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Paint on the Lady

The painters I hired for The Lady turned out to be a little in over their heads. Throughout the week I found myself initially letting some poor prep slide, then finally by the end of the week I was actually showing them how I wanted things done and had my hourly helper doing their work. Since we had agreed on a contract price and not hourly, I told them it just wasn’t working out and I wanted to break up. The straw that broke the camels back is when I had my guy re-sand a whole wall because they didn’t prep it good enough and then before we could even put some primer on it, they sprayed color right over the raw wood. I feel much better now after letting them go, me and my guy will probably just finish it off ourselves. The paint job is real important on this house and as you know its all in the prep, but even though I had not planned nor budgeted for the caliber of work we’ve done in the past, it still needed to be better than what I was getting.  This is the first sub contractor who hasn’t worked out so I’ve been really lucky getting back here to San Diego and having to build a new team and at least the error is on something I can fix. I am super excited with my colors, the first one we put up after primer is the dark green on the big eaves. Victorian color schemes are known for dark eaves and trim and lighter body colors. The pictures are large format again so make sure and click on them if you want to zoom in: )

The second color we sprayed was on the gable shingles. This accent color will also be carried down to a few other spots later. Notice the ornamental rosette discs I found online to replace what must have been there originally. When we pulled the siding off last month I noticed these circle marks and figured out what had been there years ago. These little details are going to pop after all the colors are up. I’ve got one more period detail big surprise with the front porch handrail, the house is looking really good now but only half way to the impact I’ve got planned!

The drywall crew is doing a great job and should be finished in a few more days. The hand troweled smooth texture is coming out perfect so that’s my good news for the week. Here are a few pics before the texturing went on, the huge tray ceilings are really dramatic. I also went with the new style “mini-bullnose” for the corners, its smaller than your typical rounded corner but very sharp and clean and usually reserved for high end custom homes. My plan is to keep pushing on the exterior so we can get all the colors up before coming back inside to do window trim, interior paint and flooring. We had a good home sale a few blocks over, its another historic 2 story rehab, 500 square feet smaller and only a 2 bedroom went pending after only 5 days on the market for $425k. We’ll have to see what it closes for but I’m sure they didn’t take too much less with that short market time.

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  1. 11 Comment(s)

  2. By Danny Johnson on Jul 24, 2011 | Reply

    Looking good, Tom.

    I’m glad to hear that you gave the painting contractors a chance and then, when they failed to correct their mistakes and made more, you did not hesitate to let them go. I don’t know how many times I kept a bad contractor because I was lazy and didn’t want to have to find someone else to finish the job. That is never acceptable.

    Thanks for sending people to my blog, I really appreciate it. You are now on my blogroll.

    Take care.

  3. By Tom on Jul 24, 2011 | Reply

    Cool Danny thanks. Yea I had enough patience to try and help him through it but in the end it would have been him watching me paint the house if he would have stayed. I still wrote him a check for the hours worked though.

  4. By bilgefisher on Jul 25, 2011 | Reply


    She’s starting to show her true colors. Have you had any potential buyers scoping the house out yet?


  5. By Tom on Jul 26, 2011 | Reply


    Oh man, we got the fourth color on today after fixing everything the painters screwed up. I am telling you this color scheme is off the hook! My favorite so far and I cant wait to finish the exterior paint this week. No interested buyers, this neighborhood (and city for that matter) is way different from San Antonio and we’ll rely on MLS exclusively to get this thing sold when its ready. Additionally, this house is off the beaten path a bit. I’m not worried, I like everything to be done before a buyer sees it anyway. Thanks for stopping by and have a great Summer.

  6. By Bruce May on Jul 26, 2011 | Reply


    Another great post, thanks. I’m really looking forward to seeing her done.

  7. By enplaned on Jul 26, 2011 | Reply

    I think there are a lot of features that will sell this house. The one that stands out in the three photos above are the high, tray ceilings, which appear, from the photo, to give a feeling of soaring space.

    My guess is that this house will draw the attention of anyone looking for a quality product that isn’t the same-old, same-old.

    I think you’ll be fighting off buyers with sticks…

  8. By Lyle on Jul 27, 2011 | Reply

    Hello Tom, I frequent your website, love your blog and your videos. Your doing it right, creating a good name for rehabers. I am very inspired by your love and motivation to fix up properties. You will be a household name in the real estate world soon.

  9. By Lila Magenta on Jul 28, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Tom love your site!

    How do u bid for paint like by foot or colors or scraping i would like to know how that works, esp after seeing how that San Antonio house was really scraped down to the wood to make it look really good.

    Oh my other concern was a garage, how big an impact is that in san diego? People really love to have a garage in SoCal?

  10. By Tom on Jul 29, 2011 | Reply

    Hello Lila, thanks for commenting on our site. The full custom paint jobs on historic homes where they are sanded down to the wood easily fetch $15k or more. We didn’t do that to this house because it just wasn’t in the budget but you’ll see on the next post she’s looking good.

    People love their cars here in San Diego that’s for sure. It also never rains so you don’t have to wash them as much as in Texas. We are not building a garage at this project but honestly even if we did it would probably just get used for storage. The back yard on this house is huge, we are pouring a big driveway/parking slab and fencing the yard with an automatic gate. Thanks again for commenting!

  11. By Christopher on Jul 30, 2011 | Reply

    Just have to say that you, and whatever crew you use, does amazing work. I drop by this blog from time to time to see what the next project is. Your work is very neat, and I do have to say a great inspiration to me , esp when I own my own property one day. I will refer back to this blog for ideas, color coordination, and anything else that may be helpful with a remodel. Thank you for your posts. keep up the great work

  12. By Jo Amick on Aug 5, 2011 | Reply

    Great post and great job with the house. It sounds like you recovered well after letting go your contractors. Thanks for sharing.

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