Would you ever consider buying a pink house with pink trim? Well, we did. I have to admit, even with my love for old houses and I-can-fix-anything attitude, it took some convincing for me to go see the pink house for the first time. The listing photos weren’t doing it any favors, and even then they were way more flattering than real life. Once we walked inside we were sold, but there was a lot of work to be done and a big chunk of it was on the exterior. Those windows! That cute little porch! So much potential that no one else could see under layers of peeling pink paint.
Aside from the obvious color scheme issues, the house hadn’t had much maintenance done in 30-40 years. Besides randomly replacing the fireplace mantel sometime in the 70s and a few plumbing/electrical updates, it had remain largely untouched since it was built. The plus side was that all of the original character, windows and wood trim on the exterior were still intact, but they needed a lot of work. Most people probably would have ripped out everything that was old and outdated, but not me! It was pretty easy to sell Douglas on my vision for the house, but most of our contractors looked at me like I was crazy for refusing to replace old, run-down, painted-shut windows. The recurring theme was “Silly girl, they’re not energy efficient,” but newsflash: neither are replacement windows on old houses. I’m sure she’d be proud to know that more than once I told contractors that weren’t on the same page as us “Nicole Curtis said I could do this this way” and sent them on their way.
At the time we bought the Burbank house our old-growth wood windows had already lasted 75 years. They were painted shut and most of the glazing had fallen out, but structurally they were not in bad shape. Most of our neighbors had replaced their windows in the 90s and I watched them slowly re-replace those “much better, energy efficient” vinyl windows again 20 years later (insert “I told you so” face here.) Even then, everyone wanted to know when the windows were being replaced. Fixing all of our windows was not cheap. Was. Not. Cheap. It was probably our largest investment in the house, but I wasn’t willing to be the person who ruined the charming old house by replacing the most important exterior feature. We never officially priced out vinyl replacement windows (because no care ever,) but at $200-300 each x 38 windows, they were more expensive than repairing what was already there.
I did some research online and found Window Restoration & Repair through Angie’s List. I think they’re based out of Orange County, but they service Los Angeles as well. Norm came out and gave us a quote to repair all of the windows and was generally awesome. He was prepared to go over all the benefits of keeping old windows with me, but he would have been preaching to the choir. Two of the sashes were in such rough shape that they needed to be replaced, but the rest just needed to be repaired. They sent over a detailed quote and answered all of our questions about the process. All of the windows were scraped, filled, sanded and prepped to be repainted and reglazed. They also replaced all of the window weights so the top and bottom sashes moved smoothly again.
By the time we were ready to have the windows repaired we had already painted the stucco grey (Behr Granite Boulder,) so things were starting to look halfway presentable. Shout out to my little brother for spending Christmas break painting my house while I “helped.” You can see here that the grass had started to fill back in, so no more dirt pit. Victory! One thing I hadn’t realized was that when 10 men descend upon your house to repair 38 windows in 3 days it is COMPLETE FREAKING CHAOS. On day two the painters were also in the mix, so I was very happy to get to go in to work while poor Douglas had to stay home in the midst of Window Mayhem 2015.
Because nothing is ever easy, the back yard also presented it’s own set of challenges. Most of those challenges came in the form of 300lb river rock boulders, but we also had to deal with crumbling concrete and no less than 5 different fences. The “grass” all immediately died after we moved in, so once all the junk was cleared out we were left with one big, beautiful dirt pit!
Ready to see the final results? Here we go!
– Front Exterior –
We worked on the grass together, but aside from that Douglas did all of the landscaping. Doesn’t it look great? He also stained the fence with a color called “Chinchilla” and it really unified all the mis-matched panels.
– Back Yard –