Wednesday, December 17, 2008


This is a picture of my parents' cabin. My dad designed it himself, as well as the house I grew up in (by the way, both are painted the same colors). Note the one-and-a-half story construction, the exposed sofits and beams, the prominant front porch, and the steep roof pitch.

We think he was heavily influenced by Arts and Crafts bungalows. What do you think?

Reading a little Gustav Stickley there, weren't you dad?

House Colors

So at the risk of sounding obsessive, I am having major exterior paint issues. The paint on the majority of the trim on the house is flaking off. Literally. A scrape and repaint is in the plans for next summer. Also, our house is covered in the infamous asbestos shingling. See it here in all its wavy ugliness? That's actually the garage, but you get the idea. In a weak moment last fall, I gave into Kevin's pleading to peak under the shingling to see if the original clapboard was there. It is. In an even weaker moment (he's a persistent one) I agreed to the removal of the shingles as we paint the trim. To my credit, at the rate we finished things last summer, we won't go broke doing this project because it will take us so long. See, I think these things through.

What, you ask, does this have to do with now? It's the middle of winter. Why are you even thinking of painting? Don't you have better things to do, like strip paint?

You may recall, I mentioned the storm door having issues. It's getting worse. We have it's replacement, and have had it for some time, (we dumpster dove for it from a foreclosure a few blocks down), but I haven't wanted to put it in. Why? Because our current storm windows are this color:
That would be bright cherry red. The color we are painting them is this color: Dark grey-blue. Which is what color I would have also painted the storm door, except bright cherry red plus dark grey blue (it can look VERY blue when the light hits it) plus white house equals red white and blue house. Which I just couldn't do. So here we sit, storm door falling off. Did I mentioned that my mom invited like fifteen people to our house this Sunday? Which, by the way I am thrilled about, becuase they are some of my favorite relatives, and I am excited for them to see the house. However, I don't want the front door to fall off in anyone's hands, and although I know there is absolutely nothing we can do in three days to make this place look fit to live in, I still what the house to make a good first impression. So back to the paint.

If I am going to paint the storm door a different color, then I need to have it match the color that is currently there (or at least not look horrible) and still match the new, because once I paint the door, I am not doing it again. So really, I need to be making some decisions here about paint color for the whole house. My artillary includes Sherwinn Williams Arts and Crafts Collection swatches, the book Bungalow Colors: Exterior by Robert Schweitzer and my own crazy ideas. By the way, yes, I know blue isn't a traditional bungallow color, but look how pretty it looks from the inside: Besides that, when I picked that color, I hadn't yet researched bungalow colors. The white trim is staying too, because there is evidence which leads me to believe it was original. Now our roof is gray, so our colors so far are:

Roof: grey
Storm: blue
Trim: White
Body one (for the lower part): ?
Body two (for the upper part): ?
Storm door: ?

Ackkk! I just can't deal with this decision. I have trouble deciding what to have out of a vending machine.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Our First Christmas

Every year since we've been married, Kevin and I have bought our tree from the University of Minnesota's Forestry Club. For those of you city dwellers, they are located just North of the St. Paul campus. They have a nice little trailer where they hang out, and usually they give the tree a fresh cut and carry it out to the car for us and everything. This year, when I was trying to find their hours online, I discovered they've been selling trees since 1905. That means that the very first owners of this house could have purchased their tree there. Hopefully, we've unknowingly continued a house tradition.

This year, we may have gone overboard. See the star? See how it's about an inch away from the ceiling? The tree is over 9 feet tall.

The ornaments on the tree have been slowly accumulated by each of us, from grandparents and parents, church and school, siblings and friends. The first year we were married, our two small boxes of ornaments merged. New ornaments have been collected, and the tree now represents our two lives merged. What makes this even more special is that one of the ornaments we collect is hand-carved by Kevin, symbolizing a major event of the past year. This year I'm hoping for a double hung window. Or maybe some knob and tube wiring.

By the way, the new glazing on the storm is curing, the storm door is still broken, the porch did not sink into the ground, and I have regained my Christmas spirit.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bah Humbug

I am writing this quickly because if all goes according to plan (which it won't) the automatic timer will turn the lights on outside and I won't be mad anymore because it will be all pretty. Right now, though, I'm quite peeved. It took three extension cords (only one of them that green color that hides well, the other two are red and orange) to hook up the lights outside. Which means we no longer have extension cords to use inside. Bah.

When I got home from the store an hour ago one of the porch storms had fallen off, and there was shards of glass all over my native flowers. Plus, our porch door is broken. I am fully expecting to find the porch sunken into a giant hole in the ground tomorrow. Humbug.