Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Planning for Exterior Painting and a New Garage Door?

Slowly, the weather is changing, we've seen the sun more than a few days. Not for a whole day mind you, mornings are usually rainy and cool but, by the end of the day it may warm to the 50s and we might see the sun. The little bit of sun and warmer weather has Scott and I looking to the exterior of 3301 for our next projects.

The obvious project is painting the wood siding on the eaves, the trim and soffits. 3301 is brick clad so compared to whole house exterior painting projects Scott has tackled in the past, 3301 looks fairly manageable. The largest area of the exterior to be painted is actually the covered patio, all 16x21 feet of it, including the walls, ceiling and eaves. I think it will pay off big this summer as we spend more time outdoors. 

I have lived most of my adult life in condos, meaning I have never had to paint the exterior of a home, nor have I had to pick colors for a house. We want to stay period appropriate for the exterior color, while giving 3301 an updated look.  Fortunately, the internet is gold when looking for exterior color samples from the 1960s.

DuPont exterior paint colors circa 1960s

Asbestos shingles? Wow. Anyway, I think I'm leaning towards colors similar to Birch Gray for the eaves and soffits and Oxford Gray for the trim. The brick is weathered, or maybe "repurposed", red brick, so most of the other colors don't make much sense.  If we do go with the grays the overall effect might look something like this:  

Exterior paint concept - grays                

The double front doors are currently painted black. I'm going to see if I can strip the doors back to their natural wood grain and stain them a warm color, maybe soft natural cherry with a matte varnish like the woodwork and door finish in the house. If that doesn't work out I'll have to make the dread decision of color for the front doors. Fingers crossed.

While considering the exterior paint work, Scott and I started talking about the garage door. Do we want to paint the garage door now as part of the painting project and then replace it in a few years? The door works, it's a door and it goes up and down with the push of a button. But, it's been around for quite a while. There was an alarm system permit in one of the windows (with Pearl's name on it) that expired in 1993. There are gaps between the door and the concrete at the corners and when the door is lifted there is an obvious sag in the middle. And the door has windows in the second panel at eye level or below if you're tall like Scott, an open invitation and not at all necessary since the garage has a huge south facing window (with new cellular blinds on it) on the front of the house.

So it looks like a new garage door, albeit unplanned, makes sense. But what should it look like? Obviously a carriage door is out of context. A paneled door, while a popular choice for most homes, feels too traditional. And a modern aluminum and frosted glass door just isn't appropriate for 3301. Which knocks out the available standard door options. Enter the internet, again, for 1960s and mid century garage door ideas! I found several embellished doors we thought were really good looking and appropriate to both the period and the house:

Mid century garage door options        
Mid century garage door options  
Mid century garage door options        
Mid century garage door options

And the winner so far...  

Mid century garage door, current favorite

Of course, there are no companies that offer embellished garage doors like these. In fact, the internet informs me that garage door companies in the 50s and 60s had full color catalogs with pictures of embellishments and would sell patterns and instructions for DIY projects for the man of the house to easily complete in a weekend. So, the garage project, should we pull the trigger on it, consists of a new four panel flush garage door, some creativity, probably some light swearing, and elbow grease.

We haven't set a date yet on when the painting project will begin. There's lots of prep work to be completed, color choices to finalize and a decision on the garage door project. Not to mention landscape work that Scott keeps chipping away at. Oh, and a chimney project to start...just need one more quote!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Small Details, Tall Trees and the Weather Briefly Turns

Scott found any number of interesting things in the garage attic when we moved in, including two panels of amber bottle glass we later discovered were originally installed at the kitchen peninsula behind the range. Scott tried to install them recently, but it appears we don't have all the original hardware. We'll have to tackle that project later. Instead, the pegboard doors Scott found in the attic found their home in the laundry room, making the room look much more pulled together, if a little dated. The laundry room still needs quite a bit of work to be completely functional, but for now, it works.  

Laundry - pegboard doors
Pegboard doors in the laundry room

There was a flurry of activity last week getting the house ready for Scott's birthday party. Cleaning, minor projects like adjusting closet doors, drywall work, and hanging my new vintage pink tulip swag lamp in the little corner bedroom were on the agenda.

Vintage pink glass swag lamp in the little corner bedroom

Closer look at my vintage pink swag lamp

Mastering the art of drywall patching

Friday morning Multnomah Tree Experts were on hand to trim up the trees in the front yard. The ice and snow storms this winter took their toll on on some of the larger branches and there were quite a few dead branches and some that were hanging much to low. Scott watched, fascinated, as one of the crew used ropes and pulleys to hike himself up to the very top of the tree closest to the house, dropping limbs and branches as he went. They were here for about three hours all told and the results are amazing.

Exterior circa August 2016

The weather turned sunny and somewhat warm on Sunday so we spent several hours removing shrubs from the base of the tree closest to the street. The idea is to remove the shrubs along the driveway and put down mulch providing a clean, neat look and better sight lines to the house. 

Trees trimmed up and first shrubs cleared

The results, even after a few hours of labor and four filled yard waste bags, are striking. With the trees trimmed up we can start to see the plan. Still much to do, but it's a start. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Three Months In and Loving it, But Lots of Work to Go!

Scott recently related to me that his biggest worry about buying the retro ranch was that we'd move in and be roughing it for quite a while before the house was livable. He was worried he might resent the move. He went on to say that even though there is much work we want to do, he is pleased with our progress, the overall livability of the home and is very happy at 3301. We've been here for three months now, so it seems a good time to review our progress and reset our expectations for the next three months.

We have checked off many items on our original list of projects including a new furnace, cleaning the ductwork, new electrical service box, replaced all the outlets and switches, painted all the bedrooms and tore out all the carpets revealing gorgeous red oak hardwoods. We had the crawlspace cleaned, a new vapor barrier installed and Ben the rat has been evicted. We've applied elbow grease to the kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities, the wood doors and trim, and the exterior removing plant material that was encroaching in the eaves and soffits.

Outside Scott has begun the task of controlling the plant life in the yard, trimming back overgrowth and removing clay pots from the yard. We've received a quote for trimming up some of the trees, which will happen in the coming weeks. Inside we've added closet solutions to all three bedrooms gaining tons of storage and almost making up for the storage we miss from the condo:  

Master bedroom closet
Corner bedroom closet
Office bedroom closet (media and guitar storage)

We hung guitars and pictures in Scott's office, completing what we are calling the bedroom "wing" of our home...another thing checked off the list! The color on the office walls morphs as the days grow longer and the lighting changes, moving from a golden color in daylight to almost green in evening light:

Scott's bedroom office
Scott's bedroom office (the fun part)

Still to come in the bedroom wing are new window treatments for the office and master bedroom. And I ebayed the cutest vintage pink glass tulip swag light for the corner bedroom that we'll be hanging this week.

We have big plans for the next three months. In addition to the exterior work that will begin as the weather dries out - exterior paint prep, more landscape control, and downspout drainage issues - possible projects include:

Replace all the old galvanized water lines with new pex waterlines:

Repair or replace the chimney, desperate for attention:

Replace the old water heater, moving it to the garage leaving more room in the laundry room for future improvements:

We received a recommendation for a general contractor from a trusted friend for our planned renovation of the bathrooms. Today the general contractor brought their sub-contractors through in order to get quotes for the extensive work required. We'll receive the overall quote in a few weeks and then start planning for the following three months. But, for now I think we have our work cut out for us.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Pearl's Pearls

A few posts ago I mentioned that I had found a jewelry box in the far back of a kitchen base cabinet.  Nice teaser, right? I wanted to make certain that my find didn't belong to the folks from whom we purchased 3301. Not just because it was jewelry, but more that I wanted my find to become a part of the lore of 3301.

What's inside?

Backing up a bit...shortly after we moved in we discovered that the first owner of 3301 was Pearl Friedman. I imagine Pearl to be the mother of the developer of the neighborhood. She was probably in her sixties and widowed when she moved into her new home in 1964 and she entertained her sons, their wives and her grandchildren here. Note, I have no proof that any of this is true - it's my internal narrative, my backstory for 3301.

The previous owners, who purchased the house in 1993, confirmed they had never seen the jewelry box or its contents. So I am excited to reveal...Pearl's pearls!

Pearl's pearls!
Knotted and matched, lovely!

In addition to the necklace you can see two small pins with four pearls each. The pins look to be silver. Not sure what theses are for or how to wear them. But, what a find!

UPDATE: Just a few thoughts about Pearl and her pearls that I didn't include in the original post...Where did Pearl get the pearls? Were they hers or a gift she purchased for one of her grandchildren? Why did she feel the need to hide them? I mean, they were hidden well in the kitchen cabinet. The only reason I found them was that when I lifted the large shelf off its pins to the inner top of the cabinet I knocked the box down down. It was wedged somehow at the top of the cabinet. Where did she go after moving, perhaps she moved in with one of her children? After she moved did she remember the pearls, did she miss them? I'll never know the answers to these questions, Pearl passed away in November of 2000 (yes, I did an internet search). I hope her life after 3301 was happy.