Restoring — oops — nope. (Start again.) Re-BUILDING (sort of) the house front, Part Two

I like to think these things through slowly, but it wasn’t going to happen that way. I think I got it down now though…we’ll see. Read on…

This first picture was The Plan. I would have the vinyl removed, find the original facade underneath and repair, if needed, and paint it. Well, not me, but someone I hired after scrimping my pennies.


I had the pennies saved and found a painter who understood what I wanted (how cool is that?). And he arrived to tear off my siding on Monday (in this post, I’ll write the descriptions ABOVE the photos, okay? Okay):2019-05-06 08.42.49 sm

Bummer #1: Around the vinyl windows, he found two-by-fours. No old trim or anything like that. Just two-by-fours!

2019-05-06 09.01.55 sm

Here they are. And under the vinyl, that black sheeting I don’t know the name of. Uh-oh. I gotta bad feeling about this…2019-05-06 09.17.33 sm

He realized he should be working from the top to bottom, got up his ladder and began again at the top. I just looked it up and am pretty sure the part he’s uncovering here is  #22, the Gable end fascia. I love, love, love my gable end fascia! Keep scrolling to learn why!

2019-05-06 09.33.58

Well, lookie here, lookie here! It’s pretty!2019-05-06 09.36.11

And just looks prettier every minute! Is that gray? Blue, even? What I learned is: it’s metal. Tin or something. And so, so paintable!2019-05-06 09.47.41 sm

Check it out!2019-05-06 09.48.12 sm

After that, nothing was pretty. All he found was PLYWOOD. Plywood over lath. Meaning the original facade with its fake beams, pretty pediment and stucco had simply been taken down altogether. Waaaaahhhhhh! 2019-05-06 10.26.052019-05-06 10.26.35

First thing he did, since the forecast said rain, was to seal up all the cracks, crevices and holes for the night, while I scrambled to figure out what to do next. I needed a Stucco Guy! Quick!2019-05-06 13.12.03-1 sm

My brain went to work with ideas because I hated the thought of a simple stucco triangle up there above the windows. It just wouldn’t look right, aesthetically, architecturally. I considered shake shingles (or shingle shakes?), fish-scale ones or straight ones, anything nice like that or what I’d seen around on lovely old houses. See my rendering below. Really, really expensive, though.2019-05-06 13.27.26 sm

In the meantime, while I’m thinking this over, take a look up and down the street at the variety of house fronts. And my plywood.2019-05-06 14.05.222019-05-06 14.05.38-1

I also needed to get rid of this. 2019-05-07 09.02.51

I had been following a construction company on the ol’ local FB group and gave them a call. And they…and a loan from a family member…came to my rescue. Here they are setting up their scaffolding.2019-05-08 12.05.35 sm

Putting new black sheeting stuff I don’t know the name of on…2019-05-08 14.19.59 sm

And that metal mesh over that…and all around the two-by-fours, by the way. The stucco artist (it’s an art!) even said he’d try to re-build the pediment. I sent him photos of ones on other houses, and thought maybe the painter could paint the tudor-lookin’ beams on? 2019-05-08 16.58.32 sm

Then I couldn’t sleep. It was Wednesday night. It’s a two day job (actually, in the end it’s taking three and a half). I knew there was no way anyone was going to re-create that pediment exactly as I wanted it, and even then it would look really stupid to paint on some fake beams. No depth! And I thought for a few hours, got up and turned on my computer and scoured the building store websites and finally ordered a very simple $50-something “decorative gable vent.” This is what it will look like:2019-05-09 09.23.32 sm

Simple but not bare. Not up to “This Old House” or the Old House Guy’s standards, but I also don’t have Tom Silva coming out here to do his magic and I don’t have the money their clients/homeowners have, not by far.

It will look fine. The paint will make it gorgeous. I’ll let you know when the first of my neighbors copy-cats me. 😉

So: A little scratch coat here…2019-05-09 15.02.48 sm

And this is how it looked a few hours ago. The darker sections were done today, the grayer yesterday. Tomorrow, they do the final, smooth coat and then we let it dry and cure about three days before my painter can come back, maybe next Wednesday.

2019-05-10 12.52.49

More next week or the week after!! And the stucco guy also offered to pressure clean my brick sometime! We’ll do that when my bank account has recovered.

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