Saturday, November 26, 2011

Let's Try This Again, Shall We

I actually had a rather large summer project that I didn't blog about at all. I painted the 2 story garage out back. It is really a pretty big structure. There are 2 apartments upstairs and 6 garages downstairs, so it is the size of a medium sized house.

I also put two new garage doors on the 2 garages that faced the street and did some siding repair here and there. I had to do a lot of cosmetic repair to the porch columns and I replaced door trim and corner boards. It was another one of those projects that just dragged on for months and months. It is nice to have it done, though. And now, with the push of a button, I can park my car in the garage.

Also, in October there was another blog-worthy event that got no mention here. I was wrangled in to doing the home tour for the Eureka Heritage Society. They've been after me for years to do it, ever since I won the Society's Residential Preservation of the Year award. It really was a honor, and I felt obligated to do it. Still, it was a lot of work getting ready for it. Just the thought of having who knows how many people come in to your home can be a little intimidating.

I was going to do the tour last year, but I didn't think I would have the foyer finished in time and I didn't want to commit myself and then have to rush to finish. This year, since the project was the apartment building out back there was no excuse not to do it. Trust me, I tried to come up with excuses not to do it.

I made the first floor available for the tour and it was an absolute mob scene. It lasted from 12-5 and I'm not sure how many people showed up. They estimate they sell from 300 to 500 tickets a year and it felt like everyone of them came to my house twice that day. At one point I counted more than 50 people in my house. It really was fun, though. I had some friends act as docents and I had a lot of displays set up that went over the restoration and talked about the original owners, The Petch's.

Every room on the first floor is finished now, except for the 2 parlors, which brings me to my winter-time project - my rare winter-time project. I'm going to attempt to get some things done in the parlors this winter and I'm going to attempt to blog about it. I'm not sure how much of either will actually get done, but I'm going to make an attempt.

Even though the parlors have been in a state of disrepair for the past 8 years, they have acted as my living room for most of that time. So this weekend the goal was to move my living room to an upstairs bedroom so that I can work on the parlors. Fortunately, a few years back I ran cable, phone, and internet to all rooms of the house, so it will just be a matter of moving furniture and electronics.

The goal for the parlors over the next few months will not be too ambitious. If I really went at it, I could probably finish these rooms in 6 months, but I won't be doing that. I have done quite a bit already. The sheetrock that was put over the plaster was removed 6 years ago, along with layers of flooring and wall paper. The rooms had also been modified during the apartment days of the 1920s, and that has all been undone.

The goal this winter is to just do some work on the plaster and woodwork. For the walls, I just want to remove the loose plaster and get the walls ready for new plaster. For the woodwork I want to strip off the paint. I'm still not sure if these rooms were originally painted or shellacked. Regardless, I need to get off the thick layers of dripping, gooey paint. There is also a lot of goop along with edges from when the sheetrock was put up.

If the woodwork was originally shellacked I will go back to that. If not, I will be repainting. There is circumstantial evidence that it was originally painted, but I won't know for sure for a few more weeks.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the update. Good luck with your
winter project. I just started work on our 1896 Queen Anne. Inspired by people like you, I am also going to document the restoration process on a blog (
Interestingly, this first bedroom I am working on turned out to have trim that was originally painted. As you know, its a pain to strip all the old paint off. Even with the painted trim being original, I dont think I am going to be able to find it in me to paint it again :)

Greg said...

Good luck! It is quite an adventure. Your home has some amazing details. The window trim, the stained glass...really, very nice. I would love to see a shot at the exterior.

With the wood in my house being redwood, once it has been painted it is very difficult to get back to bare wood. Not impossible, but very difficult. It if was shellacked first then the shellac acts as a barrier to keep the paint out of the grain.

Marilyn said...

Good to see you posting and restoring again, Greg!

Karen Anne said...

A photo of the garage?

The woodwork in my California bungalow in the bedrooms was originally painted. There was a real difference in the treatment of the rooms. The bedrooms also had Doug fir floors while the living room/dining room had oak floors.

Karen Anne said...

p.s. I assumed the no blog postings was because you were still recuperating from the last project :-)

Mo said...

Happy you're blogging again; it's always fascinating to read!

Jayne said...

Hurrah for your return!! And an even bigger Hurrah! for painting the garage. What a project. I'm looking forward to reading about the parlors this winter.

Jayne said...

ps: A house I used to live in (an 1839 Greek Revival) was on our local Homes Tour several years ago when I lived there. We were in the middle of a huge restoration and borrowed furniture, rugs, artwork, etc. from neighbors and friends. The day before the tour, a 10 ft. by 6 ft. section of plaster ceiling above the main staircase crashed to the floor. We considered ourselves lucky it didn't happen during the tour!

Greg said...


That was one of my biggest fears. Falling plaster, busted water pipe, earthquake, locust....

I just knew something would happen the day before the tour.

kathy said...

So glad you're back to blogging about your wonderful house, and your ambitious project that make me feel ridiculously slothful.

Anonymous said...

thanks for checking in with us, you know we are nosey beyond belief and now feel some sense of ownership in petch house. WRITE MORE.

slateberry said...

Well this is too late for your project but I'll mention anyway: have you ever checked out John Leeke's historic homeworks site? I think it's pretty good, although probably more than you need since he is working with wimpy old growth eastern pine, not your robust redwood :-). I got the Practical Restoration Reports Compendium through interlibrary loan; it has a good section on columns. Actually all the sections (gutters, windows, siding, molding) were helpful.