Exterior Update

Things are on hold on the inside of the house while all energy is devoted to the outside.

Woody's crew has almost finished sanding all the stripped siding:

Sanded siding

It looks pretty amazing. The siding is really beautiful, that old, tight-grained redwood.

Kitchen bay window stripped

They've done the initial stripping all the way around the house apart from the porches, so all the bay windows are done, too. Now the labourers are working their way around sanding the windows and trim.

Right now we are in the middle of a heat wave, so the guys are working on the front (north) side of the house, where it is cooler. I went by in the morning today and it was not too bad in the plastic covering; the light colour keeps it from heating up too much and there's decent air circulation in there.

Front porch stripping

Woody himself is working on the front porch. Both the finicky stripping and figuring out what trim is missing or damaged. In the last few weeks we've bought a bunch of wood to replace the missing or damaged stuff. Some of it has to be fabricated, some needs partial fabrication, and some of it we were able to get matched and cut by a mill.

Front porch column

It's interesting seeing all the missing trim show up so boldly: this column is missing buttons around the band there, and medallions both above and below the top reeding.

Paint marks on the porch

Also interesting was this area, where we found a totally different profile in the paint marks. After some discussion of what this could be and whether it's something that needs replacing, I think I understand what happened.

Front porch marks

The same marks are on both sides of the porch, so I think what happened is that this is the original porch, and it had a wood rot problem, because the roof was built flat. That trick never works. Many many years ago we repaired that roof and replaced it with an elastomeric roof -- not ideal but it is actually a pretty good system and keeps it from leaking too much. It had been leaking profoundly before we did that.

So I think that after about 20 years of a leaking, flat roof, maybe at the time the back addition with the kitchen and dining room was put on, they cut the porch off above the level of the rot and put in the "new" existing front porch shape. It explains why the columns just kind of end abruptly instead of having a transitional base detail, and also why the bottom of the porch design is a little more modern than the rest of the house, which is actually an old-fashioned design for its period. (Italianate houses are mostly earlier Victorian, and our house is at the tail end of the period, with some trim details nodding towards what was fashionable when it was built.)

We are not going to try to rebuild the porch as originally designed. The trim marks are interesting but they are now in the past. The porch it has now is the porch it has had for most of its life, and this house will go forward as it is now.

posted by ayse on 09/01/17

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