Note: this post was scheduled for mid-October, but I got distracted and here we are six weeks later. Just pretend that you're still getting ready for Halloween and we'll all be good.
I'll be away from The Manor for the next two weeks. While I'm gone, the most extensive changes to date will be taking place.
The first major change that we're making is to the wrap-around porch that covers three sides of our house. Right now it's a very bright "John Deere green" -- clearly not a historically-accurate (or aesthetically pleasing) choice.
The larger problem, however, is that it is a death trap. As soon as it gets a bit damp it becomes slick. The first hint of frost, snow, or ice and it becomes an ice rink. We've already had one semi-serious incident with a 6-year old and a goose-egg head injury. With winter fast approaching, it has become our top priority.
The contractors will grind down the existing concrete paint, then paint back another version--this time with a grit mixed in that will provide some necessary traction. So it's a 2-for-1 benefit -- we improve the safety of The Manor and upgrade the color to something less neon.
We're going to try the "stone" color (top row, second from the left). The contractors will spread a gallon of it and we'll get to check our assumptions. If we like it, they'll proceed. If we hate it, we can pick a second option (probably "steel").
Of course, it can't be that easy. We also have an exterior staircase on the side of our house that needs to be removed, and it has to be done before we can fix the porch. So begins the second half of our major project.
First, some background: When the house was a school, it needed lots of egress routes for the students. So they turned a balcony (from a room that is now our master bedroom) into a stairway down to the main floor porch. The placement was a little awkward, and the bottom half of the staircase covered the window into the guest suite's entryway.
So, we are taking down the staircase and returning the balcony to its former state of glory. It will run the entire length of the house, with a door from our master bedroom. I hope that we'll eventually put some outdoor furniture out there, so that we can sit out and enjoy the early morning light.
The project ain't cheap, and we're getting our first real taste of the money pit that is an "old, charming home."
And the project price doesn't even include the porch railings (the contractors are still looking for historically-appropriate pieces from salvage stores), which are likely to run us another $3,000 - $5,000. Ugh -- my stomach heaves every time I think about it.
Hopefully, it will be completed (or nearly completed) by the time I return. I've left Bill with strict instructions to document each stage of the project so that we can share it here.