Wednesday, June 25, 2014

'Fretworking' - Corbels, Spandrels, Brackets and Porch Posts, Part I

Between B&B guests, I've been working on the fretwork of my porch. As you can see in the shot above, the spandrels and brackets are in a grey/beige and cream (previous owner's colours), but will soon be sage green and greenish cream with touches of garnet red. These are the same colours seen below on my front entrance doors.

We invested in a mini-scaffold, specifically for doing the inner face of the fretwork. It rolls easily along the length of the porch. It's especially useful for the portion above the stairs as the ends can be adjusted for different levels. It's wonderful to work on a scaffold as opposed to a ladder, but the ladder is needed for the exterior face of the fretwork. The scaffold will come very handy indoors when I do decorative work such as murals and ceiling medallions.

This old lady needs a good exfoliation treatment. From a distance the porch design is perceived as a delicate and lace like structure, but up close, one can see how thick and solid everything is.

I started scrapping and sanding on the left side of the porch's entrance. As is always the case, whatever is facing outward requires much more work than that facing inward. My objective is to smooth out the surface to the next sound layer. In some areas, going down to the wood is unavoidable. I want to keep the integrity of the 125 year old surface as much as possible. Making my porch look new is not the point, but good prep work is essential before painting. Crazing, cracking and several layers of paint give century-old houses loads of character. There's nothing fake about this 'shabby chic' finish.

When it's sunny, my work day is a little shorter. By 2:00, the sun drenches the entrance and it becomes unbearable, I'm basting in my own juices - time to call it a day. By 3:00 pm, the entire front is blindingly bright and hot. A week of intermittent rain is in the forecast for our area so I'll be working mainly on the inner face of the fretwork.


Mark Ruffner said...

Dear Anyes,

Your gingerbread reminds me of my recent visit to New Orleans, which has tons of it, all very distinctive. You are wise to limit your work sessions to three hours. I did the same when I painted my house, and though it took more time, in the long run there wasn't a memory of drudgery.

The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Mark,
I would love to visit New Orleans one day.
Pacing one's self is wise, I agree and I'm my own boss is is great. Come to think of it, I'd much rather do this than answering to a boss and putting up with office politics.

JC said...

You have a stunning porch, so it's great to see that it will be getting some much needed attention to preserve it. I can't wait to see the new colours!

The Dusty Victorian said...

Thanks JC, I just hope we don't get another rainy summer.
Thanks for dropping in.

Gina @ VictorianWannaBe said...

Well hello Anyes! So good to see a post from you. Your front porch looks absolutely gorgeous! Love that fretwork, wow!! Keep up the good work!
Happy Sunday!

The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Gina,
I've been quite busy in my studio, but now that the warm weather is finally here, it's back to work on the house. This project will keep my attention all summer.
Always a pleasure,