Thursday, June 25, 2009

From Boring Blue to Muddy Mississippi

We have begun the house project of 2009. Paint. No more boring, depressing blue. I like blue, don’t get me wrong. But a blue house, blue carpet, blue paint and blue wallpaper everywhere you look was way too much for me when we bought this house.

So one step at a time. Paint is cheap, at least a gallon or so at a time. I stripped all the blue wallpaper in the bedrooms before we moved in. Removed the frilly, not womanly feminine country (I love country but this was outdated country) curtains and painted our master bedroom cafe au lait with white trim and the master bath white. I’ve changed the bedding several times but the wall color always works.

Kelly’s bedroom had little lambs on a border and we got rid of that really fast and painted everything a clean white so her dark midnight blue moon and stars would show up better.

Michael had the pink room so we stripped it down and painted a clean white palette and gave it a more masculine look.

Then I had to take a break but after one winter in Washington with dark grey skies and overcast days, I broke out the paint brushes and painted the living room a pale creamy yellow. Funny, I didn’t even notice the blue rug anymore.

The old dining area, which is now a sitting area off the kitchen, became a shade darker yellow than the living room. And the best part was no more blue border. So that only left the kitchen, and the pantry which is sort of open to the kitchen. I spiced it up a bit and went for a French New Orleans bolder deeper yellow. Now the blue, yes I said blue, counter top looked almost grey not blue. The blue and white tiles sort of receded because the yellow color said look at me.

I used all three colors of yellow and sort of did a faux French painting technique in the entryway to get rid of yet another shade of blue. I went up the staircase with bright white paint to open it up and get rid of the dark dreaded, “what is at the top of the stairs feeling” all that “blue” paint gave the staircase.

Now that the kitchen looked brighter the cabinets looked horrible. Cha ching. Of course paint can fix almost anything. I painted all the base cabinets black after Larry added some additional trim molding so they weren’t flat fronts. New hardware from my favorite store…EBay. The kitchen island got hand painted doors with chicken, cows, sheep, and stars. I painted the upper cabinets red then Kelly helped me crackle them with a creamy white paint and then we glazed them to give them an aged look. New hardware and the whole kitchen looked fresh and clean. Five weeks from start to finish and a little paint.

While Kelly was gone one summer, I stripped the blue wallpaper out of her bathroom and painted the murky blue wall with bright white semi-gloss paint. Four coats is what it took to cover that horrible blue paint. Two coats of primer and two coats of paint. Wow. Four 100 watt bulbs really can light up a bathroom. Again the blue Formica counter tops looked almost grey and the dark midnight blue flooring was no longer shooting look at me. New rugs, new towels. Hallelujah the upstairs was done. That is if you don’t count the linen closet and the master bath linen closet which are peach and blue. Doors closed. Another day, another week.

This worked until the kids moved out and then it was time to mix it up again. The old sunroom became the new dining room. Hunting coat red went up on the walls with white paint on all the woodwork. Wow. What could I do next?!

The small guest bath downstairs. You guessed it. No more blue. I stripped layers of blue wallpaper, flower wallpaper, gunk, junk, and more paper..and then painted, I bought every craft size bottle of copper paint I could find in the county and mixed them (I couldn’t find anyone at that time who sold copper paint in quarts) and painted. New curtains--it was good…for now. Okay so paint did not distract you from the old white 1970’s cabinet with outdated hardware and fake marble Formica top. Another day, another dollar.

Onto bigger and better things:

The study, which we took on last fall. Stripped the old paper, rebuilt the fireplace wall and installed a new high efficiency gas fireplace that really warms the room, new flat screen TV for Larry, and paint. I used cream paint on the upper walls, mocha on the lower wall paneling, and the dining room red on the fireplace wall. Gone was fake stain to make the paneling look like oak, the busy border and one of the chair rail moldings was gone. The blue green wallpaper that covered the top half of the walls was gone as was the blue paint underneath, and the green we found, and the builder’s beige.

Well that only leave my studio left untouched by my paintbrush and it will have to wait a little longer. With a very large wire dog kennel that the dog sleeps in at night, and my stuff which I am sorting through to make the studio cleaner and more efficient, I will live with the grey green walls. Yes you heard me right. But underneath the grey green walls, lies a shade of blue. I removed an ugly yellow ceramic duck head towel holder and what did I behold…blue paint. I’ll just hang a picture and wait. But I do know the paint color my room aspires to be someday-- Shimmering white with a pearlescent sheen. Black and white hounds tooth curtains, white sheers (I already have those up), and two new cream shabby chic work tables already in use; and the ugly white fan (you just cannot use a fan in an art studio with lots of bits and pieces of paper, gold leafing, glitter, etc.) will come down to be replaced by a crystal chandelier with a drum shade. I can see it now.

But right now what I see is the outside of my home that is crying out, paint me. Now! Bob Gibbons the painter, the Harley friend, the nice guy, power washed the house and said you really need to do this now before it gets worse. Okay. We finally agreed on a set of colors, muddy Mississippi for the main body of the house, French cream for the trim, India ink for the shutters, and cranberry bog red for the front door. Ready set go. Not so fast. Prep work. Stop! Houston we have a problem… Seems the old LP siding is finally wearing out. Okay it’s really all a disaster…Bob could push a finger through some of it. So Bob called his carpenter friend to check it out and hopefully it would be just a matter of new siding with no damage underneath, and maybe we caught it early. Just new siding will still set us back a thousand dollars, or so, more than we had planned to spend but there isn’t much we can do about it. Better to fix it now than have to come back and do it later and paint again.

June 12th, Friday morning, Bob was ready to go. He sprayed the porch roof the cream white and already the house has begun to look newer. The front of the house is prepped and all the extra Victorian doodad trim has been removed, plastic covers everything not to be painted and the paint sprayer was turned on. Wow. My little blue country farm house is metamorphosing into a sleek, updated, modern, contemporary county home.

Let’s see? It has taken me ten years to paint all but one room inside the house so if the outside of the house had been left up to me, it might have taken me another ten years to complete it. Better to leave some things to the experts who are quick and efficient. Good thing we have a friend who is a painter.

Well it was all moving so smoothly. That should have been the warning signal…Trouble under the bedrooms windows in the front of the house. When we first moved in one window wall was damp. It dried up in a few day and no more problems. Well, just no problems that we could see. Bob called his friend Bill and what was to be a replacement of some bad siding became a complete tear out of the upper part of the house. Between building codes being different from 1974 to today, to previous contractor shortcuts, siding that is known to fail, no weather sheathing, and windows that were installed improperly, a simple paint job morphed into a major remodel of the front of the house upstairs. Thought that was it? No! The wood door between the house, the garage, and the sporting goods room that at one time was used as a passageway to the backyard, was rotten and the hardware was rusted and couldn’t be removed. We decided that since we never use the door, we had Bill remove it, replaced the door with siding, sealing the doorway off, and cut off the old hardware. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

Dry rot on Monday, so on Tuesday the windows were removed, and the framing is being rebuilt and the damaged wood removed. We have had 28 days of no rain and now it looks like that is about to change which means the work is on hold and the paint will also have to wait. One window is back in, and one window is covered with plywood. The inside of both bedroom walls will probably have to be patched and painted but that will probably be a nice winter painting project for me.

If the rain holds off, the shop is sort of ready to go. We knew one panel of siding needed to be replaced but we found a second panel and another one needs to be renailed. Larry and I took the truck up to the back yard and pulled out 7 beautiful elderberry trees that sprung up from small shrubs last year that we hadn’t even noticed, and had become full blown 15 foot trees right up against the back of the shop. Sad they couldn’t be saved. Sadder still is all the perennials that had to be cut down so that Bob could paint the shop. At least they will grow back even though they won’t bloom this year. So if the weather holds Bob will begin painting the shop cranberry bog red tomorrow. I guess the bonus in all of this is the weeds are being removed at a much faster speed because of the painting.

Amazing what paint can do to a home. Now that the old shutters have been removed, the house is sporting a fresh new color of paint, and the windows trimmed out they way they should have been, we aren’t going to put the new black shutters up. The house looks so clean and pretty and I don’t want to mess up the look with fussy shutters. We do have new black coach lanterns on the front of the house and the back deck. Last night we heard a loud crash and Larry went to investigate with Deuce the brave dog, and when he flipped on the porch light, wow, a new 100 watt bulb, the porch ceiling painted the creamy white and you could actually see outside. Turns out it was just one of the unused shutters that had blown over making the loud crashing sound.

The trim is being finished on the house and the shop. The torn off old siding has been removed and disposed of. The cupola on top of the shop has been repaired and all the windows trimmed out with new wood. The house and the garden finally look like they fit together.

The front door is being painted the same cranberry bog red as the shop. It’s going to say to say welcome to all our guests who come to visit. Of course the weather has turned and it is rainy and windy and the front doors are wide open to allow the paint to dry and cure. This is coat one of three. I teased in an email to friends that we may have to leave the doors wide open all night and sit by them to guard from pesky intruders, like skunks, stray cats, or opossums.

Bob painted the new wood house numbers and put them up this morning and now the UPS and FedEx delivery people will know exactly which house is 2612. Of course we can no longer tell people to turn onto Nubgaard and we are the third house on the left, just look for the blue house, because it is no longer blue. Yahoo!!!!!!!!!!

I will work on the front porch and back deck this summer to refinish them with a fresh coat of stain and we will do a more yard clean up. I need to trim the rhododendrons and putty and paint the front porch posts but this will be part of my summer project, one that I need to do quickly so the house looks completed. Maybe next year we will build the porch railing.

Carpenter Bill (who at heart is an arborist) is going to come next week and trim the big pine tree on the East side of the house, remove the pine needles off the roof, and clean the gutters which are full of needles. He said he will also take care of my big red leaf maple out front that lost three limbs from the hard winter we had this year.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails