Sunday, July 21, 2013

Front Hall II


The best place for painting advice is the paint counter at Meadowbrook Hardware on Preston Ave.   When we painted the outside of our house (2007) the man at the paint counter was so helpful he all but painted the house for me.  (Jon broke a rib playing extreme frisbee when less than a quarter of the house was painted, so I had to take over.)

To review,  we're dealing with a peeling paint situation in the front hall and upstairs landing.  The Meadowbrook Hardware paint counter man told me that I need to remove ALL the latex paint and then prime the woodwork with an oil based primer.  Oil based primer?  That means mason jars of paint thinner all over the house until I can take them to hazardous waste day at the dump.  Which is usually in October, so all the trim must be primed by then.

Old House Enthusiast, I see you at the back of the class, waving your hand.  "What about preserving the natural wood?"  Sorry, but no.  Someone in the pre-mustard era varnished the woodwork with the ugliest dark brown imaginable.  The mustard paint is actually an improvement over the wood finish.  Do I want woodwork the color of Rick Perry's black heart?  No I do not.  The dark brown varnish is from the age of coal furnaces, which made houses filthy to a degree that would be shocking to us now.  Indeed, as late as 1990, the walls in our house were so thickly coated with coal dust, the previous owners chose to demolish the worst of them, rather than attempt to clean them.  I imagine that if you transported a Victorian housewife to our times, she would be more astonished at our clean, white interiors than at our cell phones, computers, or airplanes.

"Natural" woodwork


So, removing all of the white paint is turning out to be difficult.  In many places, it peels away with ease, and in others, it is firmly adhered to the mustard paint.  I may have to indulge in a little light chemical stripping, although I really don't want to, as I had a bad experience with stripper, and then didn't learn my lesson.  But now I know: DIY stripping is a disaster.

Most of the white gone from doorway

Underneath the mustard is a layer of green paint, in the shade that was popular in the 1930s, and that Martha Stewart made popular again a few years ago.  Underneath the green is a pale pink, and underneath the pink is the horrible brown varnish.  I only really need to remove the white, but in some spots more layers are coming off.  This is turning out to be a very big, somewhat discouraging project.

On the bright side, the outside looks decidedly not awful.  We still haven't made final arrangements with the painters--finding a gutters man seems to be a problem--and at this rate, I doubt much will be accomplished by the end of autumn.  I love my new brick patio, but I worry that with the rest of the house being somewhat shabby, it's a silk purse/sow's ear situation.  I spent some time scrubbing the front porch woodwork, which made things look much better.   At least the weeds, spider webs and disreputable fire pit are gone forever.



18 comments:

  1. Mustard, green, and pink paint -- no good wood goes unpunished. I can't wait to see the results.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I feel your project having just gone through some similar, although not as old layers, myself. The patio does look quite lovely though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It looks great from the outside.
    "Old House Enthusiast" cracked me up! Yes, sometimes that old wood is overrated. Thank goodness you have a reliable paint guy. If you find a gutter guy, let me know. I've yet to track one down!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The front brick work is charming! Can't wait to see the rest. Good luck on the paint removal which sounds downright miserable!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wouldn't it be cheaper and faster to rip out the old doorframes and put up new? Or is there something valuable about these particular frames?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're not valuable, but I think it would cost a lot to get the same quality wood and molding.

      Delete
  6. And, hooray! You've got embedded comments, with a "reply" function!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! So glad to have an easy way to reply to comments. Why didn't I do this years ago?

      Delete
  7. My put-off-forever paint project is redoing all the yellowish-beige door frames the builder painted, NOT the color I selected, but it was too big an ordeal to make him change it. I'm pretty sure they're oil-based paint, as they should be, but I know it's a bigger deal to cover. That said--it's 99% easier than what you have facing you! I promise to stop complaining. As much. I've repainted every single wall and some of the baseboards--just haven't tackled the door frames yet. And I should probably do the doors at the same time...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yellowish-beige? That would drive me crazy too. You'd think white would be the typical builder's choice.

      Delete
  8. Go for the chemical stripper, it's the only safe way to go, unless you fancy the blowtorch route.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, in all of his unrestrained and semi-senile glory.

      Delete
  9. Shuddering as I think of all the work it must be to maintain your home. I do admire your ability to pull it off with such aplomb.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! (You're right, it is a lot of work.)

      Delete
  10. Your house has so much character!! Enjoy the process (Hard advice to follow yet easy to give!) and continue to take pictures. Can't wait to see the finished product no matter how long it takes! And yes...that wood IS as dark as Rick Perry's heart. On behalf of Texans everywhere, I apologize for his idiocy. Clearly he was dropped on his head as a baby before the soft spot closed up.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "Bad Experience with Stripper" would have made a great title.

    ReplyDelete