The prettiest battleship

Months ago, I mentioned we were looking at some cheery colors to paint the house. Well, after putting several rounds of paint samples on the house and waiting on the painter, the weather, and the painter some more, the house is finally painted. It took tons of work, scraping and washing and scraping again, repairing boards and filling cracks, but it needed it, and the painters did a really nice job. And really, I’m just happy someone else had to paint it, as I paint everything else on this property.

Our neighborhood is full of colorfully-painted houses – there’s obviously no historical society around these parts to make sure everything is some colonial beige or plantation taupe. And while it seemed a little risky to paint this giant house a super-dark color, it was what Lou and I both envisioned for most of the time. Every time we tried a lighter shade of grey (and let’s be honest, grey was the only color we tried, minus one navy shade which still had grey undertones) we just wanted to go a little darker.

We ended up with Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze as the body color, which is also what’s in our bedroom…I guess we like it. It’s a dark grey with brownish-bronze undertones, and it looks good in both shadows and sunlight. The trim (porch railings, under the eaves, and beads at the top of the house) is a dark graphite color and the columns, the beams under the eaves, and the horizontal boards that go around the top of the house are white. And the red-orange door – Benjamin Moore’s Vermillion – adds a bold, fresh pop of color.

As we were deciding on what trim to paint what color, it eventually became too confusing to really envision fully – at least for me. And so I handed it over to Lou, who seemed to envision exactly how the house should look. Well, almost handed all of it over. If Lou had his way, he would have painted every inch of the house Urbane Bronze, making it one giant, monotone battleship. So we compromised. We painted the ugly metal window trim the body color to make it recede (Lou’s victory) and the columns and a few other details white (my victory). The windows themselves are still white and create some lightness, and the dark railings balance it all out.

prettiest_battleshipAnd while the painter’s initial comment when he saw the dark grey we chose was – in an Irish accent – “Oh, it’s go-ing to bay a gi-unt battleship!” he ended up really liking it. Or maybe that was just the final check we handed him talking.

Anyhow, I think it’s the prettiest of battleships.

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It’s just a fence

What’s worse than painting? How about, painting a fence? For two long hot, humid weekends? By yourself, because you are just no Tom Sawyer.

In the months after we first moved in, a couple good storms came and knocked down a section of our fence. At least, that’s how I remember it. And we spent a freezing cold night propping the fence back up, and there it’s sat, propped up by a couple 2x4s ever since.

Until a few weekends ago, when we finally replaced the fence around the majority of our yard. It was a fairly big debate about something that seems easy. We could go cheap and ugly. We could go cheap and low quality but not quite as ugly. We could go mid-range and be kind of satisfied but not really. We could go high end, and pay for it, and really have a lovely fence we liked looking at from far up high on our second floor. All of these options, of course, are assuming we do the fencing ourselves, me and Lou, because that’s how we do. The option of “pay someone else to do the fence” is not even really up for discussion, because, third floor bathroom/third floor floors/gutters/roof(?).

sampling

Sampling…

We went around and around on board type and stain color and board type and stain color and finally settled on the prettier, pricier boards. What, were you expecting anything less?

We did pay someone to remove the old fence and set the new posts but that’s where the help stopped.

STACKED BOARDS

About 100 boards were delivered, between 12′ and 18′ in length, and piled in our yard. We started on Labor Day weekend, and labored until the end of Monday in unusually warm, humid conditions. We did the same laboring the following weekend, in even hotter conditions.

Lou was in charge of measuring, cutting, and routing the ends for a nice edge. Then the boards came to me, and I was in charge of rolling stain on all sides of the board, then immediately wiping it in/off before it dried. Which basically had to happen in a matter of 120 seconds in the heat. What started as a desire for drip-free perfection soon morphed into the mantra, “It’s just a fence.” Well, one of us was saying that…

It was rough. Maybe it was the monotony. Maybe it was the heat Maybe it was other peoples labor day weekend photos. Maybe it was being in our once-green-lush-backyard now a dirt patch thanks to a summer of painters and fence boards living on it.

It was all of it. And more. Now it’s all but done. Just need a gate to keep the critters in. And here’s a photo dump so I can feel like I complained to someone and get all these photos off my phone. Thanks for listening.

SWEATY LOU

Sweating.

STAINED LEGS

Stain.

STAINED ENDS

Stain where it’s supposed to go. Kind of.

MORE ENDS LOU IN CHAIR

Time out.

LEVELER

The most level, precise, well-built fence in Boston.

JUST BEGINNING

So far to go.

GLOVES N BEER

FIRST SECTION LOU FENCE UNDER TREES

Looking good. 

BOARDS C-U BOARDS

Boards for days.

BEERS ON BOARDS

Coozies from a pre-homeownership life. What’s that like?

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Putting the Pain in Painting

Years ago, I used to actually do those weight machines at the gym – the ones where you push and pull and lift to work various arm and shoulder muscles, while always thinking the seat just might collapse out from under you at any moment. Then, as time went by, I just started doing a few push-ups and planks here and there, along with a few 10-pound dumbbells. Not even 15 reps, 3 times, but like, 10 measly lifts with each arm and we’re out.
But the last couple years I’ve done minimal arm work. Like, they swing when I run. They lift my laptop. Maybe a beer. And yet, every now and then, someone comments on my toned arms. Which, I find funny (and let’s be honest, relieving). The reason they are not flapping in the breeze when I wave? One word:
Painting.
paint can beer can

Paaaaaaiiiinting. I have to whine when I say it. Thinking about it, I hate it. And yet, it’s  the one home improvement task I can do on my own, start to finish, no Lou help involved. So even though I want to hate it, I have to own it. And therefore, I have to love it. Or at least, like it.

It’s taken a couple years, but I can say I’ve actually gotten better at painting. I know, it’s not like math or brain surgery, but you have to at least give a shit about your technique. And I finally started giving a shit. More care. Fewer drips – on the floor and on the walls themselves. A steadier hand on the trim (and there is a LOT of trim).

Most recently, I’ve been up on the 3rd floor. And I have to say, it’s the best floor, especially now that it’s almost all painted.

What started as a dusty pink hallway and rooms with dirty-white walls and beige-green trim…

gross paint 1
gross paint 2

…is now bright white (duh) and light and airy and waiting for someone to donate a Scandinavian’s apartment’s worth of furnishings.

post-painting2

And here’s one with the refinished floors! That’s another post.

pretty room

So if you’ve been wondering (and I’m sure you have been) what’s happening over at the old Deep Eaves, that’s it. I’m on the third floor, priming and painting away. Actually, first, patching away the holes the amazing, first-rate, top-notch ass hats left in our walls after insulating.

Can nobody do anything right these days???

*Some of the third floor – the part that looks really nice – was done by Dad, who volunteered to help paint while out here on vacation. Painting should not be a vacation.

**None of the third floor was done by Reggie.

painting helper
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Rebuilding the calluses

Getting back to work after a few months off is hard. Really hard. Really, really hard. Not that we didn’t know that, but after so many Saturdays and Sundays not working, we’re moving slowly. But we’re moving! So there’s that.

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We tore down the bulkheads that cover the entrances to the basement. They’re “trash” as Lou says.

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And trash is where they went. Oh look! Our friend is back!

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All this ruckus caused a little concern and confusion.

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Meanwhile, at the front of the house, those of us who could not tear apart bulkheads did what we do best: painted.

 

 

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Spring colors

Spring has not sprung in New England. But that doesn’t matter. We’re still excited to try out some lovely colors on the exterior of this old, brown, peeling lady. 

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Welcome back, backyard

Yesterday, the pile of snow that Lou made about a month back finally melted, the last little three-inch mound fading away, at least for now. This is not to say that it won’t be back – Wednesday’s forecast calls for snow showers. But it’s been in the high 20s/mid 30s/OMG yesterday it was 58 and so, with a long list of to-dos, the chosen form of procrastination becomes the backyard. 

The backyard does not have a lawn. It has patchy grass that makes up maybe 30% of it. Then, weeds (which, in bloom, look like beautiful wild flowers if you squint real hard) make up another 60%. Then there are just dirt patches that fill out the rest. 

We’ve been throwing around the idea of just dumping a bunch of lawn seed on it and seeing what happens. I mean, it can’t be worse than it is now, right? At worst, the birds get the best few weeks of their lives and we get a few new sprouts of grass. And so today, we tried to go for the at best, and I spent the morning churning up dirt (only to realize there are rentable machines that do this but hey my arms/back/butt needed a workout) and pulling weeds in preparation for “dumping a bunch of lawn seed” out there later this week. The internet said fall is the best time to plant lawn seed but hey, the internet can be wrong and based on our weather, I think it’s like, late fall. But it doesn’t really matter – the dirt is a perfectly soft consistency right now, and that’s my reasoning for doing yard work when the rest of Boston knows it’s not yet spring. 

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Having a moment after I raked a lot of dirt, grass, weeds, and debris. So glamorous. Taken by Lou from our kitchen above.

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Been Painting the Third Floor

Been Painting the Third Floor

My helper. Doing a lot of helping.

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