Good Enough For Court

This was supposed to be a post all about sand blasting but that’s not quite ready for prime time yet. It was a big job and something worth sharing but I want to do it right with all the details. When I was researching sandblasting, I had a really hard time finding DIY info. Unless I wanted to blast a ’59 Chevy or something small in a blast box, that is. Then I could read all about it. I’m going to try and fill that DIY void. No promises though.

As a side note – all you car enthusiasts are no joke. For REALZIES. The passion you guys have for restoring cars is like what we DIY bloggers have for power tools. We should be friends. I bet we could learn a lot from each other.

Also, I’m openly soliciting invitations for someone to teach me to weld. I want to make things out of metal. If you weld, have the equipment and can teach me, I’ll bring the beer and buy the supplies. Deal?

Offers of friendship aside, progress on the stoop has been really trucking along. Until last night when it came to a screeching halt. But before that, things were really moving.

As you may remember from the last update, things have been blasted, ground & stripped. The hole in the front steps was also patched up with mortar.

This is what things are looking like as of a couple days ago –

I had hoped to have the entire project done-done by the time I go back to court Friday morning. I feel confident I have all the charges addressed but I had hoped to have everything completed. Mostly because I just wanted to have the front checked off my house project list.

As you may remember, all this started because the City of Newark didn’t like how the front of my house looked. According to the prosecutor, I “live in a nice area of Newark” and they “want to keep it looking nice.”

I’ll just let that marinate with you for a minute…

Yes, my peeling paint was the blight of the neighborhood. Ok then.

So here’s what the problem was (and I’m paraphrasing because I don’t have the summons in front of me):

  1. Failed to repair/replace peeling paint. Check!
    All of the peeling paint is completely gone. You may not like the blueish tint to my current portico paint job but I don’t think the courts can legislate my design choices. And the lentils are completely repainted so – double CHECK! – to that.
  2. Failed to repair/replace rusted loose railings. Check!
    The iron workers came and removed the rusted loose newel posts and took them for repairs. They’re not back yet but nowhere does it say I HAVE to have newel posts. The loose railings are gone. The popped 1/2 round part of the top fence has also been welded back in place (it was previously wire-tied in place, so it never stuck up all pokey like that).
  3. Failed to repair/replace rotted wood porch. Check!
    Since I don’t have a wood porch, I can only assume they mean the wood portico around the stoop. DONE. It’s not pretty but the rotted wood & hole are gone. And it’s going to be completely hidden anyway with eventual baseboards, so it can look all lumpy & bumpy and you’ll never ever see it. (Aside from the picture below that I put on the internet. The irony isn’t lost).
  4. Failed to repair/replace hole in front steps. Check!
    Again, since the steps aren’t wood, I can only assume they meant the gap between the sandstone and sidewalk. That has been filled (very nicely, I might add) with mortar and is looking quite beautiful.

Things were really chugging along and it looked like I might be able to hit my Friday deadline. Then I hit a snag a couple days ago trying to dry-fit the arch. It was fabricated incorrectly. The radius/curve of the arch is correct but the legs slant in. When you get the legs vertical, the arch flattens out.


It needs to be redone. The company has been great to work with so far, so I expect they will make things right. I’ve made a template out of foam insulation to use as a guide, which I’ll take down to them next week.

This is obviously delaying things. I was disappointed to not call the project DONE this week but I think it’s all for the best. The arch not being right is, perhaps, just the speed bump things needed.

The primer was supposed to cure overnight. It hasn’t.

I was all set to go with Midsummer Night (as seen on the arch half in the above photo) but now I’m not. Even bought a whole gallon of the good exterior paint in it. It’s just too similar to the railing/lintel color. Not enough contrast.

I literally bought out the store of sample paint sizes. No joke.


I’m looking for a neutral color that’s lighter than the railing/lintel color and leans towards gray (rather than tan) but isn’t battleship gray or too light. But not too dark. Warmish but not fleshy. And not too blue or green.

So, since I need to have the arch redone and want to give the primer plenty of time to cure, I’ll continue to agonize over finding that perfect shade of gray-but-not-too-gray.

All you color experts out there – feel free to weigh in.

If you want to see the crazy as it happens, feel free to follow me on Instagram. It’s been hard to find time to blog regularly but taking 2 seconds to post a quick pic is totally doable.

In the meantime, I’ll keep working on those sandblast posts and attempt not to drown in my ever-growing collection of paint samples.

I’m THISclose to throwing them all in a 5-gallon bucket and calling whatever comes out “good enough”. Except the samples aren’t exterior paint and that would just be an awful idea.

But I’ve thought about it.

More than once.

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9 Responses to Good Enough For Court

  1. anne says:

    Hey I have a brilliant idea! Come to Hawaii, learn to weld from Wade! Then you can write it off as an educational expense. It’s genius I swear…Wade is actually a welder…for reals it’s his day job…and he refabs houses for side jobs

  2. bstarbee says:

    Just a big THANK you for your informative posts! I followed all of your instructions (step by step) for cleaning and sealing soft interior exposed brick, with wonderful success in our little 1907 garage being converted into a workshop for me. It came out beautifully. So beautifully, in fact, that we had a sit-down steak dinner in the garage for my birthday party last weekend! (for pics: A HUGE thanks. You are a badass.

    And good luck learning to weld.

  3. madeline says:

    great JOB so far!!!!!

  4. Ryan welds a lot. He always asks me if i want to learn but I’m not a bad mamajama like you. So, you can just come to Illinois.

    You have done an awesome job with this litany of craziness from the city. I think we can safely say your porch is no longer a blight. (Sarcasm of course. It was never a blight. Ridiculous.)

  5. Oh man, and our city is still requiring us to remove a perfectly fine walkway because it is SUCH a hazard. I freakin hate city officials, always going after the people they know actually care about their homes. WTF. Sorry I can’t help with the paint color, I just am terrible at stuff like that.

  6. Deb says:

    Happened upon your blog looking for “how to remove a sofa skirt.” What a delightful find. Made me laugh on a Monday night…which is a good thing! Looking forward to following your progress. Awesome building. I like old. We live in a cottage built in 1880… Old for the west coast. Glad I found you.

  7. Eva says:

    Ahhhh! What an infuriating list of bullshit from the city! This brings back vivid memories of us getting dinged by rental inspector for having dented siding on our college rental. Like you and your peeling paint, we were *clearly* the problem.

    Everything is really coming together nicely, and I can’t wait for you to shove your “I’M FINISHED” list into their fat faces in court.

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