The Saga of the Porch Columns…..

When you are renovating a house right on Main Street in a small town, it will generate a lot of interest. A LOT of interest. I love this, because renovating a house is very stressful and tons of work, so it’s nice to feel like people are cheering you along. Sometimes the interest is from someone who wants to work on the house. Back in the late summer, when we were having the concrete on the porch done, my concrete contractor gave me the name of a local woodworker who said he was interested in working on the house. I gave him a call, specifically about the columns on the front porch.

The front porch, and those huge columns, were one of the things I liked the most about the house when we bought it. Unfortunately though, when we bought the house, one of the columns on the front porch was missing (see picture above). Judging from the rotted wood on the porch, the column had been too damaged and was removed. I held out hope that we might find the column in the basement or the garage, but it was not to be. I looked into replacing the columns, but they don’t make them that wide anymore. The thought of replacing those big columns with skinny new columns was not all that appealing.

The sunporch had a half column at each corner so I came up with the idea that when we tore out the sunporch to re-do the foundation and windows, we could take the two half columns and make them into one column to replace the missing one. The remaining columns also had rotted wood at their bases and some other damaged areas and I wanted to repair those to make them structurally sound. Let’s just say my contractor was not excited about that idea. So when I got the name of a woodworker, I was hopeful that he might be able to save my columns. Alex came out and took all my columns with him, since they had already been removed from the porch for the concrete work, and returned my old rotted columns, with renovated sturdy columns! He also gave me these great pictures of the work he did. After seeing all he had to do, I can see why my contractor didn’t want to take this job on…..

Here is what the porch looked like without columns….not good.
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When my contractor took out the posts we were surprised to find that unlike today’s columns, which are decorative and have a support post up the middle, these columns were structural and were supporting the entire weight of the porch. That was a little scary since they had so much rot at the bottom. In this picture you can see how the columns were assembled.
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Now the two halves have been joined together to make my new column!
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This shows how rotted the base of the columns were. Alex had to recreate these pieces to make our columns sound. Although they were built to support the weight of the porch, because they had been repaired we decided to run a support post up the middle of the columns. I don’t want to hear a crashing sound in the night and discover the porch has fallen off!
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Aaaah, the columns are back! Next spring I will sand them down and repaint them. Alex raised the bases so rain water will flow under them and not rot out the bottoms again. These columns would be nearly impossible to recreate so I am happy we were able to save them.
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The search for the perfect paint color…..

I have been reminded by a few people that I have been negligent in my blogging duties, but I have been BUSY!  In addition to the regular duties of being a mom and working full time, I have been traveling a lot for work and had to finish up a statistics class.  Statistics does not come easy to me so the final involved much studying and panicking. 

Plus, the house is at a fairly non-interesting stage.  We did have some excitement when the pillars were put back on the front porch, but the past few weeks have just involved mudding and sanding drywall.  Unfortunately, all that work doesn’t really look any different from the way the drywall looked when it went up.  However, the drywall downstairs, and on most of the second floor, is ready to paint so last weekend and this weekend were spent painting.  Most of the finished walls now have a coat of white primer on them.

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Here are the master bedroom (currently housing the bathtub for the hall bath) and the master bedroom bath with the new door leading out to the porch roof. I can tell you that rooms with 10 foot ceilings are a bear to paint. 

 
For the color in the living room I went with Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore, voted the best paint color by several blogs whose names I cannot remember.  These blogs claimed it was the best neutral ever and it matches everything.  After looking at a zillion little paint samples, I  decided real professional decorators probably know far more about picking paint colors than non-profit administrators.  I discovered that you can buy Benjamin Moore paint at the Connelly’s Do It Best on Dupont where there is never a line at the paint counter and they put all of your info in the computer so you don’t even need to remember your paint color when you come in for more!  Amazing.  Clearly created for people like me who can never remember what paint colors they chose. 
 
When I was waiting for the paint to mix, the woman working at the paint counter asked me about my project.  As soon as I told her I was renovating an old house on Main Street in Churubusco, she said, “The big house with the pillars and wrap around porch?  I love that house!”  Turns put she drives through Churubusco regularly and has been watching the progress of the renovation.   She told me that years ago she gave a ride home to a  woman who lived in the house and she was dying to ask her if she could come inside and look around.  Another name to add to the invite list for the open house….       
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After two straight days of painting and climbing up and down scaffolding, every muscle in my body hurts. Every. Single. One.  I am covered head to toe in primer and Revere Pewter.  On the plus side, I match everything now.