Knowing we’d have to start letting go of projects and hiring professionals was disappointing. We were so determined to do the work ourselves, and felt like we rarely got credit for all the hard work we put in our last home because my dad is a trim carpenter. Now granted – I’d never attempt to install crown with him around, but that didn’t mean we hadn’t learned and successfully completed a number of technical projects ourselves. And although I’m only writing this knowing he’ll never read it, there are now some things that I have more knowledge and skill in. Refinishing floors, tiling, and wiring switches/fixtures come to mind.
Anyway, we were disappointed to have to hire out exterior painting. In the beginning, we relished in the transformation that would occur as we worked our way around the house, patching rotted trim, scrapping peeling and blistering sections, and caulking to preserve it. We hired a nice guy and a decent painter who did a good job. I would have spent a lot more time prepping, but I’d also probably still be living in a red house. And besides, once I saw how tall those ladders were, I was glad to have him around for the high stuff!
There was a lot more rotted trim work than we had hoped and anticipated. As our painter worked his way around the house he kept pointing out areas for us to replace. All of the downspouts had issues, and the entire oriel window needed replaced. This was going to be tricky because it had a ton of detailed trim work. There’s fishscale shingles, corbels, a rounded bottom, and lots trim of different shapes and sizes. My wonderful father spent two months rebuilding it. He’s still recreating one of the corbels that was beyond repair, but otherwise, it looks fantastic. Even I can’t tell anymore where his new trim starts and blends into the old and I helped him do it. We had a blade made to reproduce siding through Atlas. There wasn’t nearly enough crown to justify the same process. I think we needed only 12 lf of 4 different varieties. So, my father took on the tedious task of recreating the crown by combining, cutting down, and patching together pieces that were available to him. He’s slow and sometimes painful, but he’s so very good at what he does.
More than anything, painting the exterior of the house was the most impactful project we did. We lamented the need to choose colors, and looked at a number of historical color palates. After much thought, consideration, and samples, we decided that we wanted the house to be bright and fun. So, we took our inspiration from images of the painted ladies in San Francisco. Although our colors certainly aren’t historically accurate, they make us smile when we pull up and stand out on an otherwise muted block. We’re going to add a fifth accent color to some of the trim work (primarily the balusters) this summer, but can’t decide on the color. We’re primarily leaning towards orange or purple.