Today, Tom talks more about the renovation of his historic bungalow in Tucson, Arizona, including some of the design decisions he made.
‘When it came to paint colors, initially I made some disastrous color choices. I simply picked colors that I liked, with no consideration for historical accuracy. Yeah, I picked some horrible colors! For example, I originally painted the kitchen an awful bright yellow. I thought, ‘Yellow...sounds good. Give me 3 gallons of this!’
'Eventually, I started driving around historic Tucson neighborhoods, looking at exterior paint colors. When I found a color I liked, I’d discreetly walk up to the house and – using my Dunn-Edwards color wheel – locate the color and make a note of it. I chose historic neighborhoods to find colors that I thought would work well with my historic house. When making paint choices, I took a lot of inspiration from colors I found out in the world.'
‘The kitchen cabinets had to be rebuilt, but I tried to maintain historical accuracy. The new cabinetry is paint-grade, with recessed flat-panel doors, recessed to ¼ inch. I hired my friend Jerry, a remodeling contractor in Tucson, to build the cabinets. I’d originally put in a stainless steel backsplash to go with the stainless steel countertops. But that turned out to be a bad interior design choice for this house, so I replaced the stainless steel in the backsplash with a glass tile backsplash. Jerry – who has great taste! – had some tile leftover from a job he’d done, so he offered it to me. I had to buy a little bit more from a local tile shop to finish the job, but it still ended up costing almost nothing to redo the backsplash.’
‘For the receptacle and switch covers, I’d originally bought brass ones. But once they were installed, I ended up not liking the look…they seemed too ‘fake old brass’ to me. So I went to a specialty auto supply shop and found some auto rim paint and painted the covers. The paint is incredibly durable, and was dirt cheap at $5 a can. And from a design standpoint, I think the color works very well with the color scheme throughout the house.’
'The sink in the bathroom is a newer sink, installed right after I bought the house 20 years ago. I got it for $50, brand new in the box. The box was water damaged, so they gave me a nice markdown on the price.’
'The bathtub is the original cast iron claw foot tub. When I bought the house, it had a yellow film/residue on it that I had the hardest time getting rid of. I tried a bunch of things. Finally, I hit on 400 grit wet-dry sandpaper, which took it off. If I hadn't been able to salvage the tub's original finish, my only choices would have been an awful refinishing job (which always looks like just that, and typically breaks down after a few years of use) or an incredibly expensive new tub. The 101-year-old finish now looks pretty good, having been protected by decades of grime. And my total cost was a couple of sheets of sandpaper.'
(Final part coming next week...)