Friday, November 14, 2014

Hey, Winter!

Hey, Winter!   

Yeah, you, dressed all in gray and lurking around the neighborhood.  It's no secret that I really don't like you.  You're that visitor who shows up too early and stays too late and tells the same boring stories over and over:  cold, snow, ice, blah blah blah.  And you're a bully, too.  Every year you and your sister Spring get into big arguments over who's gonna stay and who has to go, and I'm always really glad when Spring kicks your butt and sends you packing.  She's stronger than your sister Autumn.  Poor Autumn.  We all love her so much, and she was doing really well this year.  The best part of her visit was when she let the Royals play in the World Series.  And then you had to come along and ruin everything.  You just ran in and shoved Autumn over, and now I think she's gone.  I hope she's just having a little visit with Summer.  Summer, as you know, is my favorite of all of you (jealous, aren't you?) and she was absolutely wonderful this year.  She stayed a little longer than usual and wasn't as hot-tempered as she sometimes is.  I hope she's telling Autumn to stand right up to you.  But in case she isn't, or just supposing that Autumn is as timid as I think she is, I've got something to say to you, Winter:  Beat it.  You'll have your turn soon enough, you little tyrant. Move over and let Autumn do her thing a bit longer, so I can do mine.  You heard me telling everybody that I wanted to get the outside of the house done before you got here, and you just couldn't stand to see me happy, so you sneaked in here one day when Autumn was at her finest and sent her away.  And I'm mad about it.  I don't like you anyway, but that was low, even for you.  So go on, get outta here.  I mean it.  Scram!

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Crime of Stupidity

This is my next-door neighbors' house, the house where Gwen and Floyd live.  I've talked about Gwen and Floyd several times on this blog, because they're wonderful neighbors and they're always ready with words of encouragement about my house.  

Their house was built about the same time mine was or perhaps a few years earlier.  Floyd knows the exact year it was built, but I didn't see him today to ask him.  The house is on a half lot, as is mine, so they're very close together.  This leads us to wonder if the people who built their house and mine might have been relatives or good friends.  The two houses have very similar construction as well, but theirs is a little fancier.  Look at the gingerbread on the front bay--if you bigify the photo and look closely, you can see the teardrop finials on it and the sunburst detail in the corners. That curved porch is beautiful, and look at the details on the brackets and the posts.  Just lovely.

But then there's the matter of that siding...

It's stucco, or "concrete siding" as Floyd calls it, and it was applied to the house sometime in the 1930s. It's not ordinary stucco, which is finished somewhat smoothly. This stuff must have been applied with a trowel or similar tool, and it has a very rough finish.   (Incidentally, the house next door to theirs was stuccoed too, and it's yet another strange stucco finish that looks like gravel.)

I think that siding is hideous.

Let me clarify that--I think it's hideous on that house.  On a little Craftsman cottage or a Tudor, I think it would look good, especially if that stucco finish was original to the house.  But underneath that concrete siding, there are clapboards.  Clapboards fit better with the architecture of the house. Rough stucco is too heavy-looking for this little Victorian.  It doesn't go with the style of the house at all.  To make matters worse, the original window trim was sawed off square and now the windows look buried in the stucco.  Compare those windows to mine, where the window frame sticks out from the house a bit, the sill extends past the frame a tad, and the upper frame is trimmed out with quarter-round.  Whoever decided to stucco this house should have been charged with the crime of stupidity and made to pay a hefty fine of at least ten times whatever it cost to have that junk put on the house.

But is it reversible?  Marion says it is.  He says that before the stucco was applied, firring strips were nailed to the house and then wire mesh (similar to chicken wire but heavier) was attached to the strips.  "Whack it with a hammer a few gazillion times to break up that stucco, pull those strips off there with a pry bar, fill in the holes, and paint it," he says.  Wouldn't that house look adorable if someone did that?  Maybe do it up as a little Painted Lady, with jewel colors picking out the architectural details on the trim and the porch posts...Can't you just see it?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

All The Stuff That Shows

Y'all, the porch is thiiiiis close to being done.  Thursday we put up the other two pieces of spandrel.


And Marion put the gutters on the house.  I did not help with that project because I already used up all my bravery last weekend when I clambered up on the roof at the back of the house to clean out the gutters back there and put on gutter guards. 


We transmogrified the guttering from the old porch. It had been one giant L-shaped gutter, with each leg almost 20 feet long and an outside corner.  We cut it into four separate pieces and mashed it back together with couplings and what Marion calls "gutter gack", which I suspect is not its trade name. When we were finished, the gutter had two inside corners and an outside corner, fit the lines of the house roof perfectly, and is much less obtrusive than hanging gutters on the porch itself.  We just couldn't ruin the new porch by hanging gutters on it.  Nope, no way, no how.  The gutter and downspouts will handle most of the runoff from rain and melting snow, and the little porch roof will have to deal with only what falls directly on it. Hopefully, this will solve the problem I've had in the past when there were no gutters above the porch roof.  In the spring, with the melting snow and the hard rains, the porch roof leaked like a sieve. (This also answers the question that someone had awhile back about how the flat porch roof sheds water--the gutters above it will handle most of it, and the porch roof isn't truly flat, but has a drop of about 5 inches in 7 feet.)

So what's left to do on the front porch?  Just odds and ends. All that's left to nail up are the trim pieces around the ceiling.  The rest is just painting--the spandrel, those trim pieces, bits here and there that I missed.  As Marion said, "All the stuff that shows from the street is finished." I guess that's true if you drive by kinda fast and don't crane your neck too much.