Sunday, December 21, 2014

Almost There!

Just a day before my parents arrived for their vacation with us we had reached the following stage (of completion):

Also known as "AD" / "Almost Done" we were almost done with painting. Both body colors were up, and all that is left to do is fine-tuning, trim work, and the porch floor.

That will most likely have to wait until after the holidays provided the weather plays along with days that are nice and sunny and not too cold.

The color?
We love it!
We are ecstatic that it turned out almost better than imagined and envisioned here.

Almost there!

After the holidays we will be back with more exterior goodness, but for now, this will have to do (and it does because, omigod, it's so much better than the flaky peeling blue and grey mess from before).

Monday, December 15, 2014

Color Going Up!

With my parents' impending arrival we were buckling down for good on the last free weekend.
Nothing, absolutely nothing is as inspiring and motivating as your parents coming for a visit. After all, you want to show them a little bit of progress, and we'd been talking long enough about painting the exterior so we wanted that baby done (or as much done as the weather allowed).

While it rained on and off on several days throughout the past couple of weeks, that last weekend was just brilliant, despite a weather forecast that stated the complete opposite.

So we decided to get at least the front painted.
No kidding.
In the beginning we had vowed not to start with the front because we had seen the occasional house where -just- the front had been painted while the rest lingered unfinished and forgotten. It's so easy to get sidetracked, so easy to be swept away by Life. We didn't want to risk that. Since we had hired help (Thanks, Mark!) coming to our rescue, however, we thought we were pretty safe in that we would get all the house painted at some point this year.

So here we go, starting with the front.
We had
and now, finally, we got to apply paint!

Here's yours truly atop the front porch roof getting started on painting the upstair's Sherwin-Williams' Oakmoss, a dark, sage-y green, color matched in Benjamin Moore paint.

Yes, I'm crazy excited about painting and seeing how lovely the color is turning out. The husband was mighty proud of me of braving the heights - I usually refuse to work on anything higher than 10ft up, but I felt pretty safe on the big ol' porch roof; it was almost like working on solid ground.

While I was up there, the husband and Little Man were down below.

Since you are supposed to paint 'top down' here's what it looked like after the first of two coats of Oak Moss upstairs:

Isn't it lovely?
Isn't the crisp contrast between the green and the creamy antique white just absolutely delicious?
No, the window frames weren't yet painted - good catch!

The order of painting is
1. Top down (start at the top and work your way down)
2. Details and trim last

While upstairs was drying and putting to use every bit of daylight we tackled the downstairs, first painting the ceiling Antique White, then rolling on the first coat of "Bosc Pear" onto the walls.

The change is drastic, almost more so downstairs than upstairs because Bosc Pear is such a warm, rich color - a huge change from the cool pale grey-blue we used to see.

And then the sun went down and night made it hard to see what we were painting so we called it a day!

The next day we would return for Coat II, paying no mind to our aching arms and backs and feet!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Elfing Around

December arrived, and with it our Elf on the Shelf, "Barrigade." This is our third year celebrating the holiday season with the daily antics of our silly elf, and just as last year I'm wondering if this will be our last. Little Man is now 11 years old and will be headed for Middle School in the summer, and well, how long can you actually keep on believing in a world that bares it all all the time?

So far, so good. There was some empirical testing (he secretly touched the elf only to find out he was still moving through the house and committing his silly pranks at night - results of this test are, as of yet, inconclusive ... heh. Besides, we 'believe' that if you stop believing in Santa or, in my German case, the Christkind, you will only receive socks and underwear as presents) but he was and is still pretty excited to find the elf in the morning.

Husband and I enjoy coming up with crazy ideas to make finding our little elf fun to start off the day. Mind you, we have never used him as a parenting tool and/or in-house creepy stalker secret agent - we have fun with it, and leave the rest to Little Man's imagination.

So here are a few shots of our elf from this year - more to follow! Enjoy!

Rough trip back from the North Pole 
or feeling sympathetic to Little Man's minor foot surgery?

Playing Little Man's least favorite game with Enderman

Worst cookies ever - Do not feed (milkbones) to Santa!

Catching up on the chocolate advent calendar for Little Man - yes, he stole a piece of chocolate when Little Man wasn't up-to-date on opening his advent calendar. Bad elf!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

White going up!

Much to this short person's frustration, you star painting from the top down. That's the part I cannot reach and where I need the help of strong men who aren't afraid to, you know, wield paint sprayers and rollers at a lofty 20-something feet height and can physically maneuver that beast of a ladder I bought for this purpose.
I max out at 12' which is a whopping 10' higher now than before we bought our little old house.
I don't do heights very well.
At least not on ladders.

Anyways, since we decided to get rid of the ugly dark trim, Sherwin Williams' "Antique White" colormatched to Ben Moore Exterior paint was the first color to go up.

It's a sweet, soft creamy white - almost beige looking against a bright decorator's white - but it goes on beautifully and will provide just the right amount of clean contrast between our two body colors. Trust me, I know.
I tried.
The first white I'd chosen was just too bright so I mixed my own personal 'right' kind of color which turned out to be a dead match for "Antique White."

Nice and creamy.

It even looked kind of cute with the pale blue-grey that was already on the house ... and for a teeny tiny moment I was torn between continuing with our planned color scheme and just keeping the blue grey. I could see it working with a sea-glass colored porch ceiling, for example.
Very beachy.
Then the sun came out and we went blind.
It was so bright, we felt like vampires skittering into the shelter of the shadows cast by the trees, hiding from the searing burn of the sunlight reflecting off the house.

That made the decision really easy: Oakmoss and Bosc Pear it is!

Monday, December 8, 2014


Slowly but surely we are getting closer to color photos! I know this is a rather slo-mo type of reveal but it was a slo-mo kind of project, and that's not even counting the time it took us to figure out the color scheme in the first place (read about it here, and here, and here ...oh, and here).

Unbelievable but true, it took us two whole years to really decide on our exterior paint project (so massive KUDOS to you if you can make it happen faster than that).

After two years of waffling over the 'right' color, squirreling money away, doing research first on professional painters and how much it would cost to have the house painted by someone else, then how to paint it ourselves to save money, and then, finally, buckling down and getting started FOR REAL, we and our little old house were finally (three weeks ago, to be honest) more than ready for


I know. How exciting!
Well, it was for us.
Seeing the white (for downstairs) and dark grey (for upstairs) primer go up finally made things real for us. We were actually going to get our house painted.
This year!
No more peeling paint.
No more sad dingy blue grey.

Even with just the white primer it looked SO MUCH better already.

I realize I'm an evil tease dragging this process out over so many short posts but this comes preeeeetty close to how 'fast' we progressed, and I knew we wouldn't get anything done during my parents' visit over Thanksgiving.
Bear with me - it'll be worth it (at least that's what we think - we loooove the end product)!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Side Job

Owning a house always comes with a learning curve. Depending on your budget for repairs and updates it is more or less steep.
In our case, and especially in case of huge project such as an exterior paint job, the learning curve was pretty daring and came with new experiences.

For example: siding repairs.

Termites, bad prep work committed by former owners, and weather had wrought quite a number on some of the boards of our wooden siding, and those had to be repaired one way or another.

I filed the paperwork for the Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) to make sure all our siding repairs were legit and sanctioned by our Historic Preservation Commission, picked up a couple of boards of bevelled pine siding matching our own at Carolina Lumber (nicest people ever!), and set the husband up with a couple of videos  and articles on This Old House on how to repair wood siding.

Like this video for example.

We started with a very simple spot - no piecing, no funny monkey business, just plain replacement of one board.

Well, our first trial run cost us three boards in the end since prying the old boards - even the old, rotted, broken one - was harder than we thought and it looked, and before we knew it we'd cracked a second one and a third. Oy! They always make it look so easy on TV!

Fortunately, after that things started looking up (it's like calibrating your feet for a new car and a more touchy pair of brakes), and we replaced a few other spots with no problem at all.
It is rather straightforward process, after all: pry out or cut out broken piece, measure new piece in place, cut, nail, caulk seams. Done!

That being said, when the husband came to fix the siding on the upstairs addition (the area containing our dressing room and master bath) things got difficult again, mainly because a previous owner had used and patched with -three- different types of siding.

In order to make up for the discrepancies in board widths and the resulting gaps, we had to remove quite a few boards - more than we'd originally planned.

That required another trip to Carolina Lumber (not really a hardship at all - they are very close by and really nice and helpful, not to mention surprisingly affordable) and more siding boards. A small blow to our tight budget for our exterior job but no budget buster (unless we hit another crazy snag like this).

The husband spent an entire weekend trying to match things up, fitting boards, measuring, and cutting perched on the roof of our little downstairs (enclosed) porch.
Steep learning curve, I'm telling you! There were quite a few choice words directed at tools and planks, but in the end, he figured things out and made me a mighty proud wife.

Nailed it!