Please, Don’t Paint Your Mid-Century Brick

11 min read I’m about to do a deep dive into the history of brick, why it works, how it affects your homes value, and why paint can be bad for your brick home. Short version:

If you’re thinking of painting your brick house, don’t.

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. 

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”

Progress: Miscellaneous Exterior Painting

2 min read I took advantage of the last few nice days of fall weather to do a few outstanding paint tasks.  

The last of the peeling green paint was hiding out in a small strip of wall between the garage and house roof lines.  It was a little awkward to get to and I never really felt up for climbing around on the roof when no one would be around to call 911 if I took a dive.  Wednesday and Thursday I scraped, then painted and primed the wall and soffit while my folks were around which upped the safety factor of sliding around on a roof slope with a bunch of painting supplies to juggle.  Continue reading “Progress: Miscellaneous Exterior Painting”

Exterior Progress: Nearly done with North and South Gable Ends

6 min read I spent the (spectacularly hot) week of my birthday pushing forward on the painting progress.  Knowing I’d have someone around to spot me, I planned to do the high-up, platform work on the south gable. 

I got started on re-painting the house last fall right after we the sale closed.

The tired green color and peeling paint were about equally unappealing to me and I wanted them gone.  Plus I wanted to get some plantings in to replace the hedge I tore out and I knew that new plants wouldn’t appreciate drop cloths, ladders and the general tramping around that painting a house takes.

I knew it was going to be a tough job, made a little tougher by the lead paint underneath the green – which meant I’d need to follow proper safety procedures when scraping and sanding and the year was getting cold fast so I committed to just doing the front face of the house – the east – for the fall and coming back to the rest this year.

Continue reading “Exterior Progress: Nearly done with North and South Gable Ends”