To expand on my own personal ramblings from the other week about the new Riverside development that is forthcoming and my passionate disagreement with the opposition that has come out against it, I thought it would be nice to begin to chronicle some of my own preservation initiatives.
A little over two years ago my wife and I bought our first home, a 1918 Craftsman style bungalow in Riverside just outside 5 Points.
There was a bit of work needed when we moved in. Least of which was painting. The colors were horrid (sky blue walls and dark brown trim). Not to mention there was no kitchen….and I mean NO kitchen. There was a rusted out refrigerator and one counter with a sink. No range and no additional cabinets.
The floors as you can see above were…..well, there really are no words for how bad the floors were. Now, nearly 2 1/2 years later we’ve done a considerable amount of work from painting, to refinishing most of the floors, adding new kitchen cabinets (all of which I’ll talk about in future posts).
Yesterday I started a big project – scraping, sealing and repainting the exterior. I expect this latest project will take the better part of a year or more. Luckily, in Florida, I can pretty much work outside year round (minus those two days a year where the temperature drops below 30 during the day).
The paint is in a pretty sad state currently. There are areas where spot painting has been done over the years as a repair. Though it was done poorly and improperly, so now most of the paint has completely delaminated from the wood and needs to be completely scraped off (which isn’t much trouble since it basically just peels away without any tooling).
One of the coolest things about this project is seeing the changes in color choice over the years as I’m scraping, sanding and peeling through each layer to get to the wood underneath.
As you can see above, there have been at least 3 separate color choices over the last 90+ years. The oldest of which, as far as I can tell, was a grey-green color which is quite nice. The blue was a little surprising. There is a home behind me painted almost the exact same color, and on a larger home, it looks nice. I have a hard time imagining my home (only around 1200 sf) being painted such a loud color like this.
We haven’t chosen a color as of yet, and don’t really need to until I’ve sanded, sealed and primed at least a 10′ square section of wall. I’m thinking of going with the original color, but who knows how the wife will feel about that. Stay tuned as I’ll post more progress photos as this little project continues.
The moral of this little story is that, as I’ve continued my renovations, I’ve come to have a deep respect and love for the old homes of Riverside. The history and craftsmanship that they represent is irreplaceable and truly beautiful. Respecting the original historical fabric of these homes is of the utmost importance. These homes should stand out in stark contrast to any new developments that come to the area (even right next door). And just as these homes represent the best of their time and place, so too should new homes and developments. Otherwise you diminish and cheapen the history that these old homes represent.