January 8, 2005

"What happened to your house?"

There isn't a lot of traffic on 366 today, but I suspect a few people may notice the strange appearance of my house over the next few months.

House, minus much paint
1259 Dryden Road, missing most of its paint.

You can see the house on a more typical day if you want some contrast.

We've been doing the first major work on the house since the insulation and furnace replacement, with painting on both the outside and the inside. The house was a rental for a long time, and not much had been done to it since probably 1950. The outside had coat after coat of paint, and it was peeling pretty badly. The inside is similar, with many layers of wallpaper under white paint.

I'd touched up the outside paint a few times, without helping much, and some of the boards and and paint (in a slightly different color, unfortunately) had been replaced when we did the insulation. Repainting the house, if we wanted to make it last, was going to mean stripping the paint off, a much bigger task than I could manage.

After a lot of thinking about this and talking with friends, we contracted Perfect Painters to strip and paint the house. I was a little surprised to hear that they prefer to strip the house in winter and paint in summer, but when I saw the painters working under a tarp, wearing Tyvek suits and ventilators, it made a lot more sense than working in summer.

This week, the painters did the machine stripping. The process isn't complete - there's a lot of trim detail to work on, and the corners can't be stripped with a spinning disc, but it's a huge step forward. It'll stay looking like this for a few months.

On the inside, we 're having the livingroom painted. We'd refinished the floor (actually a subfloor) before we moved in. Chasing mice (now gone), I'd torn down some highly flammable acoustic tiles which someone had decorated with spackle patterns, then the furring strips for those, then part of the ceiling sheetrock. When we'd insulated, Performance Systems Contracting had finished tearing down the ceiling and put up new sheetrock, as well as patching a hole in the wall that led to a chimney for a wood stove. I'd tried to strip the walls myself, but had little luck - whoever built the place had put up wallpaper without painting first, and I couldn't tell the difference between the wallpaper and the paper that's part of the sheetrock. We put in a new floor last year - the subfloor was thin, bouncy, and generally a nuisance.

That was all an improvement, but the walls still looked awful, and the ceiling wasn't painted. The trim needs work as well. We asked Perfect Painters to take a look at that as well, and this week we started the long process of stripping, priming, and smoothing the walls.

Priming the livingroom walls
Ken and Scott prime the livingroom walls.

Today I'm sitting in a livingroom with walls that look smooth, trim that's been caulked for a better fit with the walls, a ceiling that's no longer bare sheetrock, and corners and edges that look clean. The transformation continues next week, with final paint and moldings, but it's already a huge improvement. Even though there's a lot to do on the rest of the house, it will be nice to have the center room of the house feel complete.

I'll be posting more pictures of the further transformation of the house as it happens, but for now, I've put up two galleries. One covers the changes to the exterior of the house, while the other shows the work on the interior.

Posted by simon at January 8, 2005 12:32 PM in
Note on photos


Caroline said:

I think it looks good with the wood showing. Have you considered just sealing it? Or staining and sealing it?