Monday, November 16, 2009

Step Two: Stripping the Paint

Note: I should probably back up here a little bit. If you are not sure whether or not your house's woodwork was originally finished or painted, test a small area with either stripper or a heat gun. If the paint slides off easily, and you can see the wood underneath, you have finished wood. If it is harder to get the paint off, or if the wood has paint "in its pores" and it has a whitewashed look, it was originally painted.
Tools You Need (From top to bottom):
  1. Respirator: Kevin and I tend to be overly cautious maybe when it comes to safety, so go at your own risk. Personally, I kind of like the respirator. Also, it's a lot easier to breath for a long time in a respirator than in a dust mask. Just don't sneeze....
  2. Gloves: The temperatures can get pretty hot when using heat to remove paint, so a good pair of leather gloves is important. FYI for good quality leather gloves that fit small hands (or oddly shaped hands) go to Ubers .
  3. Goggles: just to be on the safe side. A burning paint chip in the eye just sounds really painful.
  4. Pull Scraper: The one we have has a lot of angles (convex curve, concave curve, right angel, point etc.). It works well for curved and detailed pieces.
  5. Five-in-One: a stiff putty knife would do the trick, too, but my five-in-one has a blunt blade, meaning there's less chance I'll nick the trim.
  6. Heat: We recently purchased a Silent Paint Remover, and though they cost a lot, there are deals to be had. We got a deal on ours at Ebay.
It really does work a whole lot faster than a heat gun, but our trusty heat gun still has its advantages over the SPR sometimes (hard-to-reach corners and details). Why no chemical strippers? For one, that can get expensive. Two, they're a mess. Kevin wrote his one and only blog post about stripping a door using various methods, and I think it is a good case-in-point.


I will also talk briefly about how to use the heat gun, for now I will focus on the SPR.

Find a good, heat-proof surface to lay the SPR on when not in use. I actually just worked on my basement floor, but I did get sore after a while. Choose a flat, no frills board to begin with. Put on the respirator and gloves, and turn on the SPR. Once it's heated up (only a few seconds), place the SPR on the board you want to strip. It has a nifty arm that can make it rest at an angle if needed, as seen in my pictures.
After a few attempts, you'll get the hang of how long to leave the heat on the board. If it's not left on long enough, the paint won't come off, and for whatever reason, it always seems to come off best with the first pull. If left on too Basically, when the paint is bubbly and smoking a little, take off the heat. Note: you should also know where a working fire extinguisher is, and maybe even keep it close, just in case.

Once the heat is off the board, work fast; it cools quickly. Take the scraper and either pull or push the paint off, depending on the type you are using (the wood handled one in the picture is a pull scraper, the five-in-one is a push).
Get off what you can in the first pull, then heat it up and go again.

If you are using the heat gun, it's more of a fluid motion. With one hand you hold the heat gun, and the other you use the scraper. Move slowly along the board pulling the heated paint with you as you go. The heated paint should be bubbly and smoking a little.

At the end, your boards will look like this:
Don't worry, they don't stay this ugly.

ONE LAST SAFETY NOTE: The SPR should be used with its protective screens in place. It keeps the heat at a safe distance from the wood. The heat gun should be used on the lowest effective setting. Both of these tools have a real and serious risk of starting a fire if not used properly. Yes, we at Bungled House have started fires with both. Both times we were being stupid. And yes, I did it twice before changing my method. Please be safe. And learn from your mistakes the first time.

As always, if you have comments and or advice, please write!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Getting the Nails Out

This is what I love about the houseblogging community. At the time I wrote that first post in the series about removing the woodwork, I had only removed a few nails. After doing quite a few more, I realized I could have written a whole lot more on the subject of proper nail removal.

And then...

I checked the blog and discovered Bennington Colonial had done just that! And recommended an awesome tool that we are totally getting. It is actually made to pull nails out of wood through the back. So please check out Bennington Colonial's post if you are going to take off your trim.

Friday, November 13, 2009

This Series Will be Interrupted....

By the house's not-so-subtle hint that our efforts should be focused on the disaster that is our kitchen.

Here is the kitchen sink on the day we bought the house. Notice the backsplash (how could you not)? That's drawer liner, not wallpaper.

This past weekend, we had dinner guests, so of course, the faucet cracked and started leaking.
This put us in a dilemma, that I'm sure many of you have faced. This room is obviously on our to-do list. Or, to be more specific the gut-to-the-studs list. I don't really want to replace things right now, I want to do it in a couple of years in one glorious purging of our bank accounts. So I went to the Orange Store.

Orange Store Employee: "Can I help you?"
Me: "My faucet cracked apart. I was hoping you had a replacement part."
OSE: "Is is a Moen or a Delta?"
Me: "It's an ugly faucet from the seventies."
OSE: "Maybe you could call the company?"
Me: "I don't think it has a company."
OSE: "Would you like to look at our new faucets?"
Me: (sigh) "I suppose."

Now at this point, we had to make a decision. Either replace faucet with a cheap one, or go all out and buy one that we actually like and hope it will work with our remodel plans in the future. We opted for option 2 (Kevin didn't like the 3rd option I posed, which was to just gut the kitchen and be done with it). We reasoned that buying a new ugly faucet only to replace it in a few years seemed wasteful, and we had a pretty good idea of our future faucet needs anyway.

So, early Sunday morning (before doing the dishes, which in hindsight could have turned out very badly), we set to work removing the old faucet. Only to realize that in it's forty years of service, the particles of food and rust had joined together and welded the faucet in place. So Kevin did what anyone would do in a similar situation: he brought out the Sawz-all.
With the old faucet finally out of the way, the new faucet could be put in:

It's like looking at a beautiful swan surrounded by a psychedelic swamp.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day One: Removal

To remove or not to remove?

When we did the trim in the bedroom upstairs, some of the woodwork had been removed for the electrical project and some remained in place. We decided it would be a good opportunity to see which way worked better.

There are pros and cons to each method, but ultimately we decided to remove the trim for this project. For the following reasons:
  1. We are doing this over the winter and paint stripping creates a large mess that we didn't want to be living with.
  2. It's easier to get crisp lines where the wood meets the wall if it's removed.
  3. When the wood is left in place, the cracks and corners are really hard to get into, which means lots of work with dental tools picking out little bits of paint.
  4. The finished job looks better where we removed the woodwork than where we kept it installed.
The cons for removing the trim:
Okay, so that's a pretty unlikely occurrence, but the point is you can get plaster damage. You can also crack the trim (I had a couple mishaps of that nature today), but usually both cracked (or missing) plaster and cracked woodwork can be fixed. I would rather fix that than spend hours with dental tools, but it's really a personal choice.

If you would like to remove the woodwork to strip it, read on. If giant chunks of plaster falling off scares you, wait until the next installment.

First step: gather your tools.
Stuff you Need:
  1. Marker or pencil
  2. tape
  3. utility knife
  4. five-in-one or stiff putty knife
  5. hammer
  6. crow bar (the little ones work well too, I just couldn't find ours)
  7. stiff piece of plastic or wood (I use a plastic putty knife)
  8. drop cloth
  9. Shop-Vac
  10. Vise-Grips
  11. small step ladder
Step One:
Score the paint. Kevin uses a utility knife for this and runs it between where the wood meets the wall or other trim piece. I like to use a five-in-one tool and gently tap the end with a hammer to break the paint. If you don't do this, the paint can sometimes be bonded to the wood so badly that it will pull chunks of the wood off.

Step Two:
GENTLY, GENTLY, tap the five-in-one with the hammer at the edge of the woodwork. Move up and down the entire length of the trim gently prying it away from the wall. Once you get enough room, you can move to the crow bar. This is where the stiff plastic comes in. I use the plastic putty knife because the handle is easy to grip. Place it between the crow bar and whatever surface is behind it so the force of the prying is on the plastic. You'll do less damage this way. Focus on the nails that are nailed into other woodwork, as wood is much stronger than plaster when it comes to prying.

Step Three:
At this point, the trim should be off the wall. This is where the marker comes in. Label it. My labels look like this:

"Hallway- S. Side- E. of Kitch Door"

I try to be as detailed as possible, because I am kind of scared of putting it back together.

The tape is for taping pieces that become cracked back together. Our trim style is unusual enough that the cap is not available in the twin cities. I save even little chips that fall off by just wrapping some tape around the board with the chip in place.

Step Four:
Get the nails out. This is where the Vise-Grips comes in. The key to pulling the nails is to pull them through the entire board from the back, not pry them out from the face. This way, you don't risk break-out from the force of the nail.

Finally, interesting pictures from the day of trim removal:

Here is a shot of the round doorway. The trim is removed on one half.

The fruits of my labor. I just hadn't removed all the nails yet. There were four doorways in this hall, so a lot of the work was vertical.
If done really well, this is what the plaster should look behind the trim. I'm not going to lie, this is the only one that looks this nice.
Finally, hidden treasures. This is the original wallpaper I unearthed behind some of the trim. It looks almost stenciled. I might use the design somewhere eventually.
And finally, a partially disintegrated crayon that a child pushed down a crack in the molding. Can anyone date it?
Stay Tuned for: Stripping....

Paint Removal 101

My sister and her husband bought an old Victorian in our hometown recently and it, like our house, has painted woodwork. Except for the room that the previous owner started, realized what a pain in the neck stripping woodwork is, and just put a coat of polyurethane over her half finished job, paint chips and all. Maybe she was going for a distressed look?

Anyway, since we are once again on a paint stripping adventure, I thought I'd document our process for her and anyone else out there interested in stripping their woodwork.

Our project is the entire main floor of our house. We have stripped the paint on three main floor windows already and an entire room upstairs, so we have had the opportunity to experience multiple different methods. I plan to write a series of detailed posts using the methods we have found to work best.

Note: If anyone would like to add their suggestions or tips, please comment. I would love to hear other ideas!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Because we can't just sit still for a weekend...

We are going to sneak one little mini-project in before the great main floor bungle-revival begins: rewiring the basement.

In the first few months of us owning the Bungled House, we tackled a complete rewiring of the living room, dining room, foyer and all three bedrooms. This replaced some scary electrical work the house had acquired over the years. For more on this project, go here, here and here.

However, knowing that a full remodel of the rooms was underway, we left a few areas unfinished (no, there's no exposed live wires anywhere). For instance, there are a lot of things like this:
Note the bad plaster job around the outlet and the giant pink foam block. That is a plug, as it is an outside wall. Interior walls were simply ignored. Seriously; there are giant holes in the molding all over our house. Why, you ask, did we not just install the outlets in the giant holes? well for one, it's not code, and for two, we felt the holes in the molding were done in poor taste. Solution?
It's not perfect, but Kevin tried to match the wood grain and I think he did an excellent job. This was also a first attempt, and if we've learned anything from do-it-yourselfing, it's that the first attempt takes the longest, looks the worst and irks you every time you walk past it.

Anyway, back to the original message of this post: rewiring the basement. Two rooms, the kitchen and bathroom, were not rewired in the original project, as both these rooms will require a total renovation some day. Our solution was to run dedicated circuits to every outlet in the rooms so we knew we wouldn't run into any unknown live wires. In the process, we killed the basement electrical. There is one working light in the basement currently (and a few lamps) and one or two outlets. Our plan is to have five lights and two outlets per wall throughout the basement. All lights will be turned on by a switch at the top of the stairs.

I hate dark basements.

It was always one of those things we meant to come back to, as it would really only take a weekend if well planned, but other things just kept getting in the way. Now, however, two things are pushing this project up on the list. The first: trim stripping is going to take place in the basement, and the lighting is seriously subpar right now. The second: the rewiring also cut-off the low voltage wires for the doorbell, and I want it working for trick-or-treaters this year.

I think this might be the original doorbell (or at least the first installed in this house). It worked before the wiring project. It is made by the Edwards Company and has the original installation and maintenance instructions glued onto the back. I will post more pictures and information about the doorbell as I work to revive it this weekend.

I hate houses with broken doorbells. Tacky.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


A warning: This is an honest portrayal of the condition of the three main level living areas we are going to be restoring this year. You may see some disturbing images. You'll cringe for sure, and be thankful you don't live in such a dwelling.

So I ask, try to see it how I do (on good days). The floors are refinished. The trim is stripped. The walls are painted and the ceilings are deglitterpopcornified (I totally made up a new word there--think it will catch on?).

Our house has three things going for it that make it work for the kind of total restoration we plan to do. The first is its size. At 1100 square feet, projects are never more than we can handle (or at least don't appear that way until we've gone too far to go back). In this picture, I am standing in the northwest corner of the house, and you can see the door on the south side of the house in the upper right. It's only about 26 feet long.

The second is its condition. It's livable, but at the same time, because no real work has been done to it for so long, I never feel guilty about replacing something or redoing someone else's work.

The third is also related to its condition. Even in its 101 years, its owners have seen the value in some key old house features. It had seven original light fixtures when we bought it. The beveled glass front door, though in need of some help, is intact.
All of the original window and door hardware is still here.
Even the hardwood floors have never been refinished, though they sat hidden under linoleum and carpet for over sixty years.

Kevin and I had always intended to do a lot of the work ourselves on the house, but we always thought we'd be open to hiring things out as well. The more we do ourselves, however, the more connected we become to the house and its quirks. And the less we trust others to complete the job to our standards. At this point, it's almost a challenge to me to see what we can do ourselves. I love looking at the pieces of the house that we've restored and knowing the effort and value we take in the work has paid off in some beautiful way.
Our latest project is a catastrophic undertaking, especially for two people who have been on a one-wall kick for some time. We plan to restore the trim back to a natural wood finish in the foyer, living room, dining room and hallway.

Here are two half-hearted attempts (I said I'd be honest), really more tool experimentation than anything else. We have completed a whole room upstairs already, so this isn't a new skill for us.

While the trim is off, we are going to take down the ceilings. They are already all drywall, but the job was done rather poorly, and they are popcorn and glittery and gross. So we are going to knock them out and reinstall drywall the right way this time. Then we're going to tackle the walls. Cracks will be repaired (Kevin's specialty) and I'm going to do a test to see how hard sanding off the texture will be. Then everything is going to be painted. NOT WHITE. This house has been too white for too long. It is aching for color. I can feel it.

While I'm doing a lot of the finish work on the trim, Kevin is going to be building new corner cabinets. The originals met their demise back in the fifties by the looks of it, and their replacements are ugly and weird. It's like someone poured mustard on them.

Finally, we will refinish the floors. This might be the one thing we hire out (but I doubt it considering our history on these things).

Like I said, a huge undertaking, and I know, like everything else it will take longer than we plan. You'd think we would get better at time estimation, but the thing is, deep down, I like to grossly underestimate the time it takes us to finish a project.

Although it does drive Kevin crazy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I need to get into the habit of writing every weekend again.

Windows have been the theme of house remodel lately for Kevin and I. He has been hard at work making combination wood storms for the side of the house we repainted this summer. He installed the first two today, finally (the installation was interrupted by my parents when they came to take us to the last Twins game in the Metrodome on Sunday).
Here's a detail shot of one primed. I will take pictures of them on the house when it's not dark. Note: As promised, pictures of the storms have been added.

This isn't a storm Kevin made, but one we restored. The color on this is more accurate than the picture of Kevin's storms.
Here are Kevin's storms installed:
The first storms went in our bedroom, and with winter coming a little early this year in Minnesota, the comfort level in the bedroom is sure to improve. It's been especially hard getting out of bed knowing I'm about to walk into such a cold room. They look beautiful, but if you talk to Kevin, he will tell you they are riddled with mistakes. Either he's too modest or they'll fall off the house in a few years...stay tuned.

The dining room window is also getting a homemade combination wood storm. I know I have mentioned this before, but the window is huge. The wood part of the storm had to be bungeed to the top of our car because it wouldn't fit inside. Which really bummed me out because we have fit quite a laundry list of things inside this car before with no problems. Although the apple tree is still leaning a little....

I have been working on a bedroom window that I took out in May when I was bored between the fence project and the siding project (there was only a week between these two projects, by the way). I thought it would be a nice little activity to tide me over. Like I said, the siding project began and my window was forgotten. Until I realized it was getting close to heating season. And then the temperature dropped fifteen degrees. And then it snowed. And now the heat is on and there is a gaping hole in our house. Okay, fine, it has a storm window, but it's a cheap metal one.
So I have been working on the window. Once it is done, however, it will mark the first truly finished room in the bungled house. See, it's getting less bungled every day.

On the last day of summer, which also proved to be the first and last day of fall as well, I went crazy on the yard while I was waiting for paint to dry on the window. There was this patch of yard that had been largely neglected by the PO, and was in desperate need of attention. There were cement chunks and a subculture of daylillies that decided to secede from the mainstream society of daylillies on the other side of the yard.
So I ripped everything out. Then I went around the yard and transplanted all of the ferns that had been growing in nooks and crannies and looking very uncomfortable and made a little fern bed of sorts. The only other plant I left was the ivy growing up the fence, because last year, when we actually had fall, it turned a brilliant red. In the spring, I'm going to fill in with a groundcover. My goal is to eventually fill in this whole area with plantings to cut down on mowing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Still Alive...

Sorry it has been awhile, the school year started and, frankly our current projects (organizing and cleaning the garage, basement and back porch) just weren't that interesting to take photos of or blog about.  Though the car fits in the garage for the first time since the beginning of the fence project in April. Eureka!

This is especially nice since our garage comes right to the alley and we have no driveway, so it had to be on the street.  Unfortunately I am now too lazy to park in the garage because we don't have an automatic door opener, and it's a real hassle to get out, open the door, get back in, back the car into the garage and close the door again.  For me, this all takes a certain amount of finesse because if the door goes up too far, I can't reach it and have to jump or stand on the bumper of the car to get it back down, which is just not something you want to do after teaching 30 4th graders all day.

Kevin is making our combination storms as we speak, and those are worth blogging about, though not by me.  I'll see if I can persuade him to write in the nest couple days.  They look spectacular, from what I've seen.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

We have painted our last paint....

The house painting is done!  I love to be able to do one of these posts where months of hard work comes together into something we are really proud of.  I know it's just one side, and there are three more to go and all, but it feels really good to say look what we did!

I apologize for the angle on all of these, but there's only about 9 feet of space before I hit the neighbor's fence, so full-on pictures just aren't happening.  Although I have thought about asking if I could prop up a ladder on his porch....

The storms aren't back on yet, because Kevin is actually going to whip together some combination wood storms.  They will have panels you can put on and remove from the inside.  All of the storms on the house are either in really bad shape or aluminum, so new storms has been a priority.  He is estimating about $50 a storm in materials, so I would expect them to come out around $75-100 because it's home improvement and everything always costs more than you think it will.  Although we are beginning to factor that into our budgets.  We were originally going to reuse the panes on the aluminum ones, but who knows, we might have to buy or make some new ones.  

In that picture above, you can see part of the windows we refinished last summer.  I like the white and gray with the shellac.  

Here's a close-up of where the trim meets the clapboard.  The Duramax paint is a winner.  It coats so well and looks great. It's really thick, so when it dries, everything looks smooth.  

Kevin had to get on the roof to do the very peak, because our ladder couldn't quite make it up that high.  The roof is a pretty steep angle and he had to use the chimney and vent stack to rest his paint bucket on while getting up and down from the roof.  He is happy to report that the roof is still gray; no paint was spilled. 

And finally, a picture of our new addition: A Honey Crisp apple tree.  Incidently, Honey Crisp apple trees also fit into our car, though I don't think it was too happy.  I drove fast.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Before and After

I should have posted pictures of the garden before, but I was writing the post late, and it was dark and my pictures ended up looking creepy rather than freakishly large.  

When we first bought there was no garden here, but evidence that our PO had done a little planting (the neighbors said a couple tomatoes and annual flowers). I made a long skinny garden, roughly 2x8 there last year.  It is lined with the Purlington bricks that are from the old street out front. The bricks actually have a neat history.  They are from the street we live on, when, about forty or fifty years ago, the city replaced the bricks with pavement.  They also replaced the sidewalk at that time.  If you look in yards down our block, you will almost certainly see some of these bricks.  Our PO saved a whole pile of broken sidewalk pieces in our back yard too.  Far less cool than the bricks.

This year I went crazy with the tiller and expanded the garden to it's current size, which is about 5x20.  Here is the garden on May 1st.  
Here is the garden today. Note that you can't even see the 4ft high currant bush at the other end of the garden. 
A view from the side:

Here is my tomato cage supported by bungee cords.  These are all heirloom tomatoes I planted from the Friends School Plant Sale. I would give you specifics on this monster, but it devoured its tag and I don't remember which order I planted them in.

I do, however, know what these are.  These are Black Cherry Tomatoes, though by the size of them they should really be called Black Golf Ball Tomatoes. This is my first tomato to begin showing color.  Things seem to be ripening later this year.  This weekend is my nephew's birthday, and I remember trying to get his sister and him to eat the tomatoes last year at this time and they refused.  

This is a picture of my rogue tomatoes.  The ones that mysteriously came up from seed.  They are uncaged and haven't been touched; they are as big as the heirlooms.  They are sweet 100's.

Finally, my coneflowers.  I am really enjoying these guys.  They cheer me up every time I pass them.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Is our garden on steroids?

I want to preface this by saying the garden is surely NOT on steroids, or anything else for that matter.  I put some compost in, tilled it up this spring, water it sporadically, and generally neglect it.  The dog, since discovering rabbits frequent it despite the fence (they get in below the neighbor's fence) now considers it his personal hunting estate, hiding under the tomatoes and belly crawling toward the carrots.  This is really the extent of care (or neglect) the garden has received.  

Yet, mysterious things have been happening in the bungle-garden.  For one, ground cherries, tomatoes and snapdragons are coming up.  Which wouldn't be weird, since I planted all of these things, but is weird since I planted them LAST YEAR.  What is going on?  Was it the tilling?  These aren't little tomatoes, either.  Some of these plants are attempting to take over the garden.  They're huge.  They are growing from seed (which up in Minnesota isn't supposed to happen unless you start indoors) without cages. There has been at least ten of these garden crashers this year.  I have let a few live if they are respecting the plants I spent money on. Others have met a much sadder fate (me yanking them out with a dumbfounded look on my face).  

Okay, so ghosts from summer past is the first weird thing.  The second also involves tomatoes, these planted by me this year.  Heirloom tomatoes from the Friend's School Plant Sale.  They are giants.  They have taken my tomato cages that I inherited from the previous owner, laughed at their poor little wired frames, and tipped them over from their sheer girth.  I have had to resort to using bungee cords in my garden to keep the cages upright. Bungee cords!  Our neighbor's garden is on the other side of the fence (chain link) from ours.  They planted the same weekend we did.  Their tomatoes are just barely cresting over the tops of their cages.  

So I ask this, as a novice gardener, WTF is up with our garden?  Anyone?  Again, this garden is completely organic.  No fertilizers, pesticides, nuclear reactions, or performance enhancing drugs.  Just good old sun, water when I feel like it and occasional weeding.  And rabbit eating and dog trampling thrown in for good measure.  

Soon we will be buried in tomatoes.  We will have to eat our way out of the back door. 

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Best Craigslist Deal EVER!

Okay, so Kevin is in the market for a table saw.  (Or was, anyway, he is currently setting up his new find in the basement).

Kevin calls about an ad and is given directions to a tattoo parlor in our old neighborhood.  We walk in and there are two heavily tattooed guys sitting around talking. The owner of the shop takes us to the back, then down a set of stairs into the basement where he has a really nice little workshop.  Kevin looks at the saw and decides he wants it, but here we have two problems: one- we didn't have enough time to go get cash before we left and two- we drive a compact car, and though we have fit a lot of things in it (a wicker couch, a Poang chair with ottoman, lots of lumber, a six foot high tree, and ten currant bushes to name a few) we didn't think it could handle that saw.  "No problem, says Tattoo Shop Owner, "You can borrow my truck." Yes, you read that right. Borrow his truck.  So while T.S.O. and Kevin are taking the motor off the saw, I run to the ATM to get money.

I get back just as they are loading it into the truck and Kevin is getting directions on how to operate the truck (it was old and had developed a few quirks). As we are pulling out, he shouts (with a smile), "Just don't crash it or anything, I don't have insurance on it."  

To make a long story less long, we got it home, drove the truck back and all is well. With all the bad press Craigslist is getting these days, a lot of times you can really feel the mistrust between people during transactions.  This guy let us use his truck!  Two people he didn't even know.  Thanks, T.S.O.


As we were painting the house today, we got into a discussion over which part of the project was our favorite.  Kevin said that scraping was his at first. I think he changed his mind after I pointed out that with all of the respirators and power tools during the paint scraping process, it wouldn't have been possible for us to be carrying on a conversation like we were.  

I had no hesitation.  I love painting.  It's just so satisfying to see the paint up on the house, transforming it into the vision we had all along.   Here is how we left the house last weekend: 

Here is how we left it this weekend:

It is so close to being done.  That is with one coat of paint.  Kevin finished more than half of the shingles tonight.  The new ones show up, but I think with a second coat it shouldn't be too noticeable.  Here is a close-up of the shingles:

I don't know if you can really see it or not.  I'll have to take a better picture.  We would have been done this weekend for sure except on Friday we took advantage of my dad's truck and went on two dump runs.  One for the asbestos siding we took off the side of the house and one for random stuff like The Dryer That Almost Killed Kevin and the fake wood paneling from the kitchen wall (What is with us and only doing one wall?). Factoring in the hour there and back for the truck, the dump runs took 12 hours.  Turns out they like to keep the landfill wayyy out in the middle of nowhere.  The dump runs are really part of our new project... cleaning!  We have a back porch on our house that has served as the dumping grounds for junk that we don't want to deal with.  It also houses our bikes and power tools because things of value don't seem to do well in the garage.  They walk off.  So that needs some major organizing.  I had this thing that unlike other urban folk who seems to have garages too full to fit their cars, my car would always be able to fit in the garage.  That was before the fence project and the siding project.  So that needs to be rectified, because, after six years without a garage, I refuse to scrape my windows in the winter.  We also have an office that is pretty full of crap.  We would totally be kicked out of a condo if we ever lived in one.  

Finally, Arlo's latest garden antics.  I snuck up on him eating the snap peas, vine and all. This might have been my fault, because I've been sharing sweet peas from the farmer's market with him.  

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Is it just me...

...or are rabbits getting bigger these days?  

This is what greeted us after a few panicked minutes of not being able to find Arlo anywhere in the yard yesterday. Finally he poked his head out from behind the broccoli leaves. I think he was a little perturbed that we took pictures and laughed at him before helping him out.

Anyway, on to the house.  We are officially done scraping paint!  And it only took about two months!  We are now onto repairs and cleaning.  The repairs actually are going pretty fast. Here's a nifty one to hide the fact that the facia slipped down slightly (look up at the peak of the roof): 
I also filled all of the nail holes, which added up to quite a few with both the old siding and the tar paper behind it nailed in.  Sorry there are no riveting pictures of filled nail holes. We filled nail holes and repaired damage (of which there was surprisingly little) with this: 

It's pretty smelly stuff (I actually donned the respirator even though it was supposed to be my first day without it), but it worked really well. It's actually an epoxy more than a wood filler.  If you're going to use it, do it when it's shady--it cured too quickly if the sun hit it.  

We're also repairing a piece of the skirting.  It had bowed out, and the siding had come in slightly to make a weird gap.  We used shim to bring a couple of clapboard pieces out slightly, and then took out shims that were behind the skirting (who knows why they were there in the first place).  Here is the spot where the board is removed.  

And here is all of the nasties living behind the board...eeew! That's dust, among other things.

We also had to remove one damaged clapboard as part of the fix on this corner.  I believe these actually aren't clapboard at all, but beveled siding. Anyone know anything more about this? Or where we can get a replacement?  We are planning to take the broken one down to Siwek's Lumber and have a new one milled, though I think this is going to be expensive. Here's the profile.
Another, and perhaps the most involved project (especially since Kevin's parents have our miter saw for the weekend) was replacing the broken shakes.  Here you can see the dog eared edge pieces.  
This is about how we left the house after the weekend, although as a final project, Kevin cleaned it, so it looks much fresher. This picture was taken yesterday.
We would like to have at least a coat of primer on by the end of next weekend.  How exciting!