Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Exterior painting photos: before & after

Eric is finishing the last large attic gable on our 1900 Arts & Crafts home. It's been a multi-year project, starting when we bought the house 3 years ago on foreclosure. It was covered with vines, the roof was losing shingles, and the soffits were rotted out.

Once we had the roof & soffits rebuilt, we had to choose four paint colors and then repaint all the woodwork. The house is mostly brick (1st story) & cement-over-brick (2nd story), but there is still a huge amount of woodwork between the windows, soffits, porch ceiling, and 3rd story gables.

It's finally coming together, thanks especially to our friend who lent us his Condor manlift. (Why not womanlift? personlift?) Eric is the delegated scraper/painter, and he gives the lift two thumbs up. It took him 5 days to do the side gable (working some half days) and 3 1/2 days to do the front gable. He started on the back side today, so we should be done next week.

Before the lift arrived, Eric had finished painting the porch & 2nd story soffits with just an extension ladder. He was tired of hauling ladders around--and hauling himself and paint/tools/hoses/etc up and down. 

I've been busy getting our rental properties fixed up (a 3-plex and a 5-plex), taking a few former tenants to court for thousands of dollars of back rent & damages, and repairing the four exterior French doors on our house. All four doors were rotted out on the bottoms.

Thanks to products from the wood restoration company Abatron (LiquidWood + WoodEpox), I was able to completely restore the doors. 5 of the windows were broken, so I've been smashing them with a hammer (fun!) and reglazing almost all of the 40 windows.

We need a vacation from being on "vacation"!
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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

We have a place to live!

Amidst heaps of stress and uncertainty, we received good news: we have a place to live in France!

Eric found an apartment in old Nice when he was visiting in early March (thanks to a fluke $300 plane ticket). We put an offer on it, but until a few weeks ago we didn't know if the second owner was going to sign the purchase agreement. But it's official now! We're finalizing details regarding the mortgage and closing date.

Things we like about the apartment:
  • High ceilings (12-14 feet?)
  • Kitchen/dining/living room are all open to each other
  • Kitchen is small--no big surprise--but nicely done
  • Great location on a pedestrian street in old Nice. 
  • No nightclubs or restaurants nearby = no evening/night noise
  • 3 minute walk to the ocean and, of course, in the middle of everything else :)
  • 2nd to top floor, so the apartment does get some sun and adequate light. If you're on the bottom floors on a narrow street, your apartment will be quite dark
  • Could use a total repainting and, over the year that we're in France, new flooring in some of the rooms. Also the bathroom is functional but blah...perhaps we'll change that?
  • Great location & size for a vacation rental when we come back home

It was renovated about 5-6 years ago. These pictures were taken right after the work was done.

kitchen & dining room, with view of living room
living room
living & dining room
bedroom #1 with shower and sink
bedroom #2

It's on the 4th floor (which is called the 3rd floor in France) on a narrow pedestrian street. Although it's listed at 700 sq ft (65 sq m) and 2 bedrooms, there is an additional 3rd bedroom and storage area in the attic. Because the ceilings are less than 5 feet tall, the attic isn't officially counted. It's the light gray area on the floor plan.

The apartment will need some cosmetic work...it looked like this when Eric visited it:


You can look out our bedroom window, across the staircase, and into the other bedroom window.

Stairs going up to the attic...more like a ladder really:

See the original beamed ceilings and the exposed rock wall?

Zari, Dio, and Inga will all sleep up here. Ivy will be in bedroom #2 unless we have guests. Then she will come in our bedroom.

View from the apartment. Notice the clotheslines outside the window? I will be using those every day!

Our neighborhood has lots of art galleries. There's a butcher & grocery store right out our front door.

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