Our latest and greatest project has been our ever ongoing work to enhance the exterior 'curb appeal'. As mentioned in an early post, the outside of our MCM had a fun 80's exercise in the school of 'Gened up'. The first photo is our first look at the house on a very rainy day in May of 2005. Note some of the Gene interventions: fake green shutters; new electric meter on the front of the house with hideous galvanized pipe; angular lumber enclosed planting beds; vertical slatted blinds; and a lovely glass front storm door, complete with beveled glass and brass detailing.
We have had our work cut out for us with a complete 'curb appeal' overhaul, having done most of the completed work in 'mini-project' approach. A couple years ago, I pulled out all the front landscaping, including the wood enclosures and white gravel. We then poured the front concrete porch, a maturation of the original exterior concepts. I left the existing concrete landing and wrapped it with a new slab and inset step to match. The new concrete color juxtaposes nicely with the old weathered landing. Most likely the landing will get painted dark grey to match the house.
The large air conditioner was removed last summer, with glass replacing it's huge chunkyness on the front of the house. Last summer I scored an awesome 1950's MCM front storm door from a local salvage company, Building Values. It took 6 months to come across the right door, but this one might be a duplicate of the original. The door is simply trimmed with a removable glass frame, even the color almost matched our original maroon color.
This past Spring, a bad storm caused the next door oak tree to drop a huge limb that ripped out our entire electric service, meter and all. Long story short, we lived for almost a week off a generator. In the end we had the new meter and service installed on the side of the house, the required piping, etc was installed very cleanly next to our downspout to conceal it from the street view, photo to come in follow up posts.
We also installed two lines of aggregate pavers that were sitting stacked out back when we bought the house. The smaller ones are set in gravel next to the porch and along the entire front of the house with aluminum landscape edging. The larger ones are offset parallel to the porch. Part of our larger idea is to have a long rectilinear planting bed between these two walkways. Currently we are debating on whether to pour concrete or to set some patterned pavers for the landscape enclosure. The jury is still out. The outline of this new enclosed area can be seen in the fifth photo. Currently I've dug the trench for the concrete or paver enclosure.
With the studio roof recenlty fixed we've shifted gears to working outside while the weather is still nice. Painting the front of the house and getting the landscape enclosure finished is the goal before fall sets in. We've decided to go with a dark grey for the front color of the house (see sample in the third photo). We think this will compliment the red of the brick and keep the color scheme simple. The existing tan is going to remain on the flat roofline until next spring, unless we get our act together and go painting bonanza.
Around the new front storm door, we have patched all the gouges and nailheads from the installation. Since I reused the original redwood, I knew I had this tedious chore coming, much of the jamb face had damage, insert wood putty. A lot of ivy once covered our house, a ton of its remnants have left their mark on the concrete fascia and soffit. We decided not to paint the concrete finish, but to clean it and patch as necessary.
We certainly have had a few good laughs at how our house has looked, oh, for the past year or so. With a red front door, a white primed window, the other windows sage green, and chicken pox on our front door, how can you not laugh? The antique house numbers on the mail chute door have been removed and its come time to work on the windows. I have re-glazed several windows on the house and have to say, reinstalling new glass in a metal casement window is no easy task. We are focusing on painting the front 'wooden rectangle' face with a lot of window prep work before painting. We are going to extend around to the redo the two studio windows in the next phases.
This past weekend we scraped all the old caulk around the wood and windows in preparation to re-seal all the material connections, currently the front wall is quite drafty. I started reglazing with the largest window, you can see some process in the last three photos. Basically, you warm the glazing up in your hand, roll out small ropes and finger apply the glazing compound into a 45 degree angled profile from the glass to metal frame. Followed with several passes with a 1" putty knife, you work the putty to a nice smooth finish. It took me 4 hours from start to finish on the large window and the smaller adjacent window. The fresher the window glazing the smoother the job.