The Oaks Victorian Inn had been a private home for 100 years and then a bed and breakfast for 19 when we bought it. As new innkeepers, we decided our first big project would be giving this grand old lady a much needed facelift. The porch floor was slippery when wet, some of the railing spindles had rotted wood and there were paint chips flaking off the clapboards everywhere. Since we couldn’t afford to do the whole house at once, we decided to paint a section a year for the next 5 years.
Adam Welles, a great painter who works on old houses, was the perfect man for the job. He tackled the porch floor first. It took 2 electric sanders (1 died), a blow torch and 130 pieces of sandpaper just to get down to the bare wood. Walls of plastic to contain the dust were all around the porch and after 4 long weeks of sanding he was ready. Skid proof primer was put down first then a fresh coat of paint. No more slipping and sliding on rainy days. He even fixed and painted all the rotted spindles.
The second year he painted the second floor front and one side. Scraping and caulking under every clapboard took several weeks. We bought 25 year mold and mildew resistant paint. It was expensive but with a project this big we didn’t want to do more than once every 25 years!
The third year was the third floor front window and turret’s turn. Outside the kitchen and dining room looked kind of shabby so we stuck a crowbar in our wallet and had him do that section of the house too. The house was looking beautiful. Year four was the back of the house and year five was the cottage, the porch walls and new lattice by the foundation.
Now that the outside of the house is done, we’re starting big projects inside. The old fashion American Standard bathtub in the Alexandria room is being replaced with a beautiful tiled walk-in shower. Demolition starts in less than 2 weeks. Watch for photos on our Facebook page. We’ll keep you posted!