Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hot in Virginia!

The first thing I wanted to do when I moved into this house 10 years ago was paint. Everything was white; walls, trim, fireplaces, ceilings, etc... it hadn't been done in quite awhile so it wasn't exactly fresh either. It seems as though something more important was always screaming to be fixed so we just kept putting it off. It's never an easy task to paint a room but when you have an old house it's not just about putting paint on the walls. We patched cracks in the ceiling and walls, dug out years of built up paint on the moldings and trim and I'm still working on getting the last bit of paint from some of the window hardware. There is still so much more to do, we decided we wanted to remove all the paint from fireplace mantle and the french doors are one of those task you just stare at for awhile and then give up on before you start. I made the executive decision that since we were on summer vacation and it was one of the hottest summers on record I was going to pack up the painting until the Fall (if you will remember we don't have central air and our window units just can't keep up in this heat).

I'm extremely happy with the results of our little endeavor, paint has the power to transform a room into something very inviting. Our next project will be the dinning room, now that we feel confident about plaster repair I think we will be taking on more painting jobs. I try not to think about the jobs that lay ahead of us. So far we have painted 8 rooms but we have 7 more that still need some TLC, not to mention the neglected bits that we just never finished.

This weeks project
Four heavily painted copper window lifts (it took me 1/2 hour to get two of them out of the window). I have been taking my time getting them scrapped down to the original finish. I tried to cook the paint off but I still need to use some good old fashioned"elbow grease" to get it all off.

Door hardware
This is the after picture. We decided to spray paint the knobs and back plates black. They are iron and when they were clean they were a beautiful dark gray but we all liked the black hardware against the white doors. The mortise lock is brass and copper, which I had no clue of since they were painted over and so tarnished I thought they were black. I'm proud to say I now know how a mortise lock works - inside and out!!

Actually this isn't the same door it's the one across the hall but I forgot to get a "before" picture. Trust me it looked just as bad.

If you look closely you can see a tiny #4 in the brass rectangle. After doing a bit of research I found out that Corbin mortise locks all have numbers on them which correspond with the skeleton keys. We have two skeleton keys but since most of the locks are slopped over with paint we have never been able to lock any of them. My son spent most of the morning trying to get the paint off the doors to see if the keys worked - to his delight they did! And on a side note; what did we ever do before without the Internet?? I sat down and Googled "Corbin" and received a plethora of information!!

Finished results
Here are the after pictures of the room. Again, we still have a lot of detail work to do but I am so pleased with the outcome I just keep going in there to look!!

If you notice I started this post sometime around Wednesday. Blame the heat, the kids or the fact that I can't string a sentence together without concentrating so hard my head hurts. I'm not sure what it is, I only know it's summer vacation and everything is moving at a snails pace at The Eykamp Haus! What's the rush? Pretty soon it will be back to routine and (believe it or not) I'll be crying that my kids are back in school. A good friend sent me a book called Simple Abundance (Thanks Victoria!) and I'm trying very hard to put it into practice, I'll let you know how it goes.

For now,


  1. Kathy! What an awesome job! I do I ever mean JOB! YOu have done a fabulous job on all of the pictured projects so far. I'd have NEVER started on anything if it had been up to me. You are going to absolutly love and cherish your home now as you look at all you've accomplished. Blessings to you!! Doni

  2. Kathy,

    It looks beautiful! I know how much work goes into all the prep and painting on these old homes. Regarding the hardware; you can use "Goof" if it's latex paint and "Citrus Strip" (or another GENTLE noncaustic remover) on everything else. The door knobs and plates look great against the white doors. We have keys for all our doors and they all function. Did you know you can buy a master skeleton key in Home Depot? (there is only a few different cuts that were used) Before Google and the internet we actually talked to others and learned things. One room at a time and it will get done. I have a copy of Sweet Abundance on my bed stand too.

    Your Friend,

  3. I knew you would love that book!

    Seriously Kathy, this room is so lovely. I can't stop looking at these pictures, you did such a wonderful job, it looks like everything is is its rightful place!

    I am especially jealous of the ornate door hardware... mine are squares! I did a tutorial a while back on mine where I boiled the old paint off my hardware and then repainted it.

    I works for those hard to clean pieces of hardware.

    I hope you are all doing well- thinking of you and yours often- V


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