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Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Steel Drum Band Porch

The Steel Drum Band Porch
This cranky re-run is from March 2015
Many years ago, in a life far, far away, I lived in a 100+ year old home.  It was a great home.  It had many of the problems you can have with an old house, but we (x-wife and I) had put in a lot of sweat equity in fixing it up.  It was a block away from Main Street in a nice little town, and a block away from the train station which gave me a sweet commute to the city.

The first thing I did to this house was knock out a door and windows in the enclosed front porch, and restored it to the original open air porch that the builder in 1904 intended.

I loved that front porch and spent many hours on it.  The house was on a slight hill and far enough from the sidewalk that I could observe what was going on in the neighborhood without feeling the need to wave and say hello to everyone who passed by.

One year, after a weekend visit to Cape May, I had a brilliant idea.  Cape May is an old Jersey Shore town known for its beautiful old Victorian houses.  These houses are all painted very colorfully.  I thought “I live in an old house; I bet it would look beautiful if I painted it colorfully.” It did not occur to me that the multiple color thing really only works for old Victorian houses, not just old houses.

I painted the inside of the porch a lime green.  The floor was already a British Racing green; I painted the ceiling a light red.  The porch had four large openings with classic arches where I blew out the crappy windows and a large arched opening where I blew out the crappy front door when I restored the porch to its original glory.  I painted the inside of all those arches a dark maroon.

It took me all day on a Saturday to complete this masterful paint job.  When I was done I assumed it was very popular as I noticed many cars slow down and gaze at my porch.

My across-the-street neighbor “Big John” (an x-European League basketball player) crossed over to get a closer look.

Hey Big John, what do you think?  I’m going for a Victorian look.”

“Nice, nice…very unique.  Every time I look at it from my house I hear a Caribbean steel drum band in my head!”

It took me all day and two coats of white paint on Sunday to cover what I painted on Saturday.

22 comments:

  1. I appreciate your neighbor's honesty. I'm sure it hurt when he said what he said, but just think of how much embarrassment he spared you by his honest opinion so you could repaint it to a more "respectful" color.

    betty

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  2. That is pretty funny, man. I'm sorry, but as I read it, I was shaking my head. Reminds me when DH painted out porch rails and balusters pumpkin orange - he called it *copper*. Looked like H--- and I'm sure the neighbors had a good laugh. I wanted to put up a Vols banner, so at least it would make a little sense.

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  3. When we moved into our home there were cracks in the ceiling plaster. We were advised to put waterproof bathroom wallpaper on the ceilings & then to paint right over it. Since we didn't care about the patterns, we bought small odd pieces from the wallpaper store. Our neighbors were undoubtedly concerned about the crazy new people moving in who covered their ceilings in plaids & bright floral prints.

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  4. But did you like the end result, the one before you covered it with white paint?

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  5. I suppose one has to consider the 'streetscape' but really, if a colour combination pleases you and makes you smile when you pull in your driveway THAT is what really matters.

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  6. How easily we cave to the opinion of others...or sometimes, just come to our senses.

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  7. I live in a 100+ Victorian house and have probably ever problem associated with an old house. The ones around here are all fairly boring and look the same from the outside. In fact, it has been known for me to walk up the path of the house next door but one and try my key in the door since they installed the same blinds as me in the front window. I don't have a porch to paint in bright colours so I'm working on the inside instead. I have a bright turquoise wall in the dining room and I have 'plans' for the fireplace in the front room which no doubt I will blog about when I get to it (may not be in this decade though ...).

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  8. There are some beach houses that are beautiful for the beach, but would look silly anywhere else. Same sort of thing.

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  9. It's one of those 'live and learn' experiences!

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  10. I might have left it for a week or two.

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  11. Bwahahahahahaha. That bad? Well you had a great idea, just the wrong kind of house.

    I would have loved that porch (in white).

    Have a fabulous day, Joe. ☺

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  12. Aww, I think you should have kept it a couple of weeks at least to see if it grew on you and your neighbors. Your house could have become the local landmark. You might have even started a trend. Oh well--

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  13. Peer pressure --- destroying steel drum bands since the dawn of time.

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  14. We have a purple door on our house. Our young niece said as she saw it for the first time, "You KNOW people around her are going to think y'all are weird."
    Both Jilda and I said in unison, "EXCELLENT."
    R

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  15. I love those bright, cheerful Caribbean colors and probably would have loved what you'd done.

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  16. That's funny. Made me think back to my dad who was a commercial painting contractor in San Francisco. He painted many of the beautiful Victorians like that. I like the bright colors but has to be the right kind of house.

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  17. I love your neighbor's description. Very appropriate. (I wish you had pictures.) :)

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  18. It might have been easier (and more profitable) to rent your porch out to a steel drum band for practice space.

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  19. I think a white porch sounds boring and would have used some colour at least in the repainting.
    I remember when my mum was very daring and painted our living room in two colours when everyone else had only one. We had three walls in a pastel shade of green and a feature wall in a pastel shade of lavender, with all woodwork being cream instead of white. This only works if you use the right tints of each colour and my mum knew what she was doing. it was the talk of the neighbourhood for quite a while.

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  20. Now, what's wrong with steel drum bands???

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  21. That's funny. We have a house on Warm Springs Ave. here in Boise painted very similarly to those colors. Everybody calls it the "hippie" house. :)

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