I bought my house towards the end of 2016, though I didn’t get to move into it until early 2017. I got quite a bit of work done on the house before I moved in, which was part of the reason why I didn’t move in immediately. While the house was empty it was a lot easier to get the heating upgraded and to have cabling run throughout the house.
But it’s only over the last few months that I’ve been spending significant time not only at home, but actually in the house. Prior to the current insanity even when I was in Ireland for prolonged periods of time I was in the office Monday to Friday. Now, however, I’m at home almost all the time. Sure, I do go in to the office from time to time, but I haven’t returned to working from the office yet.
When you’re living and working from your house you begin to realise that it’s time to fix things that you’ve been putting off. In my case a lot of it came down to painting. The inside of the house was painted before I bought it, so for now it’s fine. And I got the outside of the house painted shortly after I moved in.
However there were quite a few things outside the house that were bugging me. Either they’d never been painted, or the paint was so old that it had gone from being a decoration to an eye sore. So over the past couple of months I’ve been spending some of my evenings and weekends trying to make improvements via paint. There’s other things that will require getting in people to do them and I’ve already put in motion some of that.
The other thing that I became very aware of is the house’s physical location. It’s the first house in the estate and dominates the corner it sits on. So in many respects it’s the first impression of the neighbourhood anyone will get.
Some of the things that needed to be painted had been on my mental “to do” list for a long time, but I simply hadn’t got around to dealing with them. Being at home all the time and with my movements limited I eventually ran out of excuses to keep avoiding getting stuck in.
One issue I did run into, however, was the national paint shortage. Back in March there was a run on toilet roll, yeast and flour. As the various stages of lockdown progressed it seems like the entire country, including me, was bitten by the DIY bug. That coupled with disruptions in the supply chain means that there is a definite shortage of paint. Yes you can get paint, but you might have to go to multiple shops to get enough for what you want to do if you want a colour other than white.
There were a few things I wanted to paint:
- the front porch
- the big electric gate
- the side gate
- the garden fence
- the garden shed
- the garden walls
The front porch of the house isn’t particularly big and it looks like it was painted or treated around the time it was installed and that it had’t been touched since then. The wood was completely dried out and a lot of it had lost pretty much any protection that the original treatment may have afforded.
The photo above shows the kind of condition the wood was in when I started. I originally thought that I’d have to use some kind of sander to remove the old paint treatment but it was so dried out that it scraped right off!
A couple of coats later it looks so much better:
At this stage I’ve given it a couple of coats of that “moroccan red” and it looks so much better. There’s a degree of satisfaction comparing the before and after shots!
The electric gate had been annoying me since shortly after I moved in. It has a metal frame which had originally been painted a matt black. Over the years that paint had flaked off in places and the main wooden part of the gate had definitely seen better times. Again it was pretty clear that it had been painted and treated when it was first fitted about 15 years or so ago and I sincerely doubt it had been touched since then. I decided I’d use a “dark oak” outdoor wood paint and a “hammered black”.
It looked pretty awful, but after a few hours it looked a lot more civilised:
Admittedly it’s not the “best” paint job but it’ll do. Either way it looks a hell of a lot better than it did before I started!
The garden fence that was here when I first moved in wasn’t great. After any of the storms we’ve had I’d have to play “hunt the fence panels” as they’d have invariably come loose and ended up being blown into the garden or worse. I got the fence replaced with one that is much sturdier and allows for air flow while maintaining privacy. It hasn’t had any issues with winds, but it was completely untreated. I decided that I’d go with the same dark oak colour I’d used on the big electric gate.
The rose bush makes it pretty much impossible to paint that area of the fence though it might be possible to run the gauntlet when it dies down a bit in winter.
Yes I’m aware of how bad the shed’s roof looks – it’s hopefully being repaired within the next week (long boring story!).
My plans to paint the garden shed were a bit of a failure. It turns out that the wood is actually treated and there’s a light coat of some kind of varnish. Of course I only found this out when I’d already started painting the door, so I had to finish that or it’d have ended up looking decidedly odd.
The side gate was painted the same colour as the front porch and I think it turned out quite nicely. I might need to replace the gate itself at some point but I think I should be able to get another couple of years out of it. If nothing else the space beside the gate is handy for storing my barbecue when there’s a storm:
The remaining big job to tackle is the garden walls themselves. There’s a lot of wall to paint so I’ve been trying to see what kind of paint makes most sense. I’m thinking some kind of off white colour could work, but I really don’t want to spend a fortune on paint if I can avoid. Maybe some kind of limewash could work? Either way it’s definitely a full weekend job!
There’s a bunch of things I want to get done inside the house as well, though most of them aren’t particularly big. I’ve ordered wooden shutters for the downstairs windows, though the lead time on them is almost worse than when you order a sofa, so I won’t see the new shutters installed until November!
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