Painted, guttered ‘n shuttered
If asked, I could sit down right this second and come up with a list of a thousand things that we need/want to do to our house. Any renovation project, particularly one done over time, becomes a question of priorities. Would we rather be sinking our hard-earned dough into the new kitchen? You betcha. But an ugly, failing paint job and gutters that were rusting through made it clear that our first projects needed to address these more urgent, if decidedly unsexy issues. Fortunately, the roof is only a few years old, so that portion of the exterior envelope is sound. And come spring, we’ll need to cap and repoint the chimneys. But the siding and gutters were at a point that any further neglect would have compounded our exterior issues, resulting in more expensive problems down the line.
The happy side effect of all this work is that (at least from the outside) the house no longer looks like it’s succumbing to its age. Instead, it wears it proudly, imperfections and all. The colors make it look dignified, formal, like it’s put on a well-tailored suit. I’m not going to lie: being located across the street from the offices of the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough and the Vistor’s Center adds some pressure to get the place looking good. After all, our house is staring every visitor in the face as soon as they walk out the front door over there.
I’ll address the specifics of these projects in more detail in later posts. But for now, a couple of before and afters can do the talking:
I’m still not sure what to do about that camellia tree. It’s beautiful in bloom, provides shade and privacy for the porch in summer, but blocks a full third of the front facade. Suggestions, anybody?
If you’re wondering what contractors we used for these projects, I’ve started a new page on the blog called “Highl[e]y recommended” where I’ll list succinct and forthright reviews of everyone we hire that does a reasonably good job. As an architect and advanced DIY-er, I can be a demanding and critical customer, so I can confidently say that a good review here is a strong endorsement for their services.