Painting and Patience
Seventeen years ago I drove up a gravel drive to behold the house destined to become my new home. Imperfectly perfect, the pioneer beauty imbued an elegant simplicity wrought a century ago, and still stood proud even with the injustices of layered “improvements” that fell short of her grace and dignity.
After I moved in, I knew it would take awhile to paint the house but I had no idea that nearly two decades would pass before this striking muse in a dirty dress would be granted a wardrobe change. As my Seattle fixer taught me, first things first though; electrical, plumbing, foundation, and structural work would have to precede any desire to create my own aesthetic movement and mark on the exterior. Patience became my learned virtue.
The House and I: Primed for Painting
My esteemed housepainter has begun this epic transformation, and I believe an “Alleluia!” is in order. (Feel free to throw in a couple amens, too!) After I hired an abatement company to remove fifties siding, my friend Jeff and I patched holes, replaced compromised boards, and added new corner trim, which was removed earlier when the asbestos tiles were installed in the fifties. Jeff, the star of this trim-work team, was meticulous and climbed ladders–my kind of skill set! As for me, well, think panda on a pole; I know better. Grounded grunt work is my game with a soupçon of finesse when needed. Oh, and I can fetch a tool like no one’s Golden Retriever.
A Fine Friend Captures a Fine House
Let me share with you some before-painting photos revealing the original presence of form, functionality and beauty hidden behind sheathing for over sixty years. My talented friend Kent Phelan photographed my favorite perch before her big paint job, using his epic large-format Deardorff wood-box camera. His imagery is nothing less than time travel. Thank you Kent!
House Paint Colors
The hot topic with any house painting is of course house colors. I can assure you I’ve chewed on this decision with the fervor of Buddy on a bone. I’ve changed my mind so many times, I quit answering inquiries with any specificity or conviction, instead mumbling “Ummm, yeah, I’m really close.” I could only handle so many puzzled looks chased by a “ummm, interesting choice.” Which brings us to the timely question now, “So Tom, what color did you choose?” I will say, the answer will come in another post, with before-and-after pictures, but for now I wish to showcase the austere beauty of my sweet pioneer home in a natural pre-paint state. And besides, I may change my mind tomorrow when we actually order and buy the paint.
Preparation and Anticipation
Here are a few other photographs as we start to prime; and stay tuned for our debutante’s big day and re-introduction post.
Thanks for sharing my love of old houses, and I look forward to revealing the painting progress in the weeks to come. And based on Pacific Northwest autumn weather patterns, I may have to extend that estimate of completion. It’s okay; I’m in it for the long haul.