Month: August 2013

And…. scene!

The paint is off the woodwork in our bedroom. Yey!

Over the course of three days, our amazing paint stripping expert and her helper stripped the fireplace and fireplace cover, the pocket doors and moldings, the window frame and window seat, the base boards, the picture rails, as well as the moldings of the two other doors.

They used 12 gallons of zip strip, 7 gallons of denatured alcohol and a ton of elbow grease. More photos and details on a later post, but suffice to say the woodwork looks wonderful and, to my surprise, looks brand new – which is a bit weird.

Fireplace2

On a less exciting note,  we were left with a lot of goober on the walls. The room looks like an alien crime scene:

gooberNow to the tedious work of fixing the walls so that we can paint.

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And then this happened

Sometimes, even the most hard core DIY needs a little professional help. Since we seem to be a bit morose these days when it comes to getting stuff done around here, we decided to treat ourselves to a little help in the paint stripping department.

Check out the results of day 1:

Pocket Doors

Fireplace progress

The initial feeling of being inadequate and unable to get it together to make progress on the house was quickly replaced by “holy crap! That looks awesome!” And with that, I accepted that fact that it’s totally OK to hire someone to help every now and then.

Random things I firmly believe in (for now)

In no particular order:

A living room should not have more than one couch.

People who organize books by color should not own books.

Nothing moves faster than lint. Cat hair is a close second.

There is no excuse for recessed lights.

One cannot own too many tape measurers.

It is always the small projects that result in the greatest number of trips to the hardware store.

There is no such thing as a simple project in an old house.

HGTV is the devil. Yet I can’t look away.

When all else fails, turn to the internet.

One bold step

Our brownstone is pink. Well, at the moment it’s mostly pink, as the paint is peeling in large chunks.

IMG_1180

Yep, it’s starting to look really bad. Not only does it look bad, but paint is also bad for the brownstone itself. It traps moisture and causes the stone to basically turn into sand. Not good. Not good at all.

We want to return the façade to its original non-painted stage. As you can tell by the photo above, this task is being helped by the elements.  Living in the sad looking house is starting to make us feel sad. So we decided it’s time to find someone to strip the paint and patch up any damaged spots. Easy right?

Wrong! Contractor #1 seemed to be on the right track, but has yet to provide an estimate (it’s been a month!). Contractor #2 declared the façade strong, but also stated that he will chip it all away and rebuild it with tinted cement, as it won’t withstand power washing. Um – what kind of an idiot would dream of power washing brownstone (which is a form of sandstone)? I mean, duh!

I have been looking at brownstone façades and I can always tell when they have been chipped away and redone, because the material used tends to have a flower-pot quality to it. Sure, sometimes the stone is too far gone and needs to be patched or replaced. But to just start off removing the very thing that makes the house special? No, thank you. Turns out we’re quite protective of our brownstone.

So what to do? Would it be crazy to tackle this ourselves? The pink latex paint is coming off is big pieces. How hard can this possibly be? Somehow I have a feeling I’m abut to find out.