November 24: The Circle of Paint

I feel pretty good overall, although I wish contractors and appraisers and so on would stop telling me how many projects there are to do. I know there are projects! That’s why I’m talking to you, contractor and/or appraiser!

But no, really, I do feel pretty good. Getting all that about the kitchen off my chest was very helpful, and so was a full three day push last weekend. I’m feeling a little broke but I hired some folks anyway and it was, as usual, very worth it.

Eric balletically put up trim in the mudroom (because of the complex beadboard ceiling it needed quite a bit of trim)

He also shingled over the former dining room door (RIP)

And shingled the front porch.

Almost there

The shingles are a good story! I’d been resisting buying more to do the porch because I don’t like them that much and hope to replace them with clapboard eventually, but I was also out of harvested material and not sure what I was going to do. But then I got a text when I was in NY that Kathy had seen her friend Tony taking the very same shingles off *his* house to replace with clapboard, and did I want them? Yes I did! So I went and met Tony when I got back and picked up not only enough for the porch, but enough for future repairs as well. He was inspirational too as he’s been working on his house for 18 years. I’m hoping to be done before that, but my house is probably half the size and I don’t have five kids either….

Meanwhile, Charity was doing thresholds for my bathroom and closet, and also figuring out how to install the last mudroom window (which wasn’t made for that spot so it required a lot of finagling), and also doing most of the work of splitting my giant pile of salvaged trim off its backing (I helped! but kept having to go do other stuff.)

a pile of trim pieces post splitting
Only one casualty! Gluing and clamping the only piece that split. Other pieces awaiting denailing at bottom.
Some of the pieces have 130-year-old (ish) writing on them

There’s good news and medium news on the salvaged trim front. I didn’t really know how much I had until we split and denailed it. The good (really, great) news is that there’s almost enough plinth blocks and rosette corners to do the whole first floor (not the kitchen and mudroom and bathroom, but the foyer, living and dining rooms, and bedroom). I’ll have to try to scavenge a few more to finish things off, but even without that we’re in very good shape. However, there’s some weirdness because the — I don’t know what to call them. Connector parts? The long rectangular pieces that run up/across a window or doorframe. Anyway, this trim was made for a totally different size of house than mine, a much bigger one (at least 12′ ceilings, I have 9’6″). I’d been figuring on cutting down the long pieces to fit my windows and doors. But it turned out that, once split from the backing, there aren’t really any long pieces. They used rosettes to join shorter ones, and even the longer pieces aren’t long enough for my six foot windows — although fortunately the pieces that run across the top of the windows and doors are exactly the right size. So, there are two possible solutions. One, which I’m not going to do (mostly), would be to stack two pieces of shorter trim and have a visible seam. The other is to have the backing pieces, which are identically sized strips of the same oak as the trim itself, cut to the right lengths and milled to match. That’s the direction I’m going in right now; I know a guy who has the equipment to do this and he came by the other day to pick up a sample piece so he can order the “knife” to cut it. So my job in between now and mid December is to figure out how to match the finish on the old trim, or at least get close enough that it won’t look weird next to the old rosettes and plinth blocks. It’ll look great, I’m not worried about it.

Meanwhile — there really was a lot happening — Ryan was priming the mudroom, and I was three feet away from him stripping paint off a lot of window hardware. It did seem a little absurd to be paying someone to put paint on while I took paint off….

The hinges turn out to be steel, not brass, which isn’t too surprising; this was a nice but not fancy house and I totally get why they thought hinges were a place they could cut a corner or three. A mild bummer for me because steel rusts, so I have to probably clean them up a bit more and then do something protective before I rehang the doors, whereas if they were brass I could just polish and rehang and call it a day. But at least we’re underway. I did the crockpot thing to get most of the paint off. It worked ok, though every piece also needed to be scrubbed pretty well with steel wool after the main part of the paint came away.

And speaking of paint coming off, the sanding was happening upstairs:

Midway through this room, although actually fairly close to done. I asked them not to go totally all the way because I’m not sure what I’m doing yet. I might paint all these floors, in which case this is enough. But if I decide to poly them instead I want to finish off with a gentler orbital sander rather than the drum sander the pros use. It saved me a little money, although if I do eventually rent an orbital sander that’ll make up for it. But anyway, it was most important to me to just get someone else to do the heavy stuff. Way too much time and dust for me to want to do it myself.

Excitingly, I hung some numbers and the mailbox up! Oh, and the pile of pine branches there is from having the giant pine trimmed. The same guy also cut down the weird skinny pine on the other side of the house. I’m planning on building some really big raised beds next week and filling them with tree debris, hugelkultur style.

I ended up painting the mudroom myself because before Ryan could come back I got a “surprise! your dryer is being delivered!” notice and I was just totally determined not to have another appliance sitting in the living room. I wanted it in its place! Barely made it; the second coat was still a bit tacky to the touch when they dropped it off:

Note the classy garbage bags I taped up over the sheathing because I am very, very much not a neat painter. In fact, despite having dropcloths down on the entire floor (they’re pulled away in the picture for the dryer delivery) I still somehow ended up having to wipe a ton of paint spots up with goof-off after the whole thing was done. Paint is just not my forte. But it looks well enough, if not professional, and it’s only the mudroom after all. Bound to get banged up anyway.

Finally, made a bit more aesthetic and practical progress on the bathroom front as Eric hung both a windowsill and some shelves:

I feel very lucky to have met him!

Published by Catherine R. Osborne

Historian, theologian, editor.

3 thoughts on “November 24: The Circle of Paint

  1. Numbers and a mailbox…it’s home!

    Really? Really? “I might paint all these floors, in which case this is enough.” I will probably cry. Like, I will totally understand and maybe force myself to look at your pictures…eventually.

    I’m glad you feel good. You should. The house has come a really long way in what seems like a relatively short amount of time. I know it seems much longer to you because you are living in it but…I’m so inspired and encouraged.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, the thing about the upstairs floors is they were never meant to be seen, really — they’re a lower grade of wood than the stuff downstairs and they were originally painted around the edges and clearly had rugs in the middle of the floors. And I have to paint the bathroom floors (with marine paint) to protect them from moisture, so I was thinking about also doing the others. HOWEVER. I’m not actually sure I can bring myself to do it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

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