Scrape it, Sand it, Caulk it, Prime it : Exterior Restoration Part 2

The scaffolding situation got pretty intense. For the most part, each side, or elevation, of the house was done separately according to the scaffolding. It’s too hard to move, so a side was completed before moving on.

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Now that the scaffolding is gone, I can let this fun fact out : our workers left a lot of their tools and things in the bedrooms on the second floor, because it was easier. They would show up in the morning, climb the scaffolding, and go through the window to get what they need. It was not uncommon for me to be leaving for school, and to say hello to the guys as they climbed in the house. Pretty amazing.

Gutters re-built, and primed!

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The process to re-build and paint the house was pretty intense. First, any rotted wood was replaced. Approximately 25% of the siding had to go. The siding was replicated and replaced, along with any window woodwork. The entire house was hand-scraped down to bare wood, and every nail hole was filled with caulk. Each board was also individually caulked, and then the house could be hand-primed, and then hand-painted. Absolutely nothing was done with a sprayer or a roller. This should last us a really, really long time, compared to a regular repaint.

Nail holes, board, and all seams being caulked.

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COLORS. This was neat. Picking a color scheme was stressful and amazing. I LOVE love love coming up with color schemes for a room, but somehow it’s less daunting than the exterior of a house, especially one this big. You can’t really screw it up. Or, you can, but then you become poor(er). My contractor wasn’t used to a homeowner wanting to come up with a scheme. I had been working on a scheme since the day we looked at the house. Impass? Maybe? Besides looking at real houses, I also got some inspiration from “America’s Painted Ladies,” which is a phenomenal book. But really, when it comes to it, I get most of my painting inspiration and color schemes from fabrics. I went to a fabric store, and looked for fabrics that inspired me, that had between 5-8 colors. This is the one I loved most :

Fabric Inspiration

It’s hard to tell from this picture, but I was drawn to the gray-blue, the red, the purple, and the gold. The peachy color, not as much. The big “color meeting” came. I had my swatch, Scott had paint samples. They were THE SAME COLORS. What? Both of us were geared up to fight for our scheme, and they were the same. We both wanted a gray for the body color – his was a little darker, and mine was lighter. We went with mine. What we thought was going to be a loooong arduous meeting was about 15 minutes. I picked the body color, and Cody, our painter is MAGICAL with colors, so I trusted him to do the placement of everything else. In the end, the girl has 6 colors on her.

The jerkinhead, halfway painted.
You couldn’t see any of these details before…. or it was hard to!

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This is also about where the guys discovered that the turret was rotted on one side, up through all three stories. Up until now, things had gone relatively smoothly, and we had been surprised that there were…. well, no surprised. A rotted turret clearly is an expensive fix, but we had to do it right. In some parts, the wood had rotted so much, you could see into the house.

Check out the rot!

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Pieces of the moldings were taken off, and shipped away to be replicated. So, for about a month, we lived with a tarp on the turret. Pretty, huh?

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Also, in the middle of this, Jackson Street sold. Yay! So we moved into Martin Place, onto the third floor. The DAY AFTER we moved, the street in front of our house disappeared. Franklin is doing some SERIOUS (and awesome) re-building of streets and sewers, and we lost our road for many months. Thank goodness we moved in when we did!

This was the scene when we woke up the day after moving day. SERIOUSLY.


There were some good things, though. The roof over the kitchen was put on:


The city poured us a new driveway, for free, after they ripped the old one out with the street (just the end of the driveway).


And somehow, we were still smiling about the whole process!

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Did you miss Part 1? Find it HERE.


  1. I use fabrics and dishes too! But, wow. When the contractor and the owner have the same ideas and are both ready to fight for their choices, I’d say the old house was having her way with the both of you. Love it.

    1. Ha! Yes. You are totally right. She knew what she wanted, didn’t she? Good thing it worked out okay!

      The contractor asked me what my favorite color was early in the process. I told him purple, but that I didn’t think the house should be purple (but I wasn’t opposed to touches of it). He put up samples or purple one day, and I came home and almost vomited. I called him, and he didn’t even say hi. He just answered and said, “don’t worry. I hate it, too.”

  2. What kind of wood do you think the original siding was? What kind of wood did you use to replace the rotted boards? I love you color scheme!!!

    1. Thank you so much! We THINK the original wood is redwood. The wood we used to replace rotten pieces were cedar. I’m so glad you love the color scheme!

  3. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to get anything done for a week now that I’ve found your blog! Love your work, both the writing and the renovating! We are contemplating the purchase of a Victorian with an exterior in similar shape. I’m worried about things like lead paint dust when they scrape and remove the old exterior paint and rotted parts. Did you have issues with this at all? Thanks!

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