A makeover on the historic Mid-Levels mansion King Yin Lei on Stubbs Road began last week after a restoration expert procured tiles from a factory in Foshan similar to those torn off the building. Experts said the new tiles were about a 90 per cent match to the originals but were darker in colour. Government sources said all required building materials could be reproduced eventually. 'The new tiles are close to the original look, but not exactly the same,' said Tang Guohua of Guangzhou University's school of architecture and urban planning. 'The colour is darker because factories no longer use firewood to fire tile kilns.' Professor Tang said tile-kiln temperatures were now higher because of the fuels used to fire them, resulting in darker-coloured tiles that were more durable. He monitored restoration work on the building on Thursday and issued instructions to workers installing the tiles on the roof after the first batch of reproduced tiles arrived from Foshan. The restoration would require 50,000 new tiles of various types, according to a Development Bureau spokeswoman. Professor Tang said: 'Such scale of reproduction must be done by a factory on a large scale. Foshan has only two [such factories].' The spokeswoman said the Antiquities and Monuments Office believed that all building materials for the restoration could be produced, including timber, tiles, masonry and metal components. Professor Tang said about 90 per cent of the information needed to carry out the restoration had been gathered but it did not necessarily mean the mansion could be fully restored to its original appearance. 'It all depends on the skills of the craftsmen,' he said, adding that reconstruction of the roof was just the beginning. 'The most difficult task will be making the terrazzo,' he said, referring to the designs created in marble chips on walkways, floors, patios and panels. Professor Tang added: 'We are considering asking retired craftsmen to show their master skills to younger ones.' A Mrs Lee, who has lived in the neighbourhood for more than 20 years, said: 'It is good to see the mansion repaired but it can never look the same. It has been a favourite place for tourists. It's unbearable to see it falling apart.' The unidentified former owner of the iconic 1930s Chinese-style mansion began stripping the roof and decorative features in September 2007. The government, criticised for its late action, declared the building a monument last July and commissioned experts to restore it. The property is now owned by the government after it swapped another piece of land nearby for the mansion and its land. The roof will be completed in the first quarter of this year. It will be followed by the facade. The interior should be completed by next year.