Saturday, October 13, 2007

Centennial House

No, this is not a post about a PBS historical reality program. This is about my house, Centennial House, built guessed it, 1876. Somewhere along the way it was given the appropriate name. This month (September - took me a while to actually publish this post) marks five years since we moved in. After three years of third floor apartment life I was going insane and needed to be able to walk out my door in bare feet to feel the ground and a little more privacy in order to be my introverted self.

This house is an antique that was not always treated as valuable. In other words, I could afford it and see it's beauty through the rotted wood and layers upon layers of failing paint. R was not as confident about stepping into such an endeavor, but we did it. Inside, the only unpainted woodwork is one stairway and a set of enormous pocket doors. Everything else...everything... was painted white, by some cheap laborer it would seem. We initially had visions of stripping the baseboards and window moldings. Eventually, we decided to pick our battles and that has not been one of them. I remember one of the first things I did uncover was a tiny decorative latch on a pantry door. It started with a little bit of the white paint chipping off and out of the blue, in the middle of an ordinary day I had to reveal it that instant.

My first planned project was stripping our window shutters. There are 26 of them, about half of them louvered. Yeah. After some frustration with chemicals in the back yard, I ended up handing some over to my Dad who took them to be dip-stripped. The guy told him he had to do them multiple times because they were so caked with paint. (As of today, less than half of the shutters have been completed). So, over the last five years we've managed to do stuff here and there. This year, post baby-havin', our task was to fix the failing front porch. My photos from when we moved in are pre-digital days, so I'll have to settle for a more recent one.

There, that should give you an idea of the crappiness.
The railing was rotted at one end. One column was rotted at the bottom. The wood floor had paint chipping off more and more every day and it was beginning to rot in some places. We had planned to tackle this project since before we bought the house, but repairing or replacing a porch column was not a task that I was super confident in tackling myself. Finally, after designing a new railing to match the original on the back porch, and enlisting the help of my experienced father...things are coming together. Hopefully, it will be completely done before the Great Pumpkin arrives.

Here are some pics of things going on...

A new column, railing gone, and a cleaned up floor and columns. You can also see windows that I previously stripped, puttied, and painted.

Me, enjoying priming the floor. It takes a really long time to brush paint a surface this size, but I refuse to use a roller.

This is where we stood at about 10:30pm on the last night of our "vacation" week. This portion of railing ended up coming down and we started over after renting a nailer over the following weekend. Yay!

A week later, while my parents were visiting for my birthday, Rich began to rebuild the steps which we found were really starting to rot.'s looking beautiful and I can't wait until it is done. Heck, it only took me about three weeks to finish and publish this post! It's so darn long, I feel like Annie ; )


Annie and Greg said...

Nope, can never beat my massive posts!! I love where you say that you wanted more privacy to be your introverted self. We are looking to move into a house with a bit more privacy over the next fews years so I can be even more introverted!

Your porch looks great! I would love to see more pictures of the things you have done to the house... hint hint...

Amanda said...

There is nothing like finishing a project on your home. Hope you are able to soon enjoy your hard work! I love a big tedious project that makes such a big difference... K was more reluctant to take on a big house project though so I must live vicariously though you (and my parents).

I agree with Annie, post as much as you like about house projects! I love it!

cara said...

i agree with the others, let's see more about these! how cool! you're house and the projects look very interesting. i love that you used a brush on the porch... that's tedious. but i'm sure very worth it.