Sunday, June 26, 2011

Paint Colors

The final colors for the Cheney Cottage are more subdued than the primer colors. At least, a little bit more subdued.

What more can I say?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Don't Freak Out

To everyone who has gone past the Cheney Cottage in the last 24 hours: trust me, it's just the primer.

The Cheney Cottage is going to be painted in bright colors: deep purple, dark green and cream. We made these choices because a) the house was originally purple and green, judging from what we found when scraping the paint, and b) the house has been grey for so long, we felt it deserves to be bright, colorful, even somewhat outrageous. We think the colors are going to work well.

So our painters have put primer on the house. Bear in mind, the primer is tinted, to make coverage with the top coats easier, but it is NOT the same color as the top coat. So the electric purple base color and the psychedelic green trim are not the colors the house will be.

Trust me on this. It's going to look much better. Be patient.
NOT the final color choice

Monday, June 20, 2011

Plodding Along

The stair railings, ready for more stripping and refinishing

The last two weekends have been good, and we've gotten a lot of work done. There is also work happening on the outside of the Cheney Cottage.

We've been working on the wiring, and have completed two of the upstairs bedrooms, the hallway light (a 30way switch), and much of the kitchen and living room lighting. We still have to run romex for the bathrooms and the dining room.
The front door, with trim being stripped and a new electrical box

We've been adding more trim on the outside of the house. The east side is mostly done, as is the north side (the front). We also fixed the trim on the west window that had no trim, and added the window in the kitchen (where the door was).
The bathroom with the wainscot and window trim replaced

We've been replacing trim inside as well. Much of the trim in the upstairs bedrooms is now back in place, and if the trim hasn't been installed, we have at least figured out what goes where and put the pieces of trim in the correct rooms.
The front bedroom door, with trim replaced and a new electrical box for the light switch

Outside, the work continues. Dale and Miles of Walker Morris Painting are starting the prep work to paint the house, so the front of the house is covered by a screen to catch the lead paint as it is scraped. The University did a lot of the lead abatement when the house was still on campus, but Dale and Miles are working to get everything ready for paint. This week, they'll put up a gallon of each of the new colors, so we can really see what the house will look like. After all these years of being grey, it's going to be pretty vibrant with the new colors.
The window on the stairs, with the trim replaced

And Eric and his crew will be back at the end of the week to pour the foundations for the front and back porches. After that, we can start rebuilding the porches on the house.

We've even begun planning the landscaping. We have plans for a front retaining wall, with some good dirt brought in for plantings and a new walkway up to the front porch steps. Since we took one of the rose bushes from 62nd Street and put it on Parker Street (where it is flourishing), we want to repay the gift by taking one of the seedling Japanese Maple trees, from our 60 year old tree, and plant that in the front yard of the Cheney Cottage. Our neighbor Mark has several growing in pots in his yard, where the seeds floated down into pots he was using for orchids.

It's going to be a busy summer, but we're feeling like we're on track. Keep watching.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Trim and Wire

It was yet another wet, chilly weekend working on the Cheney Cottage. Which is a pretty strange way to describe a June weekend in California. Once again, the lot on 62nd Street is muddy and flooded. It's a lovely place to spend the weekend.

We seem to have gotten the tarps repositioned so the roof is again not leaking, except in one or two spots. Tom went out and bought some metal pails, which are strategically positioned to catch drips, so we're doing well with preventing further damage, beyond the wet plaster where the drips are coming through.

But it's brought up the need to replace the roof, which is something we've known about but have been trying to ignore. We can't ignore it any longer, and so, even though we can't afford to have someone do the roof, Tom and I will start tearing off the old roof, and re-roofing the Cheney Cottage, probably in the next week.

In an earlier post, I talked about how we have gotten too old to do some of the work, and roofing was definitely high on the list of what we're too old to do. The roof of the Cheney Cottage, with jerkinhead gables (otherwise known as "clipped gables") on all four sides, and steep pitch, is difficult to work on. But as we have always said "Poverty is the Mother of Invention", so our lack of working capital has made us younger - or raised the age of roofers in the Bay Area.

Anyway, we'll try to do it without falling off and breaking our necks. Stay tuned for that.

In other news, the wiring is moving along, and we probably have about half of the interior wiring completed. It's a big job, and at time complex. I had to sit and again figure out how a three way light switch works, so I could wire them in correctly, but I got it done, and a lot of the outlets are now roughed in as well.

When the Cheney Cottage belonged to the University, they upgraded the wire by running conduit along the surfaces, and through the walls, and mounted electrical boxes for switches and outlets on the surface. But for the house to really be a residence again, we need to put the outlets and switches in boxes that are recessed into the wall. In many places, it's easy to do, because the plaster is missing, but we still have enough walls where we have to cut through the plaster to put new electrical boxes.

Cutting through plaster and lathe is dirty and dusty, and often cracks the surrounding plaster. But as we already have tons of plaster to patch, what's a few more holes? So now the front bedroom has a wall switch that is connected to the overhead light, and all the wiring is hidden inside the walls (or will be when the walls are patched). Doing the wiring also includes fishing the wire through the walls, so this weekend Tom spent a lot of time in the attic, drilling holes through top places and fishing the wire down for me to grab. It sounds easy, but again: dusty, dirty, and often frustrating.

The other big job that is progressing is we're continuing to work on the exterior of the house, and we have a lot of the trim up on the front and on the east side. It all looks somewhat bizarre, with the old wood trim covering the new wood siding, but once the house is painted, we hope it'll look like it did in 1902.
The Cheney Cottage, with much of the second floor trim re-attached.
So progress is being made. Next up: more wiring; starting to install the plumbing; the foundations for the front and back porches; and the new roof.