All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This is your payback, moneygrabber

Projects are bound to get super personal when family is involved. When my mother decided it was finally time to paint her house after 20 years of neglect and bad decisions, it was finally time to play the "Dammit Mom, I'm a professional now" card.

Here's what the house looked like earlier in the year when she first started thinking about painting:

You can't see it that photo, but there are missing roof tiles, horribly tarnished and pockmarked brass light fixtures, and these crazy mis-matched tiles along the bottom of the stucco that were a short-sighted solution for some water damage. My mother has never asked for my design advice before (you should see the granite she chose for her kitchen several years ago--the backsplash alone defies any logic!)


But she finally caved and let me do some damage control. First I chose a darker taupe/warm gray paint color for the stucco that made the weird slate tiles look somewhat integrated. This was hard to do since the tiles came in varying shades of gray and rust. I also wanted to find a nice shade of gray that worked with the red barrel tile roof. It was a real challenge!

After freshening up the columns, trim, and door with a fresh coat of white paint (I tried to paint the door black, but my mother was having none of that), I chose simpler weathered bronze lights for the entry and the garage doors--this finish wouldn't age nearly as badly as the old polished brass fixtures. And the frosted glass cover would hide the mish mash of compact fluorescent bulbs that were being used.

Through a family friend, my mother found painters who would do all the work for $2000. I was nervous about this and wanted to make sure they knew the scope of the work involved--all the painting, the various parts of the roof that needed attention and new tiles, the fact that I saw a bunch of wasps flying around certain parts, etc. I worked closely with my brother (who lives close by) to make sure we were all on the same page about what had to be done.

Naturally I also had freakouts about what my mother apparently wanted to have done for $2000. In the end, they did a pretty good job. Of course I noticed a few things, like a spot on the front door that could have been spackled and smoothed out before painting, and the wrong finish used on the trim and columns...but for that price, my mother was happy and I paid for half of the paint and supplies. (The roof ended up being another a separate expense since the damage was waaaay out of the painters' league.)

Next year...we tackle in the interior painting. Get ready to hear about the tears and screaming over that project, folks. (You know I'm going to insist on a dark ebony banister with white balusters while she'll want to keep the price low!)

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