Tuesday, July 23, 2013

White Houses of Nantucket

Although almost all of the houses on nearby Nantucket Island are covered in cedar shakes, several can be found painted partially or entirely white, and give one pause to notice their brilliant reflection of the seaside sun and how lovely the plantings look around them. I don't plan to paint anything outside at Old Farm white, but all that I can inside!

Even in the shade...

Or as Fall approaches... 

Even at this time, the sun is still strong enough to make this wedding tent barely visable. It is being set-up on Jetties Beach, which is usually a popular family beach where a sandbar can create a safe swimming spot while watching large sailboats and ferries come or go in the harbor.

White wedding tents can be found all over Nantucket now, like in this farm field...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Building a Trellis

On one of our vacation days at Old Farm, Bill and I built trellises for the back side of the house near large white clematis vines I recently planted. Bill ripped 5/4" X 6" cedar boards to make sticks a bit more than 1" square, which he nailed together with 1 3/4" stainless steel nails at each overlap, from behind. I designed the trellises to fit from molding to molding in their space and line up with the 8' X 10' trellis above each on the roof. The squares are 10" to line up with the 5" over-hang cedar shake siding.

It is important to check that the joints are square while assembling and installing each trellis to prevent racking/twisting. It helped having the boys around when we installed these on a very hot day, while there was shade on the roof.

Bill used four; 4" cedar stick pieces and long screws with silicon to attach each trellis. On the wall, the pieces were cut on an angle to fit the shingle siding.

It took one day to build these, most of another to hang them, and they cost about $90 each in materials.

Christian's light weight on the roof really helped while Alex helped with the key placements.

Backing up some, you can see how they helped add interest for us...during a very parched, hot vacation.

 Update: More Trellises...

I have felt inspired to build more trellises for Old Farm which would be near the restored front door and have southern exposure. We built sturdy; architectural looking trellises like those on the back of the house, which line up with the shingles and each other. This was a beautiful Fall day to be up on the roof (Christian) and on the Cape.

Five sticks are ripped from 5/4" X 6" clear cedar boards using a thin 3/32" cut table saw blade and nailed together with 1 3/4" stainless steel nails.

Most of the sun falls to the right side of the front door and roof above it, so I plan to plant a favorite climbing rose "Rosa Eden" here next Spring.

This group of trellises cost about $350 in materials, took a day to build and part of an afternoon to install with cedar blocks, silicon and screws. Next will be two large skylights in the roof to the right of the trellis.

Below are two inspirational images from visits to Nantucket.

Restoring An Antique Front Door

My first summer vacation project was to strip the front (and back) doors of Old Farm. I used "Klean Strip" from Home Depot, steel wool and two vintage; sharpened paint stripping tools from the Flea which cost a few dollars...and all worked great.

Old Farm was built in 1717 and this could be the original front door since Georgian (Italian Renaissance) architecture influenced Cape Cod homes from 1700 - 1780 when earlier plank doors were replaced with symmetrical four panel doors as well as symmetrically placed windows instead of random placed leaded diamond-shaped casement windows from the First Period (Post-Medieval English) homes of 1600 - 1700. Our door is chestnut with a hand-forged iron handle now also stripped of paint, and so inviting to use.

Only first generation colonists built "First Period" homes and not many are left in a preserved state. Old Farm was built by the son of an original colonist on part of the original 15 acres purchased from the Indians.

Soon Bill will paint this door and the back door with a marine quality enamel; "Moorland Green" from "Fine Paints of Europe". For now, we are enjoying the bit of old colors left behind and Bill's pottery nearby.

Door Update: Painted

This paint color looks meadow green to begin with, but seems to have many shades as the sun passes across it. Actually it quite matches the jade striped chair cushions and umbrella we use outside.

The hinges on the left are up for the screen door we are building and painting at home now.

A Georgian Doorknocker

I chose a "S" shaped door knocker popular during the 1700's (Georgian Period) in a lifetime polished brass finish, to match the high gloss of the marine quality enamel paint used on the front door. It is very traditional looking for such an old house I think.

The knocker contrasts with the original old door handle I plan to keep natural with linseed oil applications.

 The door is painted with "Moorland Green" from The Fine Paints of Europe. Below are examples of this high gloss paint in another shade of green and blue, used on both an interior and front door.

Photos from "finepaintsofeurope.com".

Building an Outdoor Shower

Our first summer vacation project at Old Farm was installing an outdoor shower. I decided it would be placed on a side corner of the house which is near the newer basement hot water heater, most private and at the top of our property slope for good drainage.I called several local plumbers and researched on-line to pick exterior copper piping and a "Symmons" outdoor shower fixture which both came from Home Depot.

Before starting, I gave away three rose bushes (on craigslist) planted in this space, transplanted a large rhododendron with Bill to our property edge, and filled the remaining space with a compact white rhododendron. The copper pipes leading to the basement were installed on a decline of 1/4" per foot (code requirement) in order to drain easily before winter.

We dug a graded hole about a foot deep with a two foot long trench in the draining direction, and filled it with five wheelbarrows full of Cape Cod stone I had saved from the driveway dressing. I decided on fir decking boards on a pressure treated base Bill built to fit the enclosure we'll eventually add.

The decking boards are spaced nearly 3/16" apart using wood chips, and fastened with 1 3/4" stainless steel nails. The back of the base has an overhang to accommodate our rock foundation. Materials for the base cost $72, similar costs for the shower were $275 (as compared to about $1000 for both to have done), and took three days to assemble. It seems a great asset to this small house with one bathroom besides being so practical and fun.

Update: Finished Outdoor Shower Surround
How to Build...

This trip to Old Farm, we brought up the three sides of the outdoor shower I designed for Bill to build at home using all clear cedar wood. We transported the parts on top of our wagon, and took two days to install with trim and coat with clear coat.

Here is one side framed with clear cedar, notched for the top adjoining 2" X 4", screwed level into the wall and supported by a foundation stone I stole from our rock wall. Bill pre-drilled the mounting end for easy installation, and pre-soaked the base of the front with sealer for added protection. The photos were shot into a bright, Cape setting sun.

Two sides leveled up, spaced the width of the door plus 1/2" for the hinges and door opening to work freely:

The door was hung after the frame was finished, with two 3" solid brass hinges, and the spring is another old one we found at our local hardware store. Stainless steel nails and screws were used for the assembly.

Finally, 1" thick trim was added around the top which overhangs 1/2", and Bill made the solid cedar door handle from leftover wood.

The star, which lines up with the North Star (like the house), was cut on the table saw in between the seam of two centered boards.

A brass hook and clear coat of sealer were added just before sunset. Using all clear cedar for this 46" X 48" X 7' surround, cost about $650 (builder's cost), but is beautiful to us.