March 10, 2014

Its Spring, time to write again and a Nip and a Tuck


The current owners of 227 North Street have allegedly been lying around enjoying themselves,
instead of working their home that so desperately needs their attention, 
and writing about their escapades...

Ok... I will admit it... I have taken the Winter off! With that said, Hi everyone! We have had a long spell of winter. Although we have continued to work away, it has been small projects, and upkeep. The first phase of exterior work came to a stop at the very end of October, just in time to begin the Holidays. We spent the next two months having a lot of fun in this big ole house. Starting with Halloween, which was immediately followed by a 75th birthday celebration for both of our Mothers, They were born 10 days apart. Family and friends gathered to wish them both the happiest of Birthdays, which concluded with a sit down dinner for forty six at SHED, our local modern grange. Suddenly it was Thanksgiving, I blinked and it was Christmas, I think we managed New Years just before it was Valentines day, and somehow we have quickly arrived at my favorite holiday of the year arrived, Day Light Savings Time!!!

Now it is time to begin to make the magic happen again. We will be hard at work and I will add photographs and updates on a regular basis. I know I owe pictures of the exterior of the front section of the house, but truthfully I have not had the heart to take any shots because of the super freeze we had in December that wreaked havoc on the thirty-five foot tall Avocado Tree beside the house. I am holding out to see how she comes back before I take pictures.

However, a picture is available in the new Sonoma Magazine. Chris Hardy, the photographer, took beautiful pictures, and the story is sweet, so I am posting the pages of the article here for you to read. Everything is posted except the first picture. Apparently the restoration of this house has taken its toll and its time for a redo on myself. I had no idea I had gotten so old in the past five years, so I have made an appointment with an expert to take care of it,  a human restoration artist! Or at least that is what I am calling our new plastic surgeon.

September 27, 2013

Escherian Visions

If M. C. Escher were still with us, you would find him perched on a stool across from the house, with his easel set up and pencil in hand. As the painting continues, the house has become buried in a crazy retinue of ladders. Up down, in, out, every way you can imagine is now available.

The redwood gutter is about to go up on the front of the house, along with all of the trim for the front porch. Columns are completely stripped of paint, sanded and sculpted, primed and ready to be filled.
Fiber glass column bases are on their way from back east (they will never rot again!) and molding for the new column pedestals are being cut as I write. Two new capitals will join three originals, and we will finally be ready to finish the porch. Got to hurry! Halloween is coming fast and we need to decorate!

Pick a ladder, climb on up and sit for spell!


August 20, 2013

We have the house painting Grays

It all began seven weeks ago, and the forecast is easily another four to six weeks to go, and we are only doing the three story section of the house this year. We certainly have hired the absolute, with out a doubt, correct person for this job, Timothy Hilton, Earthtone Painting, is in charge of the sealing up and painting of the house. Seven weeks of burning paint, scraping, sanding, burning paint, scraping, sanding, priming, sanding, filling, sanding, priming, filling, sanding, priming, caulking, priming, filling, sanding.... Will it never end? But, the work is impeccable and for one hundred and forty three year old surfaces, it is looking better than we could have hoped for.

We are personally doing all of the rebuilding and are barely keeping up Timothy. It began with once again removing the front porch from the house, and then all of the quoins from the corners. Quoins are the trim blocks that make the corners appear to be made of stone blocks, very Italianate.

Ladder up, and ready to take her down

Porch parts everywhere

Columns waiting their turn to burn

And burn we are, with a blow torch!

The porch restoration, the paint removal from the columns specifically, is part of what we agreed to do ourselves. We have both used chemical stripper, and heat guns in the past, but the job of removing all of the old paint from the columns would never get done with either of those methods, so out came the blow torch. Fire up, don't be timid, and use a handy high tech tool for scraping away the burned paint, an old large tablespoon. Work fast and watch for smoldering! As we work on the porch, we also stripped away moldings from the bay windows, and the quoins from the corners of the house. The front of the house is southern exposure and the sun has destroyed so many of the small pieces due to the negligence of the former owners. The moldings and quoins are being copied in redwood and cypress.

Here we go, Timothy begins the burning

Timothy and his part time helper

Just before the quoins are removed from the house

Layers and layers of paint burned away, and now the sanding begins

New Flashing for the bay windows

ANd did I forgat to mention a ridge vent?

Gray primer and the filling commences

All of the plants surrounding the foot of the house are about to be seriously cut back

New skirting finally on the lower sides of the house

A closer view of the smoothing of the old siding

Another close view

Electric and gas lines finally exposed for the lighting

The East side in case you thought we were missing it

Timothy has been using the battleship gray primer as it really helps him to see the flaws, and this of course is making everyone in town confused and crazy.

The final colors are still somewhat in flux as our original gray looked, well, simply wrong when sampled. We now have a color pretty firmly in mind, but with the "White Faction" practically picketing in front of the house, we are keeping it a secret. Just know that the house will not be white.

Now it is back out into the yard for me. I have columns to burn, and quoins to install!


May 17, 2013

Got Up and Went

The spring has found us moving at a snails pace. Perhaps our "get up and go", got up and went!
We are both trying to get in gear, but at the same time we have been having a lot of fun! And that is a nice change. That is not to say that we have been completely idle. We have still been working on the deck - the wrap around porch.

With all of the super structure complete and the deck boards laid, we turned our attention to the upper layer. It has seemed for a long time that we would never complete the upper deck, but at long last we added the joists and (cursing every step of the way) covered it with T&G pressure treated plywood. Before winter comes we will install a water proof, aluminum decking that will keep the underside 100% dry and allow us to walk out onto it from the Master Bedroom.

At this point it is about creating the reality of that grand hotel porch. That means a ceiling! I received a few quotes for new tongue and groove beadboard, and like most lumber quotes, I had to have a little sit down after reading them. $1200-$1500 just seemed a bit high for a ceiling. It is true that for a fraction of the cost we could have done an artificial beadboard by using sheets of plywood that look like beadboard... but I couldn't do it

So we marched ourselves out to the salvage pile. An afternoon of sorting and piling left us with what we hoped would be enough 1 x 4 tongue and groove flooring from a section of the house we tore down. Another few evenings and afternoons of de-nailing and planing we were ready to begin the ceiling. Now mind you that this lumber had been rather hastily removed from the old section of the house and the tongue and groove that should allow you to nail it in place with no nails showing, was in poor shape at its best. Hours of fussing and surface nailing bought us finally to the last board, and it looks pretty damn good. A decent priming, sanding and nail hole filling, and we will be ready for paint!

Joists in place and ready for covering
The last shot looking up and through

Batons being applied so that the ceiling boards will run perpendicular to the house
The finished ceiling, and the boxed beams, next... columns!
Temporary seating so more fun can be had!

If you happen to see our "get up and go" wandering around somewhere, please phone us up!
It's time for the boys to get their proverbial butts in gear!


It has been reported that the missing "get up and go" has been spotted! It is being returned, and just in time! This reporter has learned that a new rendering has been presented at 227 North Street, and a beginning date has been chosen. Healdsburg hold your breath...  Starting July first 2013, the home at the corner of North and Fitch will no longer be white as it ALWAYS has been. Using our own private investigators, under cover agents, and a secret source at WikiLeaks, we present to you the future!


March 06, 2013

A shameless plug

I thought today I would take a different route in my posting and let you know what it is I do, besides working on this big old house.

Mostly these days I am a graphic designer specializing in branding, logos, print material and website/email images. Most of my work is in the wine industry, but I have branched out into medical, theaters, and the food business. I am always looking for more clients, so if you need my services let me know.

I also am a paper engineer... a what???   a paper engineer, or one who creates popup books. I have a small line of popup books that are photobooks, and we sell them directly to the consumer. These are some shots of the books that are available and if you find you can't resist please visit...

The Baby Book

Add yourt own pictures to the popups

Toys and your photographs

A teddy bear to love

Climb on!

A mobile and more photos

The Memory book

Place your own photographs in the frames and add information

More space for photographs

Lots of space for adding memories

and more

This is where Phillip said he came from... "Found in a Cabbage Patch"

Locks of hair and more photographs

This where I was told I came from... "the Baby Store!"  The blocks are small photo frames to track growth for the first year

Family members go here in small photo frames, some that are part of the popup

The first birthday page

There are two more books available at sale prices on our website, and two that are out of print and out of stock, except a couple of each from my private stock. Check them all out at....