Looking on the bright side

Time really does fly! We’ve been in Portland now for a little over two months, and the Fairmount house has progressed quite a lot over those two months. A lot of the progress has been smooth overall, but there were a handful of discoveries and setbacks regarding the exterior that we’ve decided to look at as an opportunity rather than a problem.

Originally the plan and scope for the house renovation was more focused on the interior, with a few projects concentrated on the exterior. At the start of the project the exterior work was limited to the addition of the Beetlejuice-inspired false wall on one of the decks and a full repaint. Little did we know back then that soon enough the exterior would be commanding the bulk of our attention.

As a side effect of some of the interior projects and wall explorations, a lot of vulnerabilities with the home exterior were discovered. Basically the entire exterior was not weatherproofed as effectively as a home in the Northwest should be, causing plenty of issues underneath the original siding once parts of it began coming out to make way for new windows and doors. To make a long (and depressing) story short, in the end we’ve decided to get the entire exterior corrected… That means all repairs to rotting areas, new weatherproofing, new siding, and upgraded windows throughout. Insert cash register sound effect here!

It really is a costly and time-absorbing endeavor that we weren’t fully anticipating to have to do or prepared to take on at this point of home ownership, but we are feeling good about it and the results so far. Our contractor Hammer and Hand are experts at home weatherproofing, so we absolutely couldn’t be in better hands. Plus once the exterior was stripped down to the plywood and all the windows removed, it really gave us the opportunity to do some customization that we otherwise may not have bothered with.

Case in point, the triangle window and the glass block rectangle window above the main entrance (seen in picture 2 above)… the original plans were to keep and embrace the triangle window and replace the glass blocks with a standard rectangle picture window of the same dimensions. Now with the exterior all opened, though, we jumped at the chance to add some more character to the outside. The eventual Beetlejuice false wall on the balcony will feature a large circle cutout detail, so we decided to repeat the circle above the front entrance with a new 5 foot diameter circular window replacing both the triangle window and glass block rectangle.

Above you can see a few more before photos of the exterior along with a couple of shots of the work in progress. As you can see, there is an extensive amount of scaffolding setup around the house, and it actually extends around the entire home (its difficult to get clear shots of the house due to the thick trees… but I will try to get better angles soon).

The team is working at an incredible pace in order to try to beat the start of the famous Portland rainy season, and as such these photos are a little dated already! At the moment the entire house has been wrapped with weatherproof wrapping and the first bits of new siding are starting to go on. The plan is to finish up the siding one side of the house and begin painting that side while moving on to the siding on the next side, and so on and so on. The new windows should be arriving by the middle of the month, and by that point the outside will be mostly completed and ready to pop the new windows in place and touch up the siding and paint around them. We’re so excited to see the exterior all freshly painted (new color is black!) and the new windows all in place, especially that round window!