Sunday, June 25, 2006


I know why people get vinyl windows...

One of the greatest travesties, in my neighborhood at least, is the replacement of the original Cliff May-designed wood windows and doors. Due to our weather out here in Southern California, 50 year-old doors and windows are usually still in pretty good condition.

Prior to now I had always thought of a number of practical reasons why someone would trade the windows in for vinyl replacement windows: cost, ignorance, misguided or non-existent sense of style, alleged energy efficiency, noise redution, etc. But, with my current project rehabbing the courtyard doors and windows I've come to the conclusion that it's really an issue of physical exhaustion. Here's about where I am right now:

At the very least it's a four-step process to do it correctly:
  1. Sanding (this is actually two-steps: 60 grit to "dig out" spots where the paint peeled and 150 grit to clean it all up)
  2. Primer
  3. 1st Color Coat
  4. 2nd Color Coat

That's my workflow for "pretty nice." Rushing I can do it in about 5 hours per door or window including masking, dry times, and cleanup. After the courtyard I've got 3 more doors, 2 more full-height windows, and 4 half-windows. Yay! Here's a lcoser look at the sanding. As you can see, it's the bottoms that get the most wear and need the most prep.

Something that little window on the bottom. Since moving in I've tried to get it to open without luck. Finally, I got a razor blade and cut the paint on the outside. I found something pretty interesting:

I think the last time it was opened was over 20 years ago.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Don't Breathe the Fumes

That's what it said on the side can of Rust-Oleum "Aluminum" paint. I should have listened. By 5PM last Saturday I had a massive headache and a killer sunburn, but I got a lot done.

With spending more time in the pool I've begun to notice a lot more in the back pool area that bugs me. Take, for example, the multi-hued nature of fascia boards. Some were white, some are dark blue, and in the back by the pool they were a pastel blue color:


...and on the house:

I'm slowly but surely carrying out my plan of blue-radication. I want to make the fascia boards all around the house consistent so they got the same silvery-grey treatment as the front.


I know it's not that big of a change. But just try and envision it with the dark beams and the doors and windows appropriately painted.

About those fumes...

I had two other side projects as well. One of the biggest eyesores in my pool area is the pool equipment. The location is dubious -- so much so that every week while cleaning I practically trip over it and exclaim, "Why the !*$*!#$* did they put the pool equipment here?" So I had several options: 1. Pay to have it moved ($$$$$$$$$), 2. Build a cover, 3. Somehow make it look cool. Here's what I did:



We've gone from an ugly necessity of pool sanitation to what looks like a piece of post-modern art produced by a 1st year mechanical engineering student on a bender.

But wait, there's more!

My headache wasn't bad enough as a result of the pool equipment painting so I decided to tackle a rather ugly (and rusting) metal fence nearby. At first I was doing it purely for aesthetics but as a progressed I realized the rust was farther along than I thought and this paint includes built-in rust inhibitor. So, as my favorite perpetrator of securities fraud would say, "It's a good thing!"



I really like the exterior aluminum / stainless steel / satin chrome acceents on the house. I'm also pleasantly surprised with the quality of the paint. The fence looks great at anything more than 1ft and the pool equipment looks pretty good. I think I may do a light sanding and 2nd coat on the pool equipment (at least the big areas) to get more even consistency. I did no surface prep at all this time.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Wedding Season

So I've been a little busy with going to weddings. Does this sound like the beginning of an excuse? Well, it is. I probably could have gotten more done this weekend but with one day gone I felt like spending at least half of yesterday relaxing. And so I did.


I've been a bit hesitant to write this up since I'm a bit disappointed in the results. Unless you were born into a family of builders like this guy (whose restovation I greatly admire Drummond House ) you'll find yourself having some moments of disappointment. And those of you who have even "dabbled" in home improvement have assuredly experienced this. For me, it's the thought that comes from spending 4 hours on something -- taking care to try and do it "right" -- only to find that the results reek of lazy corner-cutting.

I wish someone would make a comprehensive book with best practices for home restoration -- something that at least gives a good starting point for thing like removing flakey paint, treating the wood, and repainting. A comprehensive "restoration guide." Unfortunately, if it exists, I haven't found it yet.


This was on a side of the house not really visible from anywhere around the yard and as far as I can tell, had only been painted 3 times in the last 51 years. I whipped out the handy paint scraper (great exercise, btw) and even have some battle scars. Unfortunately, the scraper tore of the wood pretty good, which isn't surprising in hindsight given the state of neglect. I followed up with an orbital sander using 100 grit. Then I primed and painted:


This photo doesn't really show it but that fascia board is more pock-marked than a sophomore band geek's face. You can't really see it unless you're A. in my neighbor's yard or B. on a ladder next to it in mine. But bugs me. Should I have used a wire brush attachment on my drill instead? Anyhow, it's a lot better than it was, but I'm still a little disappointed.

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