Time to Remove the Siding

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2130
Vashon Farmhouse
White snow, peachy siding

Curing a Bad Case of Shingles…House Shingles

In 2004, my very patient realtor led me up a gravel lane to a hilltop setting of monumental trees encircling a sleeping beauty of a homestead. Painted in the color of my favorite stone fruit, the farmhouse radiated grace under, around and through her wavy-glass windows. She was imperfectly perfect. For I wasn’t seeking perfection, just joy, the kind of joy revealed in the everyday moments of simply being in a place called home. Lived-in, well-loved, the house glowed as luminously as the unconventional hue of her siding. Her patina as a gathering place was unmistakeable. Sure, the “Peach Palace” (as she’s locally known) had issues; not a problem, so did I. So what if the seller’s disclosure form could shim a short-legged table, I was game, but more importantly, I was smitten beyond my own expectations.

When I told a friend of all my plans to restore the house, he responded with a raised eyebrow, a chuckle, and a query, “Tom just how long do you plan on living?” (I paid him no mind.) Since then, I’ve chipped away at a multitude of major and minor projects; checked off a thousand items on a hundred to-do lists; envisioned a myriad of outcomes; and shrugged at deadlines. And through it all, I told myself to be patient, do the job right, and don’t spend money you don’t have.

Today I wish to share my complete and utter joy with you for something I’ve waited 17 years to do: to remove the 1950’s asbestos shingles that clad the house and masked the charm of the original features. Every time I drove up my lane, sat on the porch, returned from the orchard, or closed up the chickens for the evening, I would lovingly gaze at my “Peach Palace” and promise her to one day to rid her of that unfortunate livery, and to restore her original siding, for beneath the asbestos-infused squares was century-old fir siding.

danner farmhouse vashon island
Early photos (provided by my friend Gary) show a handsome house clad in fir ship lap with a v-groove.

Friends, I have kept my promise to this serene place, and the results truly brought tears to my eyes. Grace restore, Tom elated. (Remember, I’d waited almost two decades to do this, fearful I could never have afforded remediation. Finally, I could.) Let me share the journey with some before-and-after photographs so you can see what I mean. The house is smiling. I’m smiling, and I suspect you’ll be smiling, too.

2004: Photographs of the “Peach Palace”

The original porch rails had the tensile strength of stacked sugar cubes, so they were removed, and will return anew, once I rebuild them, but for now no tipsy guests allowed on the porch. 😉

2021: Siding Removal Day

2021: The After Photos

Before-and-After Comparison Photos

(Slide mid-photo arrow to compare.)
North side house
Years apart: Fourth of July meets first of May.

So what now? Ah, prepping and painting, my friends! Hopefully this will take place in August, and as for colors, I’m pondering. Of course, feel free to share your thoughts on what happy hues to grace her.

Read More stories about the house:

https://tallcloverfarm.com/category/home-sweet-home

63 COMMENTS

  1. I am in awe, Tom. Awe of your perseverance, patience, hard work, and very importantly your most excellent taste (and believe me, after a career in carpentry, during which I helped restore numerous old homes in the Puget Sound area, I do mean AWE!). I do recognize that you may be slightly nuts, too, but hey, a guy’s got to follow his heart.
    How wonderful to invest yourself in this home, and property. You are a fine caretaker, and future residents will regard you highly as a result, though I know that is secondary (if a factor at all) to your desire to create, to restore, to participate.
    Delightful.

    • Thank you Michael, your kind words and encouragement will go a long way on those days when I ask myself, “Why am I doing this?” I got a good laugh out of your “nuts” comment; it would explain a lot. 😉 I’m dusting off my carpentry skills to repair some of the siding and trim work, though hiring that work out for second-story repairs. I know I’ve thanked (in my head) earlier unknown residents for some of their choices and decisions that have kept the structure sound, original and quietly beautiful. As you mentioned, may someone else do the same for me in the decades to come. Thanks for that lovely thought. Take care Michael, cheers, Tom

  2. Ah!! — The saw marks!!
    How absolutely wonderful that you have done this. She is so beautiful. Gives me reason to always consider … what lies beneath; what is hidden.
    I’m so very, very happy for you. Standing applause for your patience, focus, vision, perseverance.
    The color? Oh — well. Peach, yes?

    • Thank you Cheryl. Isn’t it lovely to discover another layer to the beauty of everyday. In fact, I also learned that there’s rough-hewn siding underneath the shiplap. The oldest part of the house was originally clad in board and batten in its pioneer days. When more mills were operating on the island, the homeowners choose to cover the board and batten with a more acceptable refined siding, one that likely seemed more civilized in the new state of Washington.

  3. Tom kudos to you for saving this lovely old home. She is a grand old lady worth saving.
    Too many of the old houses are gone. I love old houses for their charm and character that is missing in new homes. I remember my BIL when he moved in to a new house they had built. He said “I hate it.” A lot of little boxes inside of a big box.
    I vote for a pale yellow with creamy white trim. Although if you want to stay with peach that would be lovely too. Good luck.

    • Hi Janet, yes indeed, I’m a “connoisseur” of old things, from houses to furniture to dishes and clothes. New houses are a tough sell for me. I’m all about quirky. (Guess it takes one to know one.) Thank for the kind words and support. I’ll keep you posted!

  4. way to go tom! i love projects like this. i think it would be wonderful done in yellow (not bright but soft) and trimmed in white and a light green. very farmy looking. i can’t wait to see what you do!

    • Hi Joyce, thank you! I like your paint color suggestion. There’s something so welcoming about that color scheme. The yellow body/white trim would also look really wonderful with sky blue trim windows.

  5. Ah, your project brings back memories. I removed the not-so-lovely mustard colored asbestos siding from my Craftsman in Ballard back in the ’90s. A lot of work but so worth it. Good luck with your project!

    Candace

    • I was just in Ballard showing my brother and sister-in-law Seattle and environs. I felt so nostalgic revisiting my haunts. Ballard was the first Seattle neighborhood I lived in, sharing a lopsided funky Victorian with friends. Cheers!

  6. I vote to keep her “the Peach Palace”. Wonderful job Tom! You are the original renaissance man-baker of pies and other delights, there is no job you cannot tackle. Thank goodness you have Buddy to help you. Your posts (and fantastic pictures) are amazing. I envy your life on your quiet island.

    • Hi Laura, thank you for those kind words. And Buddy sends his love, appreciative of knowing you know who really does the work around here. This last year of COVID isolation put me in a bit of a funk, but now that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, I’m eager to resume life as it was or at least with the familiarity and comfort of family and friends.

  7. What a massive job. I don’t know what the regulations are in the US for removing anything with asbestos in them but here in Australia the cost is astronomical. Amazing the weatherboards are still in such good condition. Your lovely ex-peach lady has such wonderful lines, a classy broad you could say.

    • Hi Penny, yes you are right, county regulations are definitely in place when it comes to removing hazardous materials from your house. I checked with a number of companies and a couple surprised me with almost reasonable bids. 😉 The job of removal cost as much as the painting will, but it’s a one-time thing, too. I’m with you, her lines are so simple and elegant. I’ll really enjoy seeing her repainted anew. Cheers!

  8. Oh, Tom… she is such a beauty, even more now she got stripped of those asbestos shingles!
    You should stay with peach shades..;)

    This summer I’ m starting to renovate our “forest house”, an old stone and bricks building , once painted in royal “Schönbrunn” yellow… but the facade has to wait… inner values are more important – like central heating and excavating and rebuilding the floors etc ..
    Best wishes and good luck,
    Mica

    • Thank you Mica, and I hear you about interior renovations. That’s what I’ve been working on too, systems and structural requirements. I have some windows to replace too, but so far am disappointed with residential offerings; they seem to be made of a whole lot of plastic and vinyl. I’ll likely rebuild the old windows, if my skill set is up to it. Thanks for teaching me about “Schönbrunn” yellow, wow, there’s a sunny color. Nice. Take care, and good luck with the renovation!

  9. The Pie Palace is my vote with a tip of the pit to peach, of course.
    This is remarkable my dear friend. As are you. 💞

    • Miffy, I like you idea. Just think the body of the house painted the lightest crusty color tan, and the frames and windows charged in tones of blackberry, peach and Rhubarb. That would sure get the neighbors talking. Thanks for the love Miff!

  10. Yeah, I would agree with some shade of peach. It’s pretty and will maintain the name your house has had for 17 years!

  11. I love your writing. Perhaps a book is in your future. I can bring my paint brush in June…😝. I love pale yellow as stated above but somewhere some peach. Or all peach…

    • Thank you Peggy, I appreciate that. Now as for bringing your paint brush, nah, not necessary, you’re on vacation. I look forward to our visit!

  12. Crazy, just yesterday while working around our small farm, I was thinking that I hadn’t heard a thing from Tom and Buddy for a very long time, and was wondering why. Well, now I know!!! What amazing work and results! Gosh, talk about a way to stay in shape! And create beauty! I’m not sure what color to paint it. The suggestions above all sound lovely. Can’t wait to see what you decide! 🙂

    • Thanks Diane, I have a couple of months to decide, so I’ll be a regular visitor to our local Ace Hardware for paint samples. Bonnie, the paint goddess there, will be seeing a lot of me and having to answer the question she hears one hundred times a day, “What do you think about this color, Bonnie.” Thanks for thinking of us, and checking in!

  13. She looks lovely in her vintage negligee! I am sure whichever color(s) you choose will be perfect and restful. There are so many delicious colors, I am somewhat envious of the project of choosing!

    Love and skritches to Buddy.

  14. Tom, how about choosing colors from some of your beautiful roses: creamy and sunny yellows, sunset pinks and peachy tones, leafy greens? Or from the magnificent fruits you grow? Probably less saturated, of course…or, not!

    If you are considering a name change, too, I think Grace Manor reflects you, her charm and Buddy’s usual demeanor perfectly.

    Regardless of your decisions, I look forward to reading all about your progress over the coming months.

    Martha

    • Martha, I like your suggestions, and the idea of name change is timely as a friend and I were talking recently and she said, the house needs a new name as this is a new point in her history and especially if her colors change. Her suggestion: “Grace.” (Isn’t it that something?) I do like the sound of it. I also like “Summersweet” where the colors may reflect the fruits of summer harvest. I’ll keep you posted. Thank you!

  15. When deciding on a yellow-cream for my 1954 house, I looked around Vashon and West Seattle to see what I liked. Also checked pictures on HOUZZ. Then I bought many sample size colors (watch for a sample size sale) and tested on several sides of house. I can’t find the exact name, but it’s something like Windham Cream (with Simply White trim) and apple green doors. Good luck: choosing a color took months and lots of trips to Ace and IL.

    • Ann, I am sure I will follow your path and test out a lot of paint chips. I love your final color scheme, seems so well suited for a country home or farmhouse. Thanks for the tip on sample size sales, as it sure adds up. Take care, and thanks again!

    • Hi Dee, yes, the current state of very old white paint fading to a subtle gray is quite attractive. Several friends have said, can’t you keep it like it is, do you have to paint it, the gray is so nice. Time and whim will tell, but I’m excited to explore the possibilities.

  16. Well Done, Tom! Have you redone the foundation? Our 1891 (Anderson Island) Farmhouse was build on top of fir and cedar blocks . . . got to where the perimeter sunk and the floors were . . . . well, not level. 20 years ago we had the whole house jacked way up in the air and a concrete foundation poured. Set ‘er back down and nobody is the wiser. But it does feel weird walking around on those level floors, you know! Wish I knew how to attach a picture. She’s a beauty . . . not as elegant as yours, but firmly rooted in the Småland school of architecture.

    • Hi Rick, I’m so fortunate that early in the life of the house, a concrete perimeter foundation was poured, while still leaving a dirt floor basement, which led to flooding each winter. I believe Esther Williams could have performed a show in the seasonal pool under my home’s floorboards. That’s been fixed now, courtesy of a sump pump and concrete floor, but the joists and support beams are still rough-hewn timbers and solid logs. It’s crazy but they are still in remarkable shape albeit not level. Drop a marble in the kitchen and you may wave it goodbye off the back porch. Ah, it adds character I tell you! Thanks for checking in and the kind words of support!

  17. I was only thinking the other day that I hadn’t from you and Buddy in a while and am so glad you are safe and well. Just been working hard making your lovely home beautiful again. She is a grand old lady and she must be so pleased to be able to ‘breathe’ once more. I do love your covered veranda- can just see you sitting out there at the end of a long day with a glass of something refreshing.
    As for the colour, you will just know one day when you look at her – probably peach – so easy! It will be fun to see what you settle on.
    Good luck with the continuing maintenance- with an old house it’s never ending. :))

    • Thank you so much Mary for the encouragement. I really agree, one day the color scheme will pop in my head and all will be right with my sleeping beauty and me. I do have an inkling of a color scheme in mind now, but I’m holding out just to make sure it’s what I want and what the house wants. Take care, and warm regards!

  18. Hi Tom and Buddy, Like many others I have been missing news from you and I’m thrilled to learn that you have achieved a dream of many years. Before you settle on new windows to replace the damaged ones please check with renovation contractors. Sadly, many people replace the wonderful wavy old glass windows with plastic/vinyl ones and it may be possible to find salvaged replacements that you won’t have to rebuild. Wishing you a happy Spring and much fun picking a new outfit color for the grand old lady!

    • Alice, I couldn’t agree with you more. Not a fan whatsoever of vinyl or plastic windows, and fake mullions. Ugh. I’m always on the prowl online for old windows that I could trim to replace their crumbling cousins. My house has the R-value of a paper lantern, so I’m not worried about double-pane anything. If you want to visit me at home, bring a sweater, I’ll provide the throw cover. 😉 Take care and thank you for such kind words and support.

  19. Hi Tom & Buddy ! I was so happy to see your headline in my emails this morning. I’ve missed your elegant & descriptive way with words . So glad to hear you are well and have been very busy. I vote for the soft yellow body , white trim & some green accents. Whatever colors you choose I have no doubt it will turn out lovely. Cheers !

    • Hi Sue! So great to hear from you! It’s been fun pondering colors and just walking around the house, cheering with a few air pumps for good measure (and entertain for my neighbors). We’ve had a lovely spring. Let me know if you’re ever in this neck of the woods visiting your beautiful kids and grandkids. Take care!

  20. You’re allowed your old house to breath again. What an exhale !
    My old house is no knot cedar boards and when the latest paint
    job of my occupancy began to fail dramatically, we had her stripped down ,
    prepped, and lovingly repainted, looking to the next 100 years.
    You might consider another stone fruit colour. My old girl is plum with soft white
    trim. To my eye, there is no better combination, a rich plum tone, sitting in the midst of lush surrounding greenery, and she wears it so very proudly.
    Enjoy the process and the resoundingly happy result, Tom !

    • Hi Ann, oooh, plum, yes what a wonderfully rich color–speaks to abundance in my mind. As a fan of drenched colors and rich hues, I’m lean toward such intensity on the color wheel. Thanks for the suggestion!

  21. Wow

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now. But this! It takes a courageous attitude to tackle that extra large set of jobs.

    I have a very old house (tiny & 1916) and it too has asbestos siding. However there is sad old lath underneath. No plans at the moment to disturb her. But I sure have thought about it a lot.
    I’ll be watching to see how your work & house are doing over the summer – if you post updates that is!
    Color – I vote for a light cream with white.
    Best to you & the house.

    • Hi Lucy, I love the idea of cream and white, as those were likely her original colors. I will keep you posted and thanks for the well wishes!

  22. So good to hear from you at last! And thanks for sharing the ‘before’ photos — I can see why you fell in love with the house on first sight; I know I would have, too. Now isn’t she just a pip? A TON of work, but obviously a labor of love. I’m strongly in the ‘soft peach’ camp, but I also think the ‘soft gray’ idea has merit. As for plum …….. hmmm, well, for sure if it’s not gray it has to be a fruit color, but I think something soft pastel will harmonize best with the surrounding trees and garden.

    • Hi Kathy, the choices get more difficult with each comment. Well, I’m sure it will get easier when I make my first, second, and third trip to the paint store for sample paints and chips. Take care, and thanks for checking in!

  23. Hi Tom,
    Soft yellow trimmed in white gets my vote. Yellow says all the things you express about your home, joy, homey, welcoming and comfort. You will need to pick the perfect SOFT yellow to dark or to bright will scream “I bought this on the oops table”. Good luck!

    Give Buddy a scratch to his bum right where he likes it for me.

    And the very best of luck choosing the “perfect” colors.

    Cheryl B

    • Cheryl, the funny thing is, the previous owner told me the peach was indeed a bargain-bin, oops-table choice, but a scoring deal. Since the paint itself is the cheapest aspect of my house prep and labor, I’m not scrimping on buying good paint in the color I want. Now to just figure out what I want. 😉

  24. Hello Tom! I’ve missed your IG posts, and so happy to see you in my mailbox, with a new blog post. How apropos to what I’m doing this spring, summer too! I love the before and after pics, and in my humble opinion, I believe a creamy, very pale lemon yellow would be lovely for her new color. The original siding is in surprisingly great shape! My old farmhouse is stucco underneath all the 1950’s metal siding. I’m eager (and a little terrified) to see it once it’s off, then decide if I should re-stucco or install new siding. Cheers! I’m so excited to see the finished project! Love to Buddy and be well!

    • Hi Kelly, thanks for the color preferences. I hope your stucco project only wields you the good surprises! Thanks for checking in and the Buddy love!

  25. Miller Paint has a color named Annabel that might meet your expectations.
    They are an old Northwest Company in Portland, Or. Been around since 1890!
    Check out their selection, as they have a Pacific Northwest Historical Collection of Colors!
    With a selection and 30 Gallons of Primer you should be Happy!

  26. No notation of what color she was before the dreaded asbestos was added? If you are going to restore her, it would be nice to find her original colors. I don’t think peach was it! She is a Victorian, although much of her decorative wood trim and “icing” was likely removed when they did the asbestos. So to decide to do a “Painted Lady” (5 to 8 colors), or to do something with one color for the ship lath and one for the trim is a big decision. I can’t remember the year of your home, but 1880-early 1900’s is when the Victorian’s were largely built. I am sorry to veer away from the peach idea, and followers, but that was the color of the asbestos! If the home were peach it would only remind me what someone did to her in covering her original beauty with something that was not known, at that time, to be so toxic. Maybe I am over analyzing this, I tend to do that. I had a 1914 American Four Square in an IL historic district and after a trip to New Orleans and walking the Garden District I was struck by a lavender home with white trim which belonged to author Anne Rice. And yes, I did end up painting my home that color lavender with white trim and continued to get rave reviews from neighbors and passersby the 14 years I owned it. Anyway, if you decide on peach I will forgive you, not sure that history will, but yellow would be better. What about a light sage green, with cream trim? Saw on a historic home in Rhode Island and it was stunning. Best of luck to you on this major decision! And thank you for taking such wonderful care of her and the history she represents on the Island.

  27. Hi Debbie, I had to do a double take when I read your name. It’s been a zillion years! So nice to hear from you. Now as for your comment, I wholeheartedly agree. When I sought color ideas, I should have specified colors other than peach. The peach went with the asbestos tiles, but the fir requires another hue. The original house color was white. And as my favorite piece of clothing is a white linen shirt, I’m leaning on a white linen-colored paint for the body of the house. The trim will be celebratory, colorful and speak to house’s next hundred years. You were always known for your good eye, and keen sense of style. It appears nothing has changed there. Warm regards, Tom

  28. Hi Tom,
    Like others here, I was wondering why I hadn’t heard from you in a while and was delighted when you showed up in my inbox! I love your before and after photos – boy, you’re a hard worker! And I so agree on getting (or making your own) real, wooden windows with real mullions, not the fake ones. You’ve had some great suggestions on paint color so I’d like to say I agree with letting go of the peach because that was the color of the asbestos. My top pick for color would be the soft yellow with white trim, although it sounds as though you’re now leaning toward the original white color. But maybe your house was only white because there weren’t many color choices back then. Anyway, please give Buddy a “Good Doggie!” and an ear rub for me.

    • Hi Linda,
      Thank you for the nice note. I was a bit off my game last year and for some reason isolation left me a bit listless and without a rudder. I originally thought, oh I’m going to get so much done. Uh, no, not the case. Hopefully this next chapter will change that, and starting with this big project is helping me re-enter a more engaged life. As for the house colors, I vacillate daily, but yes, I’m leaning toward a white body, with colorful trim. A friend called my preliminary choices “Namaste on the prairie” which cracked me up. Another said, oh you’ve been to Norway, eh? No, I had not, so I then goggled Norwegian house colors. Yep, Bergen and I are simpatico in our color preferences, along with the facades of Tibet. Not bad company. Whatever I go with, I don’t want the house to look like it came out of curated catalog of safe paint chips, that is those yearly paint pamphlets that seek middle ground to please all eyes. I can sense the old girl wants a new spirited cape, and since she can’t swirl, perhaps the colors should. Oh, wow, please do let me go on… 😉
      Take care Linda, and thanks again, Tom and Buddy (who so appreciated your shoutout).

  29. Your special gem that you call home, will be perfect. Slowly but surely and the outcome will be magnificent. Hope to visit sometime again. Susan

  30. Tom and Buddy, I haven’t commented in ages but am always delighted to see a new post from you. (As far as that goes, perusing your older posts – which I love to do – is always a pleasure.) What a visual treat this post is! The simplicity and natural beauty of the “stripped-down” house is striking. Whiles the Peach Palace was marvelous, I agree it’s time for a new color scheme and name to mark a page being turned in its story. I enjoyed reading all the suggested color combinations. Soft yellow and sky blue would appeal to me; then again, I liked the idea of plum. How luscious that would be! I’m sure whatever you choose will be a winning combination. Thank you for all you share here; your beautiful and thoughtful words and pictures bring much needed cheer. Bless you. Stephanie on the coast of very Northern California where we are thankful for yesterday’s lovely soaking rain (P.S. See what happens? I don’t comment forever and then you get a whole page.)

  31. Hi Stephanie,
    You are welcome to write one, two or 30 pages! Thanks for the very kind comments. And I agree with all you wrote. It’s a new chapter and so the house will get a new look. I have until late August to really decide. And that rain last night was so welcomed. All my trees seems to be a bit perkier today. Take care and thanks for taking time to say hi. Cheers!

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