The Cool House: stain
Showing posts with label stain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stain. Show all posts

Monday, November 03, 2014

Spucing Up

Hard to believe that it's been almost a year since I last posted anything on this blog. It's not that we haven't been tending to The Cool House rather that social media has changed a lot about the way I document my life and that goes for the house too.  I'm more likely to take a thousand word snap of something we've done and post it right there to Facebook or twitter. One click and I've saved all that tedious typing. You could say instagram killed this blog.

But it would be unfair to ask you to search through all the hundreds of photos of sunsets and kittens to find one that shows the renovated pool, or the color we ended up with in the sitting room after several, expensive redoes.  So, here, in no particular order, are the projects we undertook in the first ten months of 2014.

Pool renovation: all the pipes, skimmers and reruns were replaced. This job entailed digging up and replacing half the brick patio but it mbas meant no more leaks. Also the pool light works again and we have a new, quieter energy saving pump. The pool housing is screened off with a nicer replacement for the termite eaten fence and next Spring a gas heater will be installed.

We lost a couple of trees and big rhododendrons to last year's severe winter, which Neal the Landscaper said was an opportunity, especially as the pool guys had to rip through the shrubbery to lay new pipes so hey presto one May weekend we got a new awesome shrubbery. well, almost new, The Guy insisted on keeping a dog wood because it looks spectacular from the master window for one week in May. It will probably come crashing down this winter!

The kitchen patio, front path and steps were re-grouted and broken bluestone slabs were replaced. We also installed four Marvin windows in the den, downstairs bath and basement where the rot or weather had damaged them beyond repair.

While all that was going on we started the BIG PAINT JOB, which kept getting bigger as we progressed form room to room. I'd taken three months to narrow down the fifty odd shades of gray and gold to half a dozen. We used Benjamin Moore Aura paint on all the walls and baseboards, which has no off gases and dries to a tough knock resist finish; the painters replaced moldings as needed. Eventually after much trial and error, we chose Collingwood for the kitchen and second and fourth bedrooms, Moonshine for the great room, stairs, hall and balcony and one bath, Camouflage for the third bedroom & the den. My office ended up Golden Tan, the third bedroom Buena Vista Gold, the laundry Metropolitan and we matched the original dusky pink tiles in the downstairs bath to Peau de Soie. The painters took advantage of the cool, dry summer and stained the house Mission Brown, with doors in Marvin Bronze to match the windows.

Last but certainly most significantly, we converted from oil to gas. This was prompted when our oil guy telling us he couldn't keep the monster burner going much longer coincided with an oil bill that cost more than our first new car. I won't bore you with the details of the 6 month saga of no heat or no hot water, repairs, work-arounds and crossing our fingers it took to get us to October 8 when National Grid finally turned the gas on. It's also not the prettiest project, and it took one guy an entire 8AM-4PM day to get the monster out of the basement but it did finally get done. We worried about an ugly gas meter outside our beautiful house but we managed to hide it behind an estate rhododendron. Can you see it in the photo above? No? Neither can anyone else! More importantly we can take showers without screaming and the air coming out of the vents is toasty so it's probably the project that impacts our comfort level the most.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's all over now sixties blue

In anticipation of the arrival of new shades for two bedrooms I stained and sealed the triangular window frame, touched up one bedroom wall and got two coats of Navajo white over the blue wall in the den. I really should have primed the latter first... I'll be painting a third - and hopefully final- coat tomorrow. And when I say final I mean final until we've chosen a paint colour we like for that room because enough with the Navajo White, it's been almost six years of blah and I need something that says I chose this not I was afraid of paint. Maybe something inspired by the sunset last week...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

More staining

A year ago I finished the front stairs and I joked that I would get around to the back stairs in the New Year. Well at least I got there before this year ended.
Inspired by the beauty of the newly stained siding I finally got on and stained the back stairs. They were the most hellish job as some joker had glued the carpet to the stairs and carpet adhesive sticks really, really well y'know. I started this job with Verity's help in July. We sanded and sanded and then the humid weather kicked in so I had to leave it for a while. When it got cooler and I could open the windows I started with the adhesive remover. Several coats of adhesive remover, which you have to remove after it has worked its magic. Then I stained, and I realised that the stairs were still sticky so I stripped them again and again and again. Five different products and four months later and hurrah the back stairs match the front stairs.Two nights later Sadie fell down the back stairs and gouged a big track in her effort to hang on. The work never ends.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


I can't get over the difference that the paint and stain has made to the outside of the house. The redwood stain has hardly changed the colour but has added a depth and richness to the siding while enhancing the variations in the wood. We opted to match the colour of the replacement windows on the windows and doors and you really can't tell which is old and which is new. A bizarre but really attractive thing has happened with the garage doors: when the sun shines it projects a shadow of the trees onto the doors - we have our very own movie show each evening. How cool is that? I presume it has something to do with the bronze tone in the paint but I'm guessing here. It certainly didn't happen with the horrible "cedar tan"

Monday, September 19, 2005


Summer is almost over and winter will be here before we know it, so we are taking advantage of the unseasonably clement weather to waterproof the house. The painter was keen to start power-washing the house while the weather was still warm and last week they washed away seven years of mold, moss and dirt to reveal the beautiful redwood beneath.
We had no idea that it would come up so beautifully - from grey to amber in two days. I almost wanted to leave it at that but I am persuaded that a coat of Cabot Clear Pacific Redwood Stain will actually protect the siding for the next 3-5 years. The staining process began this morning and already three of the twelve sides have been stained. So far so much better.
Can't wait to see it with the freshly painted windows and doors, and then we can get the roofers in to make us completely watertight.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sticky stuff

Humidity is a real pain when you're trying to stain windows. You have to have them open of course but the inside temperature is 80F and humidity level is 89% meaning that they take forever to dry and sweat runs everywhere making the process way beyond unpleasant. In the end, although it broke my heart, I had to put the air-conditioning back on. It's September for goodness sake!
Still, I have finished nine of the windows, hurray. And I have put one coat on the back stairs. At this rate I will have finished sometime in January 2006. And I do not want to have the windows open when it's below freezing either.