So Many Choices, Only So Much Plasma to Sell

Shingle and paint choices. I couldn't take the purple any longer, and my roof is falling off.

Shingle and paint choices. I couldn’t take the purple and lavender any longer, and the rate of shingle loss on my current roof is increasing daily (in 20 mph gusts – a telling sign).

In the last week (and over the long weekend), I’ve painted two ceilings, the walls in the hallway, replaced the screen in one of the front screen doors and painted the porch – well, most of it, anyway – after spending $75 in paint samples. I’m still not convinced the light gray is the right light gray, but I gave up. (And I’m still searching for the right, bright accent color, which will be used sparingly.)

I borrowed an extension ladder with big plans to get the porch interior bits, as well as the porch soffits, fascia and trim, done over three days. Ha! Dentil moulding is the devil’s minion, and Ionic column capitals are the devil himself. (Here’s hoping my neighbor will kindly allow me keep his ladder through a few more weekends….)

I did make an exciting* discovery, though: While prepping to paint, I had to scrape and scrub the stone sill. Turns out, the dirt removal allowed me to see where the original side casings were on either end for the sidelights and door.

Post ghost. On either side of the sill, I can now see where the original door frame was. That'll come in handy in a decade after I've paid off the roof and windows, and can afford to rehab the front entrance...

Post ghost. On either side of the sill, I can now see where the original door frame was. That’ll come in handy in a decade after I’ve paid off the roof and windows, and can afford to rehab the front entrance…

Friday afternoon, John and Judy Pater, of Pater Architectural, visited to talk historically sympathetic windows. I don’t yet have the price for those, but John has some clever tricks – along with top-notch machinery and decades of experience – that allow him to make wooden windows at a price comparable to top-name “modern” replacement windows. But his will last a great deal longer (if properly maintained, which I will do) – and they will look incalculably better.

Oh – and after weeks of fretting about the “right” shingles, I ordered a new roof (and yes Christopher, I actually went with the lighter ones). The tear-off begins Thursday, weather permitting.

The upper-story windows and all the wooden bits at the roof line will also need painting of course – but neither the ladder nor my courage extend that far; I’ll have to hire professional help. So, I suspect the house will remain piebald for a while. Apologies to my neighbors.

Almost there. By dusk yesterday, I'd gotten all but the capitals, bases and trim over the doors done. This morning, I threw in the towel after the door trim (more dentil moulding). The column tops and bottoms will just have to wait.

Almost there. By late yesterday, I’d gotten all but the capitals, column bases and trim over the doors done. This morning, I threw in the towel after the door trim (more dentil moulding and I have some other stuff I must do). The column tops and bottoms will just have to wait. (I don’t think I can bear to wait too long on the porch fascia and soffits though – the purple and patchiness must go…and quickly.)

*I have a low excitement threshold when it comes to house stuff.

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About fitz

Editor & content director for Popular Woodworking, ABD PhD focused on early modern drama, freelance content and copy editor/writer, ailurophile
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5 Responses to So Many Choices, Only So Much Plasma to Sell

  1. BLZeebub says:

    As far grays go maybe you should tie it in with the color of your shingles assuming you went with a light gray. With the color of the brick in mind it’s easy to get carried away with cool grays making them seem a dull blue. Of course warm grays can get lost and muddy the works if they’re too close in chroma. Also, when swiping the stuff and trying to get a sense of it all in my experience it’s better to commit to painting a whole sash rather than smearing a patch on here and there. And as you mentioned, a polychrome approach might be the ticket too. Can’t wait to see what you come up with. Have a great one, Fitz. I’m tilting a single malt right now for your efforts. Cheers!

  2. miathet says:

    I would think with the temps down there the lighter colour would be good for saving AC. My choice would also be to lighten red brick but I am in the land of cream city brick so dark brick doesn’t exist up here.

    I also agree the colours aren’t quite perfect. Depending on your bent either get serious about contrast (cooler and bluer) or the redder browns and grey like a lot of the DC historical homes. My choice would be the bolder as it would be easy to become the big blob of red.

    In any case kudos that is a lot of painful work to get the prep done!

  3. Steve says:

    Are those the original box gutters I see? There are only two types of box gutters. Those that are leaking and rotting out, and those that are going to leak and rot out.

    • fitz says:

      Aren’t you funny. They’re original and non-leaking…at the moment.

      • Steve says:

        A fresh layer of 90# roofing membrane (smooth), or maybe even some rubber roofing in them while the roofers are there might not be a bad idea. Best of luck to you and I really like your new house and what you’re doing there. Keep those updates coming.

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