Posted tagged ‘home improvement’

Need to Refinish a Radiator? — Try the Stripping Workshop

December 14, 2011

Radiator before refinishing, fresh from Community Forklift

Anyone who lives in an older home probably knows the joys of radiant heat. I, for one, would never be without it by choice but understand that it is too costly to include in modern construction.

Of course, many of the radiators in our older homes are also encrusted with layers of paint. I suspect most homeowners will add a new layer or two during there stewardship, but was turned on to another alternative about a year ago by a neighbor on Otis Place — refurbishment.

Recently I had the opportunity to do just that. After rebuilding the back sleeping porches on the house, we decided to replace the radiator in that space with one that is bigger. So, we bought one at Community Forklift and took it to the Stripping Workshop to get stripped, polished, and lacquered.

Radiator after being stripped, polished, and lacquered

As you can see by looking at the before (above) and after images (to the right), they can really make an old radiator look new. They also have a variety of finishes available. While we chose to go with the polished metal, they will also repaint a radiator in white, gold, or black (see photo below).

In looking around the house, I definitely see other radiators that I’ll want to have refurbished.

The Stripping Workshop is located in NE at 411 New York Ave., tucked behind the D.C. Farmer’s Market. While its a bit tricky to find they do great work.


Have You Ever Noticed that Home Improvement Projects Take Longer than Expected?

November 10, 2011

The porch before work began in 2009

I’m sure this it typical, but sometimes I’m both amazed and disgusted with how long a home improvement project can take. My latest example is the repair and replacement of the balustrade above my upper porch. This project began at the end of July 2009 and was only just completed in October of this year — which I guess makes that a two-year and three-month project.

In fairness, a lot of other projects cropped up with higher priorities, but still, I had intended this to be an easy win in the struggle between man and house.

The reality is that it should have taken about a week of full-time, dedicated work … but as with most things life got in the way and my desire to be as accurate to the original balustrade made the project more complicated than it otherwise would have been. Case in point, my insistence in including the fretwork detail in the middle of each section.

I am definitely pleased with the final product, which you can see below. More importantly, the front of the house is now essentially done before another season of cold weather.

Section of balustrade mid-project, showing detail of fretwork section

House in late October with finished balustrade


Historic Paint Colors ca. 1916-1917

January 25, 2010

With few exceptions, if you live in Park View, you live in a home that was built prior to 1925. As to updated interiors, there is a wide range of homes from those that are essentially pristine examples with few changes since the day they were built to examples that have been completely gutted and rebuilt.

One of the projects that many home owners go through, and one that is a struggle in my home, is painting — especially in choosing paint colors.

In an attempt to bridge the gap between the historic and modern, I try to refer to popular colors from when my home was built. This worked well two years ago when a color for the porch ceiling was needed. Living in a brown brick house with dark brown trim, traditional porch ceiling blue didn’t cut it. By referring to the Evercote paint samples from 1917, I noticed that the Dark Yellow worked well with the other colors on the home and it swayed me to use a yellow ocher.

So now that its time to paint the pantry — and after struggling with many, many paint samples — I decided once again to look at historic samples to see if I could get some inspiration. Again, there was an Eureka moment. Drawing from the Pea Green (below) and Leaf Green (above) samples, I was able to settle on a color very similar yellow-green hue.

(Aladdin Paint colors, 1916)

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