an external experiment

It isn’t an accident that mad maison hasn’t shared photos of the exterior of the house. It’s been a long time since the house was painted–and the last paint job was not up to our standards. Right now, it’s still a little “crack-house” chic. We’ve been focused on the inside of the house (and we’ve had a few projects cooking that we’ll share in upcoming posts) and we knew the outside would be quite a thing. Our plan is to have the exterior repaired and repainted (hopefully) in the next twelve months. In the meanwhile, we conducted a small experiment on the exterior and we’re excited to share the results with our loyal readers. In addition to the old paint job, the exterior of mad maison sports a treatment commonly referred to as schmutz. There is visible dirt on the exterior, which complements the old paint job quite nicely. While we’re not ready to hire painters, we thought we could try removing the worst of the schmutz. We wanted to try washing part of the house. We started with a very specific area, the garage doors, to measure our results. We didn’t want to do any full-blown power washing, for fear that we would remove the old paint from the house (or, heaven forbid, knock the whole structure down). Of course, this being mad maison, additional work was required to complete the task at hand. There is a water spigot on the outside of the house:

le spigot

You’ll notice that there is no faucet to go with the spigot. Task one, therefore, was to find a faucet that we could install. A couple of trips to the hardware store led us to discover the four-way stem key:

four way stem key

four-way stem key

The stem key works as a “removable” faucet, which means no scurrilous individuals can steal our water while we’re not looking (my grandfather would be so pleased):

four way stem key

stem key in position

Once we found the stem key, we also found a “faux” power washer to fit on the end of a hose. This extends the reach of the hose spray without producing too much paint-stripping psi:

power washer

"power" washer

Finally, we assembled our cleaning/scrubbing supplies:
cleaning tools

While the house still looks like it needs a paint job, we were pleased that we successfully removed the loose schmutz, and feel it is a temporary improvement until we’re able to get the professionals in here. Here’s the before and after:

garage door, dirty

garage door, dirty

garage door, scrubbed

garage door, cleaner

We think the improvement is even more apparent in the close-ups:

dirty garage door close up

dirty close up

scrubbed garage door close up

clean close up

Inch by (sometimes frustratingly small) inch we’re getting this mad maison to where it should be.

3 Responses to “an external experiment”

  1. Suzanne says:

    Nice! My house could use a bath while it's awaiting a new coat of paint, as well.

  2. Pamela says:

    It looks much better!!!!!

  3. denise says:

    Yes, since I've returned to SF I've been shocked by the amount of schmutz that sticks to every building!