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Dealing with Lead Paint and Other Hazards in Your Mid-Century Ranch

23 min read One consideration in dealing with older buildings is that they may have lead paint on walls or trim.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control website recommends assuming any house built before 1978 has some lead paint lurking around.

Lead won’t do you any harm while sticking to the wall, but it has a nasty tendency to flake off into tiny dangerous dust particles, especially when the paint is in poor condition.  Ingesting lead paint dust or chips is not good for adults and extremely bad for children.  

Per the CDC:

 “No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. And effects of lead exposure cannot be corrected.”

For Mid-Century Homeowners, lead is one of the most common house hazards to watch out for.

Lead Paint in Mid-Century Homes

In fact, if you live a mid-century home, you want to be on the lookout for issues with lead paint, asbestos glue, tile and fiber products, mold in the walls or roof or structure due to long standing or newfound water issues radon seeping into your house and old hinky wiring. More on that next week!

Today though I’m going to walk you through what to know about lead paint and how it might show up in a mid-century home. Plus, the risks it poses to you and your family, and some advice on how to find it in your home and what to do about it when/if you do!

Continue reading “Dealing with Lead Paint and Other Hazards in Your Mid-Century Ranch”

What’s the Perfect Mid-Century House Color?

17 min read How do I choose the right mid-century house color for my house? The short version is that many colors work but here’s how to choose the right one for YOU.

The right Mid-Century House Color isn’t one that’s specific to the period or style of your house. It isn’t the color that looks so great on the house down the street. It’s the color that expresses the feeling you want your home to create in you and in others. 

Choosing a color scheme for your home is one of the most effective ways to put your stamp on a house and start the process of making it your home. But before you “pick” the “right” color for your home … I want you to ask yourself a few more questions about what you’re trying to make happen here.

Don’t panic. This is part of the fun, I promise! Because today we’re going to talk about how to apply the Master Plan Method to help you confidently update your mid-century house color scheme.

Oh, and you might want to grab the free guide before you get started …

Mid-Century House Color free guide
Continue reading “What’s the Perfect Mid-Century House Color?”

Please, Don’t Paint Your Mid-Century Brick

12 min read Think twice before you paint over your mid-century brick: a short term facelift could damage the character and durability of your home.

Brick has been used as a building material since long before the three little pigs. But mid-century brick is particularly well suited to the ethos of modernist designers: it is humble, honest, tactile and capable of both great simplicity and great variety. Let’s talk about why you should not paint brick, and why you should especially not paint mid-century brick!

There are a number of problems with painting mid-century brick, including aesthetics, technical issues and maintenance headaches. 

Note: this was originally posted Feburary 2019. It has been updated and now includes a podcast episode for those who’d rather listen than read!

For more on OTHER mid-century masonry you should not paint, check out this episode: White Paint is NOT the Answer!

Listen Now On  Apple | Google |  Spotify | Stitcher

Continue reading “Please, Don’t Paint Your Mid-Century Brick”

Progress: painting the basement walls and ceiling

2 min read Painting has always been one of my favorite home improvement activities.  My mom changed the wall colors almost as often as she changed her mood and the whole family was always permitted (expected) to help out as needed.  

Spreading paint onto my newly drywalled basement was a deeply satisfying several day process, fueled by color energy and audio books.  The one down side was that, without the final electric installed and with the new sheet rock ceiling blocking my ability to hang lights from the rafters, it was a bit dark down there.  Continue reading “Progress: painting the basement walls and ceiling”

Progress: The basement drywall is in!

2 min read The drywall was hung, taped, and textured and now its ready for me to get on with painting. I have a quick decision to make. Help!

While I was upstairs, ripping out the wall-to-wall carpet, the drywall crew was downstairs turning the basement spaces back into rooms.  It’s very exciting to see the work progressing.  Continue reading “Progress: The basement drywall is in!”

(Nearly) Instant Gratification updates with Paint

2 min read After all this work in the basement – slow but steady – I decided to take on something a little more quickly satisfying: painting the bedrooms grey. Check it out!

Prioritizing the exterior and basement has meant living with some fairly unpalatable existing conditions on a daily basis.  In fact, I’ve been sleeping in a room covered with powder blue lead paint with the previous owners pictures hooks in the walls for over a year.  Why?

This weekend I got serious about making a change. Continue reading “(Nearly) Instant Gratification updates with Paint”

Micro Update: Matching the Front Door to the Mailbox

2 min read One of the most fun (and easy) things I did to the house last year was painting the front door. Here’s how I exactly matched the mailbox.

This is one of those curb appeal updates that gets tossed around when thinking resale.  For me, it is just too-long-delayed improvement for every day life.Granted, part of the reason it was so satisfying was that I’d devoted countless hours to fixing up the rest of the exterior, but this felt like the element that tied everything together.  Continue reading “Micro Update: Matching the Front Door to the Mailbox”

The Six Major Elements of (Nearly) Every Entry

4 min read The components elements of an American house entry are fairly consistent, country or city, large or small.  Ranch entries are even more consistent: Door, Lights, Mailbox, House numbers, Wall and Overhang.  If you have your own door (and maybe even if you don’t) you have most of these to play with.

You probably have the ability to fix up each and every one of them (except the overhang) in a weekend project.  Here are a couple overarching ideas to bear in mind when you go to work.  Continue reading “The Six Major Elements of (Nearly) Every Entry”

Progress: Painting the Unfinished Basement

2 min read While the “unfinished”  side of the basement isn’t high on my to-do list of spaces to make glorious, I did take a break last week to give it a good scrub and a fresh coat of paint. 

I’ve been on a painting kick lately.  I guess I don’t know what to do with my spare hours now that the outside of the house is finished.

The result surprised me.  I’d gotten used to crossing my eyes at the spider webs and dingy paint in the north side of the basement but now that the walls are fresh and white, I actually enjoy going over there to pull wood from my scrap stash.  Continue reading “Progress: Painting the Unfinished Basement”

Testing Paint Colors in Natural Light

< 1 min read I recently realized that I’ve been living among wall colors I DON’T LOVE for way too many months and that it is time to make some of my planned color changes now while I can appreciate them rather than at the end of the project when I’m just about to pass it off to someone else.

After grabbing a really unreasonable number of swatches at the paint store, I set them up next to the wood trim – which I don’t intend to change – and was really surprised how most of the ones that seemed perfectly plausible in the light of the paint store were way to harshly blue grey in the house.  The outlier I had almost rejected as terribly taupe was the winner.  Continue reading “Testing Paint Colors in Natural Light”