Thursday, October 12, 2017

Researching Painting Techniques

Because Oak Park has such a rich architectural heritage, you don't have to walk far to find many examples of excellent exterior color schemes for every house size and style. Before I started my project, I spent a lot of time looking at the better examples around the village, studying details and looking at the techniques used on each home. 
Bungalow paint scheme in Northeast Oak Park
Four color color scheme used on an Oak Park Foursquare

Brick Foursquare with a striking color scheme on windows, columns and dormer.

Somber color scheme on a Prairie School masterpiece.

Dark trim that accentuates the details on a light-colored home.

Remarkable dark color scheme on one of our finest Queen Anne homes. 
One of the differences I noticed on homes in the village was the technique used to paint the trim and body of the home. More often than not, the smaller homes, with simpler color schemes, were painted with the body color splashed onto the side of the window trim and corner boards. This is how my neighbor's home is painted and it is how mine was painted. To me, this manner of painting mad the trim look flat.
Detail of paint showing siding color on the side of a trim board. 
Detail of the Tiny Bungalow windows showing the siding color on the side of the window trim. 
When I looked closely at the more elaborate paint jobs, on larger homes, I noticed that the trim was painted the same color on all sides and the siding color was different. To me, this made the trim appear more dimensional and provided better articulation.   

Trim painted the same color on all sides, with a different colored siding.

Home with trim painted the same color on all sides. 
I looked at several painting blogs and asked some painters about this and got some interesting answers. One painter, who painted only the face of the trim noted that they would spray paint the entire house and then come back and paint the surface of the trim because it was faster. Another noted that painting only the front of the trim created a "clean edge" that they thought was more appealing than the jagged line created along the edge of the siding when the side of the trim was painted. 

Many painters adhered to the notion that the trim should always be painted first, on all sides, and that the body color was then added to come up to the trim. The same technique used on the inside of the home: painting the trim first and then the walls, should be used on the exterior of the home. This technique made a lot more sense to me and the dimensional quality of the trim is more important to me than the clean line so I decided to follow this manner of painting.  

Step one: Painting the trim, on all sides.

Step two: Painting the siding or "body" color.

Step three: painting the window and sills. 
For the finishes of the paint, I decided to also follow a common practice of using a gloss or semi-gloss on the trim and sashes and a flat color on the body of the home. The gloss helps protect areas that will come in contact with people more often (like doorways when you are walking by, trim when adding or removing storms, or sashes while opening and closing windows) and the body is a dull color so that imperfections in the surface are kept to a minimum.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Starting the Big Paint Job


Over the past few months, I've spent most of my free time stripping, sanding and painting and I finally have something to show for it. We agonized over paint colors and ended up choosing a series of colors in Sherwin Williams' "Arts & Crafts" series.



A big part of the painting process is scraping old paint. We decided not to remove all of the paint but instead are only removing the loose paint, sanding to feather the edges, priming and painting.


We spent a lot of time determining the technique we would use to paint trim and sills. I'll devote and entirely new blog post to that in the coming weeks.


Here are some progress photos of the front porch so that you can get an idea of what the finished product will look like. 



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Hall Part 3 - Building the mirror and coat rack

When we first moved into the house, we found a dismantled dining room table in the attic. It was made of veneered wood but the wood under the veneer looked pretty nice. I am not sure but it might even be oak. I saved not only because I save everything but because I knew I wanted to use it in a project some day. Another thing that the house came with was an assortment of mirrors.
I thought that this was the perfect project: to build a sort of built-in mirror / hall tree for the front hall. I began by sanding down the wood, removing most of the rough spots and all of the finish.
I made a very simple frame and then stained and finished it in much the same way that I finished the rest of the wood in the house. For the mirror frame finish, I used tung oil instead of the typical varnish though.

What is nice is that the finish allows the character of the wood to come through but there is also quite a bit of distress visible from its former use as a table top.

I mounted the mirror in the frame and then mounted it to the wall with butterfly anchors. Two screws are also installed, top and bottom, through a stud in the middle of the wall. It is very sturdy and isn't going anywhere.
I used brash washers and screws for mounting so it has a simple yet classic detail.
I was originally fretting over getting expensive fancy hooks from one of the restoration companies but couldn't choose so I ended up at Home Depot and bought something inexpensive instead. I installed two hooks on either side of the mirror for coats and two double-hooks at the bottom for keys and umbrellas.


I am ultimately happy with the hook choice. Hopefully this will keep stray jackets off of the furniture as well!
I finished out the room by hanging one of the prints that I made last summer. It is great to have this room finished!

The Hall Part 2 - finishing and painting

The finishing work was fairly simple. Like the rest of the woodwork in the house, I have it stained and varnished. I chose the colors for the hall some time ago but it took me a while to sort through the hundred or so cans of paint in my cellar to find the two that I chose.
There are two colors, though they are very close shades of gold. I painted the area below the chair rail a little darker than the color above the chair rail.  

Overall, the hall looks great and it is nice to have a finished entry to the house.