After all that hard work prepping the house we finally started putting some colors up this week. It’s really an honor to get to spray it after all those hours of sanding. We squeezed 117 tubes of Alex Plus 35-year caulk into every crack known to man, my finger tip might never recover. And of course I had paint samples visible, so the unsolicited comments from neighbors started flying. It’s amazing how people aren’t shy to tell you they don’t like something. On a previous house we did, my wife and I had about 10 samples up on the front trying to decide what looked good. This was back in the day before we used a professional to guide us. Upon arriving the next morning I found that all the neighbors had “voted” in chalk on the sidewalk. What the heck, I mean they are the ones who’ll have to live with it after I’m long gone but mind your own business people! I learned long ago when house flipping don’t piss off the neighbors so I try and bite my tongue now. You can see here we’ve got 5 of the 7 colors up already. I know it sounds like a lot of colors but really its only various shades of brown and green. These historic homes can handle a lot of color easily as well but most homeowners would be frightened by the thought of using that many. I think when you see the finished product you wont even realize there’s 7 colors. The last color is going to be the most dramatic so I’ll show you guys as soon as it’s done. It’s going on the knee braces, barge rafters and each individual rafter tail will also be hand painted. A lot of work but it’s going to be crazy when it’s done. I also have the original 1923 window screens that I’ll be painting and hanging back over my new windows, this always gives such a killer detail in the color blocking. In the pic here the columns and porch railings are still in primer. The ceiling for the porches on historic homes are always painted light blue. This keeps wasps from building nests and it really works!
I’ve switched helpers now, my last guy who helped with all the prep started to look like he was going to pass out. After going home last week at lunch from being too tired I decided it was time for the second shift. My new guy is super pro, he’s been painting for 30 years and I’ve used him before. After we are done with the outside this week we’ll roll straight inside and start catching the interior up. I’m still trying to pick granite and tile colors but for sure I’ll be going white shaker style on the cabinets.
The hard part of this paint job is done. After 9.5 days of grinding and sanding we broke out the sprayer and put up 35 gallons of Kilz2 latex primer in a matter of hours. For a historical paint job on 117 siding I always get the house to primer first so any cracks and holes become visible and then start caulking and dialing it in getting ready for the colors. I estimate about 4-5 days of caulking now and then we’ll be ready for the 7 color paint job. Every piece of siding will get caulked so there’s no seams and the tiny holes from the trim nailer all get filled as well. A paint job like this goes against any typical house flip theory but then again we aren’t doing your average flips either. This paint job will pay off.
While the paint job is a huge undertaking for only 2 guys, myself and a hired gun, I’ve also been busy on the home front with more important issues. We’ve been spending alot of time getting our personal house ready to put on the market and after finally getting all the odds and ends completed we put it in MLS last weekend and it sold for full price in 3 days! My wife and I have decided that its time to take our real estate investing show on the road and head home to sunny San Diego, Americas Finest City, and the first step we determined is to sell our primary residence. This way we can get into a rental house and be able to leave at the end of any rehab. We came to San Antonio in October 2006 after the real estate market crashed in California. I had done alot of research at the time and we picked SA due to the growth rate, affordability and strong local economy. Our guess worked out great, we’ve had tons of success here but now its time to take on a new challenge, we’ll be returning to ground zero for the real estate bubble. Remember, the markets that crashed first will be the first to recover. SD has now seen 11 straight months of price appreciation. California unlike Texas has wild swings in home prices, the largest transfer of wealth in our lifetime is taking place right now and we want to get in at the bottom again. We’ll miss San Antone as there have been alot of fond memories created here, namely the birth of our beautiful baby boy! Thank you Texas!
Even though we were plagued with more rainout days this week, I still managed to get the exterior paint 95% complete. This is probably the most labor-intensive paint job I’ve done as it’s 6 colors and it entailed a lot of detail brushwork on the trims. So far I’ve put up over 60 gallons on the exterior! Keep in mind there’s a big 2-story guesthouse in the rear and I also sprayed 2 coats of everything including primer. As you read in my last post, I picked up a guy from Lowe’s parking lot to help me paint so it’s gone really fast. This guy is actually a great painter, he was making fun of me for using economy brushes so I broke down and bought a Purdy brush, man this thing practically paints by itself. Well worth the $14 bucks.
Because I was so happy with my historic craftsman style replica window screens on the last project, Hat Trick House, I decided to make them again for this house. I changed the design a bit so they wouldn’t look exactly the same, especially since the other house is right next door. I designed the center mullion placement to minimize the visability of the white vinyl and this new design came out great. I won’t stretch them with screen, although the future owner can if desired. My new double pane windows have screens already so these frames are basically just a cosmetic design feature that also plays an important part in the color blocking of our paint job. The historic replica screen hangers are also still available from Stanley. This extra little finishing touch really gives the house the historic look that I need for our neighborhood.
There was a new BusinessWeek article this week that ranked San Antonio #1 for the top National economy. The measurements used were job growth, economic growth, employment and home prices. Texas seems to be the clear winner with San Antonio in the lead and five other metros in the top 10. While we are still seeing signs of the recession here and I’m always quick to say we are late to the party, this study shows that we are still fairing extremely well compared to the rest of the country. We’ve seen the housing market here drastically slow down in the last 2 years, but homes are still selling and people are still moving here everyday from other states so we have to be thankful that when coming from California, we picked a winner with San Antonio.
Things finally started to dry out after all the rain we had, so I got the texture crew in last weekend and as luck would have it, pouring rain again all day. Geesh. It took 3 days for the texture to dry with 90% humidity. It finally dried and looks incredible so I proceeded with spraying a good primer coat and ceiling paint throughout. I was at Lowe’s buying the exterior primer and met this guy in the parking lot asking for work, I’ve had him helping me everyday to speed things up and he’s actually turning out to be a great helper. We spent 4 days just caulking, scraping and filling holes on the house in preparation for the paint job. The weather cooperated at weeks end so we made a huge impact with spraying the entire house in a day. We got 2 coats on the soffits and body of the house, accounting for 2 of the 6 colors planned. I still have all the time consuming trim brushwork to do, which is really going to be the important part of this color scheme. Our façade designer for this project Morgan Penix at DeWitt Architects really picked some unique colors, which I initially had a hard time grasping, but now I’m finally starting to see her vision and am loving how it’s looking. The dark rich columns with rust accents will make a bold statement against the soothing earth tones on the body of the house, all done in historically correct flavor.
The 9th Annual Mahncke Park Home Tour was today so my wife and I had the chance to mingle with some neighbors and enjoy a diverse mix of 6 inspirational and eclectic residences. We saw some great gardens, tons of personality and very cool historic craftsman bungalows. Adorned with unique features, incorporated artwork, bright colors and highly personalized, these homes offered something we never get to do in our designs with resale in mind. We saw green painted hardwood floors, claw foot tubs, blooming esperanzas, purple staircases, garden borders made from Skyy Vodka bottles and mosaic tile galore. Three of these unique homes belong to artists and included studios, fun workshops and galleries. The tour was a great success and Mahncke Park proved again why it’s THE coolest and most hip place to live in San Antonio for the artistic urbanite.
Interestingly though all of the homes on the tour this year are currently for sale where in past years it was not allowed for any of the participating homeowners to use the tour to promote the sale of their homes. Is this a sign of the times or what? Seems even in our small niche neighborhood we are not immune to the higher inventory levels and general real estate market slow down that finally caught up with San Antonio last year. At any given time last summer in Mahncke Park there were only 2-3 homes for sale and now there are currently 10 on the market.