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Entries from September 2016

Painting #RENOVATE48TH

September 29, 2016

This is the LONG overdue post on how we painted our house – by ourselves!

If you missed the post on how we decided on our exterior color you can read that here. Today I’m going to unpack how we went about the physical painting of the house and all the nitty-gritty details that everyone forgets about (including me!). When I write these posts I’m ALWAYS shocked by how much work these projects can be,  and how time consuming it is to caulk FIVE BILLION NAIL HOLES!! Okay, I kid. But as you will soon read, paint doesn’t cover a multitude of flaws unless you apply some putty and caulk first.


We picked Pure White by Sherwin Williams for our exterior color. Here Nick is testing out a patch on the West side of our house. The stars happened to align that weekend and we bought our paint the when they had a 20% off deal – this helps when you’re spending $$$$ on paint.

 Getting Down to Business

After deciding on our color we pressure washed the entire house and scraped off paint that was peeling. We underestimated how long it would take to do this part, we spent an entire week of evenings pulling every last nail that had been left behind by the siding that was on top of the cedar. After this Nick caulked around each window and I caulked all the holes and spaces where the boards met so that the paint would make the siding look seamless. The one downside to picking white is that you see various imperfections but I like to think that its an old house and its not supposed to be perfect. We didn’t focus too much on the old windows as they will be replaced within the next year.

We solicited some help from a friend who had a spray gun and the expertise from being a house painter in his previous job. This was truly invaluable, spray guns take a certain skill in operating and cleaning after use. It took us about 2 hours to tape off the two doors, 11 windows and the roof over the two porches which meant lots of paper and tape to get the job done correctly.


The coverage was amazing and because of the rain we didn’t apply two coats. In fact, we only used about 10 gallons of paint total–excellent coverage and the paint sprayer did not suck up a lot of paint like some tend to do.  The paint sprayer has two parts you can connect to the nozzle: one that goes into a 5 gallon bucket and one that you hook up a small one quart reservoir bottle to.  The cleanup was a cinch–just take the nozzle apart and clean each little piece in a sink and stick the jetpack in a bucket of hot soapy water and turn it on to flush the tube.



The house when we bought it in August 2015 – Who would have thought we had windows behind those bushes!?


The house as of July 2016 – After tearing off the green press board siding and shingles, and replacing with new bevel cedar siding and T1-11 on The Skirt.

(read about this transformation HERE).



Pretty impressive, right? My girlfriend recently had her house painted and said it cost her around $6k, so if you have the DIY spirit, you can save a big chunk of change doing it yourself.


This last photo is my favorite. Eventually all of our windows will be like this one with the black frame. It really makes the window ‘POP’ and helps the house have a modern element without detracting from its original 1923 simplicity.


Painting #RENOVATE48TH

September 20, 2016

The time has come! This old house has been given a fresh coat of paint and we’re going to tell you all about how we did it. I’ll be honest, I have found it easy to walk into someone else’s home and give them ideas about paint colors but when it came time for us to paint ours I was suddenly on the fence about what I had always thought I wanted.

I knew from the get-go that I wanted the monochrome look with some rustic farmhouse touches. I’d had my heart set on a matte charcoal-black house since we purchased the home last summer. But as time passed I just couldn’t see it being black – it didn’t fit. So I decided to go white -a decision that I haven’t regretted. Nick was totally on board when I pitched him the idea of a white house so I while I narrowed the field in terms of inspiration he got to work figuring out how we could most efficiently paint the house.



I love how the white is bold without trying to hard to look modern – our home is almost 100-years old and I wanted it to look fresh without trying to be something it wasn’t.


This photo does a wonderful job of capturing how the bevel cedar siding will look with the craftsman trim. The trim will be the same color as the siding so it’s something to consider when picking our color.


This photo illustrates how the dark framed windows will look interact with the white. Photo credit

Narrowing the Field

Our first step was to bring a few swatches that we thought could work and hold them up against various planes of the house (the front, the side, etc) just to see how they looked in different lighting situations. Here are the three swatches that we brought in:


We painted it on a few sections of the house and decided we liked the Sherwin Williams – Pure white the best. The other two were a bit too yellow once applied.


Here you can see the impact of the new paint.

Stay tuned for the long overdue update on how we went about painting this old house!


September 20, 2016

When we last checked in we had replaced all of the existing cedar shingles with new beveled cedar siding. It gives the exterior of the house a much cleaner look and is congruent with pictures of the house from the late 1950’s.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

This post will outline our plan for the lowest 4-feet of the house, which we fondly refer to as “The Skirt.” In this photo you can see that its covered in wood shingles. This irregular cedar “shake” siding was used in early New England construction, and was revived in Shingle Style and Queen Anne style architecture in the late 19th century.


We will replaced the wood shingles with Texture 1-11, T1-11 or T111 (“tee-one-eleven”), a durable plywood sheet siding with grooves to imitate vertical shiplap siding. There is also a product known as reverse board-and-batten RBB that looks similar but has deeper grooves. We considered used the Hardi version of RBB but we plan to lift the house long-term which would mean ripping it all off again – so we went with the less-expensive option. Both T-11 and RBB sheets are quick and easy to install as long as they are installed with compatible flashing at butt joints.


Step one included tearing off all the existing shingles and pulling all the protruding nails. We found that you could see right into our basement in a few spots so Nick ended up having to rip a few boards to cover them up so that the T1-11 could be securely nailed to the house.


After patching all of the holes and pulling an excessive number of nails we covered everything with Building paper to protect against moisture. You can tell from the photo above Sage was clearly over the project and resigned himself to digging and sleeping his hole the rest of the day.


After stapling the Building Paper onto the house we secured the galvanized flashing underneath the last row of cedar siding to protect against water sitting on the top edge of the T1-11. This proved hard than we anticipated! We took the back of a hammer and attempted to pry the bottom edge of the siding out creating a space for us to slide the flashing into. We found that we had to be very gentle prying the hammer back otherwise the cedar would split and we’d have to replace the entire row. It was slow going, but over the course of the evening we finished the entire perimeter of the house.


img_3913We added some trim where the T1-11 met the lowest row of bevel siding and two trim pieces on each of the corners. It looks so much better all buttoned up!

Materials List

  • SmartSide 48 in. x 96 in. Strand Panel Siding. Found here: Home Depot
  • Galvanized Steel L Flashing. Found here: Home Depot
  • 1-Ply 60-Minute Building Paper. Found here:  Home Depot
  • Dewalt Stapler. Found here: Home Depot


September 9, 2016

In the last post we covered tearing off the first layer of siding, see here if you missed it.  Today I’m going to outline how we went about the process of re-siding the upper and lower parts of the house, some inspiration and the materials we used.




The shingles were in pretty bad shape in spots so instead of saving them we opted to tear it all off (both the top and bottom sections) and continue the lap siding all the way up the side of the house. You can still see where the green press board is stuck under our electrical piping, and if you look hard you can see the outline of the original house numbers over the door.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

When  we tore off the shingles on the upper half of the house we found that the tar paper stopped at the first floor rim joist. This may have been done to help the attic breath, but it also meant that there was no secondary moisture barrier. House wrap functions as a weather-resistant barrier, preventing rain from getting into the wall assembly while allowing water-vapor to pass to the exterior. If moisture from either direction is allowed to build up within stud or cavity walls, mold and rot can set in and fiberglass or cellulose insulation  will lose its *R-value due to heat-conducting moisture.

*R-value is a measure of thermal resistance for materials such as walls, panels and insulation, it gives an indication of how quickly they will lose their heat. The higher the value of R, the better the thermal performance and heat retention of the material or assembly, and the slower any heat loss.



We covered it with Tyvek home wrap down past the existing tar paper, which meant removing two laps of the cedar siding and replacing it after the home wrap (seen below) so that we’d have a water-tight membrane.


Exterior house - home wrap.JPG

Following the application of the home wrap we continued the beveled cedar siding up the rest of the main house, and the annex off the back of the house.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset




All finished! Please ignore the obscene bathroom window that refuses to close – hence the tape! The new one is sitting in the garage but we’re waiting to tackle the bathroom after the exterior is finished. Stay tuned for how we chose our exterior paint color up next!

Materials List:

  • Pre-primed finger jointed (6 x 1/2) bevel Cedar siding. *Compton Lumber is our go-to for all wood products in Seattle. They are friendly, knowledgeable and the quality of their wood products beat out big box home improvement stores by a long shot.
  • Stainless Ring-shank nailsStainless steel is recommended as Cedar reacts with certain metals. Ring-shank is important because the nail acts like a screw, where once it nailed it will resist backing out. Found here: Home Depot
  • Tyvek Home Wrap. Found here: Home Depot
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