we have moved

Don’t panic, we haven’t gone anywhere. But our office has –we’ve moved it about 40 feet, from our ‘all-purpose room’ (“AP” below) to our second bedroom (top-right). A much better fit for us, and our business, OLLI+LIME.


Here’s how it looked last time I showed you. This room will become our new TV room, considerably extending our living space. We’re working on it right now, with some big changes underway. I’ll do my best to catch you up here soon.


Before that, the new office. This was our guest room, at the end of 2013, then our photography studio, almost a year later. For dramatic effect, here’s how it looked early on.


Everything –ceilings, walls, drawers, door– had been sprayed off-white, as per the rest of the house. All we’d done to this point was add a roll-up blind and paint the beam.


Fast-forward, we removed the beige carpet and installed VCT. We painted the walls, ceiling, drawers and closet –and that’s where we had an issue. The only suitable place for our desks was the gray wall, but that would mean butting them up against the closet.


Not gonna work. We had an idea. We’d block up the door nearest the wall, still allowing storage access from the other, but providing an adjacent wall for the desks. We removed and stored the door (in case we ever want to reinstate it) and framed the wall.


It needed to be solid, but not ultra permanent. First, we faced it in luan, but the veneer split in a couple of spots during painting. So, we added thicker ply over the top, giving a smoother finish and more strength.


We wanted the wall to look authentic, so we added top trim from inside another closet, and baseboard that closely matches the original. Then we painted the wall. The remaining closet door now slides behind it.


Next, we added some shelves on the gray wall, above where are desks would go. We picked white IKEA LACK shelves. They needed to support a decent amount of weight, so we screwed additional supports into the existing studs.


We fixed supplied IKEA brackets into the supports, painted everything the same gray as the wall, then slotted the shelves into place.


Next, we installed our desktop and drawers, transferred from our former office. We had to remove about 10 inches from each end to fit, but it now runs wall-to-wall, which we like. We filled the shelves with stuff too. Instagram folks should recognize the Eames stamps.


Backing-up, here’s the view when you enter the room. We re-faced this door and added hardware. We moved our long storage cabinet here, and also found a good spot for our flip-clock.


That blank wall to the left will eventually house a Stendig Calendar –we left it too late to get one last year, but we’re on the list this time around. We added a basic bookcase in the corner, for heavy magazines etc, and sat our Eames House Blocks on the top.


Spinning around, here’s the corner I work in. You can see how the desktop fits nicely against the wall we created. On the right, the original built-in provides more useful storage.


Here’s a look at Karen’s corner. She does the real work, so gets a bigger screen than me.


We didn’t put a ton of books on these shelves –partly because we wanted space for things to breathe…and partly because we were afraid they’d collapse. I jest –they do feel very solid.


We framed PANTONE postcards and used these as bookends. We picked our favorite grays and greens, but can always substitute colors if we feel like it. With our office move complete, we treated ourselves to some ‘concrete’ pen pots, to celebrate.


Inside, retro pens we bought nearly three years back, as I shared here –Karen said she’d wait ’til our office was sorted before using hers. She did, but I’m sure she didn’t plan on waiting this long. Here’s the view out to the corridor.


We still need to add a white strip below the desk drawers, to cover the wooden feet we attached. Oh, and new VCT flooring. And some lighting. But it’s pretty much done. We LOVE our new office.


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laundry nook

Most later Eichlers have laundry rooms. Not ours –we have a ‘nook’ instead, sandwiched between back door and guest bath. It’s tight in here –notice the door trim, cut to fit regular-sized machines. Still an upgrade for us Brits, accustomed to kitchen-based washer/dryers.


Though a small space, plenty to do. We installed a new dryer vent, replaced an electrical outlet and light switch (not shown), painted the washer wall gray (what else?) and worked on the guest bath door/trim –more on that later. Here’s a rare ‘during’ pic.


We painted the back door (out of shot) gray, to blend with the washing wall, and painted the other walls and ceiling white. We sanded/filled/painted the beam above the window, in our dark gray beam color. Here’s the ‘before’ and ‘after’…



And of course we added a washer/dryer –these micro machines are typical for the UK, and fit perfectly (must’ve been this size in ’55) allowing a clear path to the bath. Oh, we just met some lovely new Eichler neighbors (hi K+K!) who picked the same combo for their space.


You can see the now gray back door (left) and revamped bathroom door (right) –we added new matching door hardware to both. We refaced the bathroom door in luan –an easier process than my earlier sanding efforts, with better results.


We had wanted no door trim and naked wood door jambs, to mimic later Eichlers. That didn’t work out. It would have meant sheet-rocking the walls, and I just couldn’t get a decent finish on the jamb. So, we added this lower-profile trim and painted the door jamb dark gray.


At first (having invested hours) I resisted Karen’s idea of painting them. I later succumbed, and now love the look. I sprayed the brassy hinges matte black, for contrast. I also sprayed the back door hinges black, which contrasts nicely with the gray door and white wall/ceiling.


We thought fabric artwork would be a good fit for the wall opposite the washer/dryer, so ordered these Eames Small Dot swatches –I’m a long-time fan of this fabric, but at $100/yard, we were half hoping not to like them.


Of course, we did. The next bit makes me feel guilty –the swatches were actually large enough to frame, so we did. We didn’t pay a penny for them. There, I said it. Anyhow, we love how they look, perched on an IKEA picture shelf we added.


They have a dual purpose, masking an ugly sub-panel. Here’s the view out from the bathroom. There’s another beam we painted, and the light switch we replaced. Love how everything is monochrome here. Just don’t look down –we’re ignoring the beige VCT for now.


Here’s a view past our front door, into the laundry area. You can see how the color scheme works together, with the door jambs matching the beams, and pops of contrast from the doors. That gray for the washing wall is the same as our exterior, but looks much darker in this spot.


We need to add a countertop over the washer/dryer, and storage in-between. Oh, and the flooring will be replaced throughout. Other than that, it’s done. A lot of work for a tiny space, but it’s made such a difference. So much more to share soon…

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Our Eichler originally had cork flooring. We knew this already, then revealed ‘Exhibit A’ by removing a bookcase last year –with the ugly bookcase gone, we gained its cork footprint. As a big bonus, we also uncovered this never-painted wood paneling.


Can’t quite believe we left it like this for a whole year. But we did. It’s right by our front door, so we quickly got used to it. And it became a nostalgic talking point for visitors. This pic was before we’d restored the adjoining wall of wood paneling, to the right.


Despite its provenance, it’s not the most attractive feature. So we finally got round to hacking it up –surprisingly easy work, with a hammer and scraper. We also removed a few tiles around the edges, then leveled the surface.


With that done, we applied fresh adhesive and squeezed in some matching VCT –luckily, the previous owner left half a box behind. We bought a close-match baseboard, blended some walnut stain/Restor-A-Finish, and fixed it in place.


You can see the tile is a lighter color, where we patched it. We applied a few coats of wax after this, but you can still notice –no matter, we’ll be laying more VCT over this entire area when we finish the flooring for real…but that’s another story.


Oh, we also added some baseboard just around the corner –another job that’s been hanging around for a while. That whole wall behind the sofa had been sans-baseboard, and looked a little shabby. Again, we’d become used to it. All better now.


We’ve completed a few more little jobs, plus some bigger (and arguably, more exciting) projects too. Doing my best to catch up here, so please bear with me –more updates on the way…

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the corridor

I need to catch you up on some indoor projects. Let’s start with (you guessed it) the corridor. Remember our floorplan? Picture the street running along the bottom. All our bedrooms are at the top, and our entrance (marked “E”) is on the right.


When you push open our front door, here’s what you see –which reminds me, we need to switch that thermostat for a Nest at some point. To the left is our living area, and to the right is our corridor –it runs past our two smallest bedrooms, and into our master.


This end of the corridor is dark, with the main light source coming from the vertical glass panel, beside our front door. Oh, we painted this wall and replaced the light switches/plate.


We painted the ceiling here too –some people caulk them but we chose not to. It’s a pain in the…and we like the definition. We also re-sprayed the globe base, and re-painted the beams (we’d already painted them way back, before picking this darker shade of gray).


Right, the corridor –great for storage, with five closets, but dark, with minimal natural light. We’ll likely add a skylight when we re-coat the roof. For now, we gave everything a fresh coat of white, and replaced/painted all the closet panels and trim.


We also added these large Pantone prints. We had planned to hang them in our office (our business is design-based, so it kind of makes sense) but they fill this space nicely, and provide a welcome splash of color.


Farther down the corridor, our master hallway –you may recall we finished this area long ago. It’s a little brighter here, thanks to a wall of glass ahead, on the left. I love how this ceiling beam extends past our open vanity area, and into the master.


Here’s the view from the master, looking back towards the entrance. Okay, it’s just a corridor, but it looks a lot better than before, trust me. We still need to run new VCT flooring through here, but that’s it for now.


Oh, Karen says “quantity not quality” should be my mantra for this blog. She’s right, I do need to post more often. I hope to bang-out a few posts over the next week –if they’re rubbish (as we say in England) you can blame Karen.

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rock revival

Our outdoor living space is ‘in transition’…to put it politely. But we recently completed what we’d like to call ‘phase one’ of our landscaping –far from the finished look, all about creating some structure, and making things neater. Here’s our side patio, way back.


We love the original concrete. We don’t like the not-so-Cali trees, and the patchy, weed-filled lawn –it’s the ‘rainy season’ and it hasn’t rained for weeks, so a lawn just isn’t sustainable. For starters, we’re reducing its size, by defining some planting areas, like this one.


And this section, alongside our master. Initially, most people assume this is where our yard ends, but there’s a whole other (larger) yard through that gap. We decided to remove the fence, to connect the two spaces. But first, we confronted our secret shame…


…this pile of junk, on the other side –carpet, tile, bits of wood etc. removed from the house during the last year. Lucky for us, the city allows two free junk collections per year, so just the small matter of hauling it to the curb.


Pre-pickup, a few passers-by took some bits to re-purpose, which is good. I hope the city recycles at least some of the rest. We did consider transporting it ourselves, but our MINI Cooper isn’t the ideal vehicle. And you can’t beat free. Here’s the money shot.


With the fence gone, the space opens up, allowing a view of the back yard. We also defined this border, removed the trees, and planted two windmill palms –on reflection, we should have bought them bigger. But they’ll get there…eventually.


Our landscaping plan (and there is a plan, honest) is more about structure than planting. We just buy plants we like the look of. We consider the amount of sun and water they’ll need, but our main priority is looks. On that, somewhat shallow, note, we couldn’t resist these two.


You don’t see agave where we’re from, or palm trees for that matter –probably why we gravitate to them. It’s always puzzled us that so many people here prefer the English country garden look –we just don’t think it fits Eichlers, or California.


In the right-hand border (above) we planted golden sword –they like water, and it gets ‘boggy’ in this spot…when we do get rain. We also added spiky grasses in-between the windmill palms. Oh, and a ton of ‘salt and pepper’ rock.


In the distance, our nomadic umbrella plants. Here’s a closer look. After a month or so (notice the leaf infiltration) they seem pretty happy here, and have room to spread –we’re hoping they go crazy come spring…though we may regret saying that.


We had some rock already, but needed more –enter Cascade Rock. This place has a cool mid-century vibe (check the decorative block), a huge rock selection (as you’d hope) and lots of other landscaping materials. We’ll definitely return for ‘phase two’.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch (always wanted to say that) things were looking pretty tidy. Here’s a view of our (now gray) house. These benches are actually loungers, donated by our über-generous ex-neighbors, Clyde and Michael –thanks guys!


A little later, we added this yucca, another donation from neighbors, Kelly & G –thanks guys! He’s just bedding-in and, despite looking a little shabby, seems to be doing just fine. We’ll remove the lower leaves shortly, and he should thrive here.


We also added rock to the front, and we plan on planting here too –maybe agave, with a flash of color, fronting the cinder-block. To the left, probably two/three queen palms. And we’ll slay that evil leaning tree.


Sick of rock yet? We were by now, but we added yet more beside this path to our entrance. We also transplanted (pun intended) this sun-scorched flax –formerly it lived in the pic above. Our planned fence/secondary front door will run just behind its new spot.


Here’s the view looking back towards the street. I realize all this rock looks plain but it’s much neater than before, and a nice blank canvas. That’s our neighbor’s royal blue roofline, by the way. We don’t dig looking at it, or the industrial-sized AC unit and ductwork on the roof.


We see it all from here, and from our kitchen window (below). Our bottlebrush/maple combo does little to conceal it. We need a more dense screen, so (long-term) we’d like to add tall planting, extending above the fence. Not sure what –clumping bamboo maybe?


Either way, we’ll definitely add a lot more green on both sides of the path. Some planters would fit here too –to the right of the door, for starters, and maybe beside the window. And (as I keep saying) we’ll get that fountain working come spring.


We also put rock in a couple of backyard spots. First, this long thin strip, running alongside the unpainted rear of our house. We’ll be adding a row of golden barrel cactus here –beats the ugly bush thing that was here.


Second, this spot, home to our sorry-looking bird of paradise. It’s been touch and go for these guys, but they’re finally showing signs of life. We also ‘rescued’ a neighbor’s flax  (thanks for the donation, Zann!) and planted it on the end. It’ll live too.


That’s the gate leading to our courtyard entrance, and we’ll remove it when we add the front fence/door I’ve mentioned. Okay, nothing amazing but definitely progress. We’ll revisit the outdoor space in a month or so. Before that, I need to share some indoor projects…

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duck hunting

I’ve wanted these flying ducks for ages (pictured below in Mad Men). Kitsch, but iconic mid-century –made by Masketeers, from the 1960s onwards. Want became need when I saw them ‘in the flesh’ while visiting Eichler-owner friends in Concord [yeah, it’s your fault, Blaine].


Karen didn’t share my enthusiasm, saying: “I don’t hate them” –not quite a green light, but I figured they could live in the guest room. I sourced some on eBay –seemingly a good balance of price and condition. Talking of which, check out the battered box they arrived in.


And it was late, arriving on Boxing Day –shame, as they were a (non-surprise) Christmas gift from Karen. Ironic, as she’s not their biggest fan, but I hoped this would foster a connection. Oh, that’s a duck’s tail poking out the side. I opened it with dread. They were fine, if a little sad-looking.


This is the only ‘before’ pic I have of all three, and it’s a little blurred –sorry. Here’s a closeup of the worst-looking one. As per the listing, they had “a few nicks and scratches” and were pretty dirty. Overall, in decent shape though, and a snip at fifty bucks.


In the spirit of false economy, I Googled “cleaning brass” hoping for a kitchen cupboard recipe –baking soda and lemon juice sounded promising. Coincidentally, a neighbor had just dropped-off some lemons [thanks Randy!] so I gave that a go.


Notice the top two (post-clean) have cleaner wings, and definition in the black tips. I got all three to this stage, but it was tough-going, and the results were barely okay. “Brasso” sprang to mind, so I popped out to get some. Dirt cheap, and well worth the trip. Here’s the result.


I considered sanding/re-staining, but Restor-A-Finish did the trick. I also touched-up the wing tips with black paint. Within hours, these birds looked better than either of us could have hoped –so much so, Karen agreed to hang them in the lounge.


Each has a hole behind the rear wing, so hanging is easy. Placement was the head-scratcher –I tried dozens of combinations in Photoshop, before taking the plunge. I didn’t want them grouped too closely, but did want them to relate to each other. I settled on this.


Happy how they look. After literally getting my ducks in a row (sorry) I aim to metaphorically follow suit –that means posting more often, and finally catching you up on our progress. In the meantime, have a great New Year’s, and we’ll see you on the other side.

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eichler christmas 2

Today is Boxing Day, a holiday in England, so we’re taking it easy. Perfect opportunity to post this (imaginatively titled) sequel –you may remember last year’s post, illustrating our failure to match neighbors’ festive efforts. This year, we were determined to do better.


We hung our lights at Thanksgiving (with leaves still on the trees), stapling string on the fascia reverse, and hooking the bulbs in place. We’ll replace the string with something more sturdy (fishing wire perhaps?) and paint over it when we tackle the ceilings.


Changes inside too –a bigger tree than last year, thanks to Kelly & G, our kind (truck-owning) friends/neighbors. Last year’s was the biggest we could fit in our MINI. We love how Doug (our real tree) smells, but next year’s will likely be more MCM-appropriate.


We also added a wire wreath above our fireplace (bought from CB2, last January) and wrapped it with lights. We plan to hang this at the front of our house next year, once we install a fence and secondary front door. This Ethanol-fueled fire is also new.


The fire is low on heat, but looks good, fits perfectly, and needs no clean-up –works for us. A year of change in the neighborhood too, with four new Eichler owners, including Frank, who completely upstaged us with these alternate red/white lights, along his pitch/cinder-block wall.


We’ll probably definitely steal that idea next year, and switch half our bulbs for green. Seeing Kelly & G’s lights (below) last year made us feel very inadequate, and they’re equally stunning this time. I’m also jealous of how straight the bulbs are on both these houses.


Love how people emphasize the architectural form of each model. Others just use what they have –this bush, for example, was begging for some sparkle. Nancy’s home also has the most stunning landscaping addition, which you can see more of here.


Randy’s another new owner, who’s done plenty to his Eichler since arriving. These lights hug the pitch, like ours, but extend all the way around the side –visible from the street on this big corner lot. Kudos, as it took us long enough just to string-up the front lights.


I’ve been admiring Zann and Jeff’s lights (below) for a while, but they were off on Christmas Day –I took this pic on New Year’s Day (I’m all about holiday photography). Love the effect created by placing lights behind opaque glass –another element we may have to copy next year.


Most of the Eichlers in our street have holiday lights, but not many on the parallel roads behind, which is a shame. This Eichler is an exception, albeit a subtle one. I love this flat-roofed model, and always admire it when we walk the neighborhood.


I planned to feature more homes, but either they weren’t lit up during my Christmas Day walk, or the pics turned out too bad. So that’s your lot. Just time to share one of my favorite gifts from yesterday –these Christmassy slippers –as cozy and comfy as they look.


Hope you had a warm and magical Christmas Day. Unsurprisingly, we’re planning a few projects over the festive period, putting me even further behind on posting. I’ll aim to squeeze one in before the new year –just in case, have a good one!

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side steps

Still here. Still trying (and failing) to balance doing and posting. But I’ll press on. Having painted the patio and front, we moved around the side. This path leads around that corner to our front door.


And also back out to the street. We plan to add a fence and secondary front door here (as per this house, up the road) closing this area off from the street, and adding outdoor living space.


This wall faces south, but gets plenty of shade, thanks to fencing and trees. Still, some prep needed, so we followed our trusted routine –fill, bondo, sand, repeat.


Then we painted the siding. One pic does little to convey how long this took, but I’m sure you can imagine. You can see the beams and fascia are still brown, as is the wall in the distance.


Around the corner, our entrance courtyard. Last time I shared this, we replaced those green panels. Before that, we removed a bush, re-homed some plants, and shifted lots of earth.


And that’s how it stayed, save for some paint-testing on the window trim and adjacent siding. We rejected the blueish gray shown here. Anyhow, Karen got on with painting this siding.


And I attacked this ugly front door trim –you probably can’t tell, but there’s a built up layer, on top of the original trim. We figure they must have installed an external screen at some point.


Here’s a closer look. You can see how far it protruded –compare the horizontal portion, where I’ve removed the extra trim, to the vertical. We got rid, then sanded the crap out of it.


We also added some insulation and worked for hours to get the door fitting better, Down below, Karen (AKA Bondo Queen) reconstructed the corner of this sill/step…or whatever you call it. Then we painted all the trim.


We planned to repaint the front door too, but our remaining Sherwin Williams’ “High Strung” paint (pardon the blurred pic) just wouldn’t go on well. Truthfully, we haven’t had much luck with Sherwin Williams paint.


So, we took a trip to Home Depot (saving 10 minutes each way in the car) and color matched it, in Behr paint. It covered beautifully, with an unexpected bonus –the color was way better. Ironically, closer to the original Sherwin Williams swatch.


It had looked more ‘apple’ than we wanted (check the pics further up for a comparison). This was yellower…if that’s a word. Small downside –now we had to repaint the panels to match.


That done, we changed the door knob. As you’ve probably realized, we can’t help but ‘tweak’. We had installed a Schlage Orbit, but switched to this Bell shape. We’re matching all the internal doors, and prefer the keyless version of the Bell.


Neither shape is an exact match for the original Eichler hardware, but both are era-appropriate, so it comes down to preference. Another non-original addition, our doorbell. With the siding painted, it looks better than ever, don’t you think?


Now for some harder work –beam repair. Finishing this was on our ‘must do before winter’ list. The eleven beams on this side of the house (I counted) are all that stood in our way.


First, we sanded them back, to expose any problem areas –a few large cracks, but mostly minor stuff, on the beam ends. We applied plenty of bondo, re-sanded, then painted.


Next we sanded, filled, then painted this run of fascia board and flashing. That’s our white foam roof poking over the top –we didn’t inherit many prior improvements, but this is a big (and welcome) one.


Here’s this walkway with everything painted. Getting there, but still some brown in the picture.


We repeated our beam/fascia routine round by our entrance. You can see the ceilings are distinctly cream-colored, and still need painting –a separate project (as I’ve mentioned) for next year.


Back to the remaining brown on this side –just this wall, plus the one alongside the path to our back yard. Oh, after we add the front fence we’ll remove this gate, which will open this area to the rear. Hopefully you follow me.


This siding faces west, and takes a real sun battering. We were convinced it needed replacing, but took a stab at repairing it. At the top, industrial strength caulk, which we chipped away –no small task, and it left a mess.


We figured adding some trim would conceal the damage. We bought something to fit, and cut the end at an angle, to meet the existing trim (to the left) on the pitched section.


With a little caulk and some paint, it looks like it’s always been there. We also re-sanded/painted the fascia here, and gave the siding a couple more coats. It all came out beautifully, and should be good for plenty more years.


For the final section, we just repaired/painted the beams and fascia, though I just realized I don’t have an ‘after’ pic to-hand. You’ll have to trust me. We will tackle the siding here next year, when we also plan to reinstate panels under that window.


Revisiting our plan, that’s the patio (1), front (2) and entrance (3) done. Just the back (4) remaining, which extends to the right of the above pic.


But that will wait until the spring. A relief to me, and probably to you, as my posts should be a little more varied from now on.


Soon I need to show you our ‘landscaping’ progress, with a clue in this recent pic. Yeah, there’s some rock involved. Oh, we need to run electric to that fountain. I’ll add it to the list…

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up front

This blog is hopelessly out of sync. Maybe we should stop doing, so I can start posting. Either way, I need to catch you up, starting with (you guessed it) more painting. Let me show you where we’re at, via this floorplan (ours, minus one bedroom) from House & Home, July 1955.


So far, we’ve painted all the walls around our patio area (1) shown below. That leaves the front (2), the courtyard entrance (3), and the rear (4). And that’s the order we’ve decided to follow, starting with what’s on show from the street.


Just over a year ago, we installed this light fixture and Eichler number. Back in April we gave the cinder-block wall and cross beam a fresh coat of white. We also removed some wayward Loquat trees, and added some rock. And here’s where we’re at.


Tidy enough but very brown. And tired-looking, up-close. There isn’t much siding on the front, so the task didn’t seem too daunting. And it wouldn’t have been, but for the heat. This was Labor Day weekend (see, I told you I was out of sync) and temps were 100+ degrees.


And the house faces west, so gets the blazing afternoon sun. At times, the heat was ridiculous. We were hot. And so was the house. After nearly 60 such summers, no surprise this front-facing siding looks a little rough. Surprising it’s still here at all.


We punched-out a couple of old locks on the garage doors, and plugged them with dowels. We removed multiple hooks, nails, screws, staples, and two flag pole brackets –we’re not about to hang a US flag (or an English one, for that matter) so they had to go.


Once we were done taking stuff off, we needed to put something on –wood filler. And lots of it. Karen has developed a technique of tackling these fine surface cracks, by diluting the filler and painting it on. We used plenty of bondo too, mainly at the base of the garage doors.


Come about 3pm, working out-front was almost unbearable. But we carried on, aided by this handy heavy parasol –great until you’re too high-up. At times, we honestly shouldn’t have been out there. But we were determined to finish that weekend. Including the beams.


While sanding this beam (above our cinder-block wall) I used the patio view as motivation –hoping it’d soon look that good. We also re-sanded the beam above the garage doors, plus all the siding. Once prep was done (the whole of day one) we began painting.


As usual, it’s all about the grooves. This wideline siding is a pain, and the best way to cover the deep grooves is with a brush. Cut a long story short, we painted all the siding, plus the window trim (in Pier, by Behr). I also sanded this aluminum bug screen. Yes, sanded. Now it sparkles.


We also removed and re-sprayed our silver/gray light fixture. See pic 3 for the ‘before’. Honestly, we were never happy with the color –we wanted stainless steel and got dull gray. Black is obviously a better accent for our scheme. Hopefully it’ll hold up in the sun.


We spent hours on this white cross beam. Sand, fill, paint, repeat –eventually, the finish was pretty good. We used our custom-matched dark gray. We had considered painting it lime green (to mirror our front door) but decided against it.


That just left the brown fascia. Ours is thicker than many neighbors. We guess it was built-up when our foam roof was installed, a couple years back. The top half is covered in unpainted flashing, and really stands out. We’d be painting it all dark gray.


But first it needed some work. Initially we feared it needed replacing/refacing. There was a large gap between two boards in the center of the pitch, and some other sections had shifted a little over the years. Still, we took a stab at repairing it.


We bashed and nailed some pieces back into place. Then we restored the fascia’s form, using bondo, wood filler, and plenty of sanding. We tackled the peak with this crazy-tall ladder, kindly loaned by our next-door neighbor –thanks Maria!


Once we were happy, we finally painted the fascia…a couple times. This made a big difference. We do still need to paint all the external ceilings (and internal, actually) but that’s a project all of its own. One we’ll tackle next year.


During this project, we got many compliments from passers-by. I get the sense it’s not typical for people to paint their own house…especially in 100 degree heat. We’re just pleased people can see we’re making an effort. Hopefully it will divert attention from our front lawn.


Brown is certainly the new green around here (and gray is the new brown, clearly). But we do have the drought excuse. Talking of green, I need to share our ‘tweaked’ front door color, and show you how our courtyard entrance is shaping up. Back with another update soon, promise.

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the wall

This is the exterior of our master bedroom wall, around the corner from our side patio. It faces north, and gets plenty of shade, so should have been easy to prep. Not so. This became a big project, hence the dedicated post.


This wall is protected from the sun but not the rain, thanks to a lack of overhang. Also, the siding has low path clearance –when water is allowed to build-up here, it gets soaked. Over time, this has caused significant wood rot.


At first look, the siding didn’t appear that damaged. But we started poking around, and quickly realized we had problems. As we worked our way across the bottom edge, several sections crumbled away. Not good.


We pulled off most of it. On reflection, we should have punched out the siding from the inside. Instead, we pried, levered and cajoled…and it took ages. One board remained, having been replaced following our (pre-purchase) pest report.


Two small sections at either end were good too. The wall is insulated, so we left that alone, but we did re-cover with builder’s paper. While we had access, we also ran electric for two light fixtures, at either end, and an exterior outlet, bottom-left –very handy


Our super-generous (now ex) neighbors, Clyde and Michael, donated some spare sheets of siding. We added this to a few offcuts we had, giving us enough to piece the wall back together. We had the luxury of painting it before install.


We had to get creative with some of our offcuts. The siding overlaps, but we were short of an underneath piece –we manufactured this one, by cutting to size, then chiseling a strip off the entire length. Fiddly, but it worked. This was one of many improvised fixes.


Fast-forward (a lot) and the siding was all in place. But we still had work to do. If you look closely, you’ll notice some taped-up cord, running across the fascia. This had been visible (loosely fixed and untidy) since we arrived. And we had a plan to sort it.


We bought a few flat cord covers (from Home Depot) to install just beneath the fascia. We nailed these in place, across the width of the wall, ensuring they lined-up precisely. We then concealed the cord inside, and snapped-on the covers.


The dimensions are close to our exterior trim, which runs atop most of the siding. Once painted, we figured it would resemble this trim, and blend in nicely. We painted that, then the fascia itself, and gave the siding a final coat.


Next, we prepared our lighting fixtures. These two down-lights were kindly donated by another ex-neighbor, Jon. We figured they’d be perfect to light the path at either end. We loved the form, but weren’t keen on the greenish gray color.


So, we sprayed them black (what else?) and now they fit our scheme perfectly. We added some Testors Dullcote (which is great stuff, by the way) to protect them. You can see how the cord tidy/trim came out here too.


Inside our master, we fitted light switches at either side of the bed. We only inherited one original Bakelite switch plate (as I showed you here) but I found three more on eBay, for a few dollars. They aren’t in perfect condition, but look like they belong.


These fixtures don’t give off masses of light, but they do their job –lighting the path (this one running from patio to back yard) and taking care of this previous dark spot. We think they look pretty slick too.


Oh, we’re re-using the damaged siding we removed. We’re building a siding-clad fence in the next few months, to the side of the garage. As it’s only seven feet tall, we can re-use everything we removed, minus the rotten bits.


This wall was a major pain in the hassle, but worth it. Not only did we gain valuable siding replacement experience, we also gained an outlet and two down-lights. We love how it turned out. And that’s this side of the house done. Check.

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