Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Knox Hill Project House: Weekly Update


Another good weekend although that humidity is creeping in. We continue painting and another part of that was that we have started the foundation painting. We scraped and naturally had some repair work to do, mostly loose mortar which we removed and tuck pointed. Since the mortar on these foundation is fairly substantial I decided to use a hydraulic cement mixture. I have found this material has some advantages over regular motar. One it is easier to get a good consistency and it tends to "bind" better with old mortar. Another "Big" plus is it sets quickly so you have less delay time. Now were this a brick foundation or has the stone foundation never been painted I would have used a more traditional material. Due to the soft nature of the stone it would be a bad idea to strip the paint using say, soda blasting or power washing. If you stone is painted it is generally better to keep it painted. We chose a Valspar "Historic trust" color called "Del Corado Brownstone" in a flat finish and we had it formulated for masonry. Whenever you are painting any masonry product you should always tell you paint provider as you need a special formulation for best adhesion. This color is a warmer richer tone that the gray that the foundation was painted and will better tie in with the other colors of the house. It also matches the center diamond in the Slate roof on the front facade and the metal trim at the top of the slate as well. We will also incorporate this color as an accent on some of the house detail to tie the palette together.
The battle of the dead trees continues and this week we removed a 30 foot tree that was almost dead. Because of the way it was growing we elected to make our first cut up higher because of the lien and I also removed many branches on the "heavy side" next to the house to control the way it fell. We used a large come-along attached to a more substantial tree to create some pull in the direction we wanted the tree to fall. It worked perfectly. Next week we will 'chip' everything up with the chipper and cut the lower 8 foot of the trunk off. Eventually I will have to rent a stump grinder to get the stumps out. It opened up some more light to the yard and should help the flowers grow.
As work is progressing on the exterior I decided to "test" the overall look. A technique I recommend is to take a picture of your house and then drop it into a photo editing software. Convert the picture to greyscale of Black and white and "feather the edges slightly. The resulting photo should look like an old photo of an old house. Our plan is to "adjust" the color on the Lower Porch to the more gold trim color and keep the brighter yellow as the accent color for the stencilled flowers and house number on the lower porch panels. The yellow is too bright compared to the other colors and while great for an accent is too bright for large sections of trim and the change will draw the eye upward to the front porch..

One of the more pleasant surprises is that the house colors match the Old daylillys that grow by the sidewalk at the edge of the property. We plan to plant more of these on the site as part of our gardening plan and its nice to see how well they "match" our house.

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