1902 Victorian

Bringing our old house out of the disco era and back into the Victorian.

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Monday, May 02, 2005

The Work Day Club

Our neighbors this weekend initiated the first convening of the Work Day Club of Eutaw. OK, this gathering actually has no official name - I am just the official dork.

Seven of us gathered Saturday to work on extending D&K's picket fence. The work went quickly and smoothly with so many people - heck, even I worked hard - and it was lots of fun. A delicious lunch was provided by neighbor J.

Now we all want a picket fence because D&K's looks so good, but that project is just a distant glimmer in our house's future.

Next on the schedule is S&B's house, maybe working on their ongoing exterior painting project. When it's our turn, we may work on our front porch.

The whole membership strolled over to our house after the work at D&K's was done to survey what we need to do to our garden and porch. It was decided that we should liven up our house with paint. Right now everything is white. White clapboards, white porch, white trim, white door ... even white roof (painted metal). Oh, and dark green shutters.

I had planned to paint the door a different color to make it stand out - maybe a dark red - but I had only briefly entertained ideas of enlivening the trim.

The body of the house must stay white - at least for the next several years - because we aren't ready to deal with the white aluminum siding on the back of the house. The trouble is that the earthy tones popular in the Victorian era look positively horrid with stark white. I have two books for inspiration (and I wouldn't mind owning this one), but not a one of the houses in the books has a speck of white on it.

In a previous era, our house was grey, which an interior designer neighbor tells us was popular during the time of coal heat because the smoke and dust from the coal would make white houses look dirty. Using that bit of inspiration, we're thinking of accenting the white with shades of gray and black ... plus that red door I wanted.

I downloaded the personal Benjamin Moore Color Viewer, which allows you to paint on photos of your own house, but I haven't quite figured it out yet. I might've been better off sticking with Photoshop. UPDATE: I actually read the software tutorial last night, and now I've got the hang of it. Some of the colors still show up like a faded version of themselves, but so far I'm liking it.

I painted a photo of another Victorian house on the free version of the Personal Color Viewer and decided I liked the colors Duxbury Gray and Boothbay Gray from the Historical Collection.

But it's a hard thing to think about painting my precious house. When I stand out in my front yard and look admiringly at my house, I swell up with pride. While I know the house could look even better, I love the way it looks now - white bread though it is.

So, what do you think? Play it safe or take the leap - and the Work Day Club's advice?

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Gary said...

If you want the house to pop out at you then paint the roof! Green, red and orange were popular colors.
If you scrape some paint off you may be able to see the original color.

1:02 PM  
mindy said...

Oooh, a red roof would definitely pop - good idea Gary. Then you could do the red door too, to ground it some.

Painting the trim would definitely make your house's pretty architectural elements stand out more, especially on the porch. I read an article in Victorian Homes magazine about the big craze in the 50's (I think?) to paint Victorians entirely white. It really downplays all of the features that make it a Victorian house.

My fiance's family has "Wagner Wood Day" once a year, right around Thanksgiving, where we all pitch in and help cut and stack logs for the coming winter because they have a wood furnace. It makes a huge job much more maneagable for them, we get to socialize all day, and we get a great home cooked meal out of it :) Sounds like you guys have found a great way to tackle some otherwise overwhelming jobs (and have fun in the process). Plus, I bet you'll learn alot while working on other people's projects!

1:18 PM  
Anonymous said...

I know it's not historically accurate, but I think there's nothing prettier than a crisp white house and trim. I second the recommendation for a painted roof!

2:01 PM  
Jordana said...

When we moved in our house was mostly white with white trim, except the front window trim was dark green and pink (and peeling). I decided I wanted a red front door and sort of worked from there as to what other colors to paint. We were stuck with white for the main color, because we have vinyl siding (over nothing) that we can't afford to replace with clapboards right now. I was torn between a green and yellow trim scheme or blue and red. We went with the latter.

The painter advised us to go with lighter colors than I had originally planned, because they work better with a main color of white.

Here's what our house looks like now (and a peek at what it looked like before it had been renovated).

2:32 PM  
Trissa said...

I'd start with the door and that may motivate you to experiment with color a little bit. I like the idea of a red door, but you may want to have an idea of what color trim you'd like. According to environmental psychology a dark door is inviting. Supposedly humans are drawn to the cave like feeling and it draws the eyes to the door. Interesting idea, but I don't know if it's really due to the cave idea, or people just seem to like it. I'll do a little more research. Remember, you can always paint over the paint with a different color. Get samples of paint and try the trim around a window on each side to "preview" it!

12:14 AM  
misschrisc said...

Double yes! I think painting the trim and the door is a great idea. As for colors I'd stay lighter because you're in the South, and I'd do a little regional research on some of the local colors; especially historically correct colors. I'd go around and take pictures of colors on houses you like and use that as your reference. That's how you HAVE to paint your house here in France. All the trim colors are decided by the city based on history/region and you have to stay in line with the colors of the region. I know it's a bit militant but it does make for pretty neighborhoods and lends a lot of class to the feel of the regions.

I agree with Trissa to preview your colors beforehand. Paint samples on and then take lots of pictures!

2:26 AM  
Anonymous said...

i painted the front door of my (colonial) house red, and it looks nice. BUT: be prepared to use 4-5 coats. Red is the hardest color to get a nice even coat with.

10:37 AM  

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