A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

Paint, Presumptions and Pathetic Prairies

2007082101.jpgWe did a lot this weekend, even though it doesn’t seem like it. I was hoping to paint the kitchen, but it took a good part of Saturday just to get my 2007082102.jpgpainting supplies organized
(and I have to be organized before I start on a project, otherwise forget it!). The paint cans, rollers, trays, etc. were just deposited in Pete’s workroom during the move and took up a lot of space, so first I removed it all. The workroom is still a mess, but at least he has more room now.2007082104.jpg

I left a bunch of paint with the new owner of our previous house in case they wanted to do any touch up, but I still had a lot leftover to organize.
Since it’s hard to tell exactly what color the paint is, even if it’s slopped over the side of the can, I made a list of the Benjamin Moore numbers that were marked on the cans and went to the paint store to pick up swatches. Some of the swatches I found, some numbers were old and had been discontinued, but others were old and converted to new numbers, so I was able to find swatches for most of them.

Armed with my swatches, I went home and taped the swatch to the can. I’m going to start doing that right away with any leftover paint——it’ll make things much easier in the future.

Some paint was no longer any good, so those are left in the garage to dry out completely before disposal. There was just a little paint left in one can, and another can was a discontinued color (some kind of beige/off-white), so I just combined the two. 20070821052.jpgNo sense wasting perfectly good paint. I’ll use it to paint over this bright yellow in the kitchen since the PO only painted parts of the walls (no, it wasn’t a color statement; it was probably more like “I don’t feel like bending over to paint down here or removing nails so I’ll just paint around it”). The off-white should help my new color cover the walls evenly.2007082103.jpg

I made a little paint nook under the basement stairs with an old metal cabinet that has been around since the ’70s——my parents actually used the thing as a food pantry in our kitchen back then (talk about ugly!). I also took an old 3-part bin that we stored rags in and reused it as storage for cheesecloth and natural sponges (for various faux finishings), rollers, and paint trays. All that’s left is to add a hook for paint clothes. Ah, I feel better already!

In other happenings, we found out this weekend that the new owner of our previous house isn’t single as we thought——he has a wife and 2 kids! I just presumed that he was single since he was the only one listed on the purchase contract and he was the only one at the final walk-through, but what do I know? Anyway, we just met her this weekend, so I’m going to presume again that she just arrived from wherever they lived before. They were nice enough to tell us that they were indeed going to be tearing out the garden (as I feared), and that if we wanted to take any of the plants we were welcome to do so.

I guess it makes sense to create some lawn since they have little kids, and they’re going to add a fence too and since I’m presuming away here — I bet it’s going to be a cyclone fence. Funny thing is, that’s exactly the way it was when I moved into that place: cyclone fence, all lawn and swingset. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

Pete asked them yesterday when they were going to tear out the garden, and it’s happening this weekend already! We were both at home yesterday, so we went over to start transplanting. The good thing is that we’ve had a fair amount of rain which makes it easier to dig, but the bad thing is that it’s very messy. And in just the couple months that we’ve been gone, the garden has become soooo overgrown. We didn’t have to do a lot of weeding when we lived there, but there were some plants that we would keep in check, and those have just taken over.

I’ve learned a lot since we first planted the garden. In the raised garden beds we had things like daylilies, sedum, catmint, and false sunflower. For our new garden I’m not really interested in cultivar or hybrid perennials like that. And I’ve discovered that some of the native plants we used are really not suited for a prairie our size. So there are very few plants that I really thought I wanted. 2007082106.jpgWe took Prairie Dock, Compass Plant, Indian Grass and Northern Dropseed. Some purple coneflower was mixed in the Indian Grass too, but since those are so easy to grow I wasn’t that concerned about transplanting it. It wasn’t easy to dig them up, and I know we severed a majority of the roots so I don’t know if they’ll survive. I may go back for a few others, but in some ways it doesn’t seem worth it. The ones that we transplanted look pretty pathetic at the moment, but I guess it’s a start.


  1. southsideandy on August 21, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    I’m actually about to order a bunch of prairie seed and whatnot, for the same area you had in your yard based on the pictures from a couple months ago–along the fence. So, thanks for the inspiration. 🙂 Won’t be planted until this fall, and obviously no plants until next spring, but I’m psyched…

  2. denise on August 22, 2007 at 10:38 am

    That’s great to hear! Let me know if you have any questions—some of the plants can get pretty tall and end up flopping over onto the sidewalk in a narrow area like that. I might be able to suggest which plants to avoid.

  3. southsideandy on August 22, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    I will let you know, definitely. I think I’m just going to buy a prairie mix (from a legit prairie group), plant it and let it go nuts. My only concern is weeds and knowing what’s a prairie plant, and what’s a weed. Some of the plants I’m really not familiar with, in their “infancy”…but I guess I’ll sort it out. The first year might end up being messy. But I wanted to get “legit” prairie plants and give it a “natural” look, rather than buying the plants individually and planting them. So we’ll see how that goes.

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