Anatolevna is a woman at war with the elements. As chief restorer of St. Petersburg's Yusupov Palace, she is charged with the near-impossible task of maintaining a mansion built in 1760 against the destructive incursions of a humid climate. Her team struggles daily against wet stains, flaking paint and plaster, peeling wallpaper, and dank smells caused by a host of microbes, fungi, and molds. The swath of damage extends from the museum's basement, where Rasputin was killed, to the sumptuous rooms once occupied by one of the richest pre-revolutionary Russian families. "Renovation is a never-ending process here. We constantly have to come back in and repaint," laments Anatolevna.

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