Monday, 31 October 2016

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from the Little Blue House! I have been rather quiet lately... The house is doing great, with work more or less paused until the Spring Thaw! We have found it to be rather an expensive enterprise, restoring a Gold Rush era former brothel. Surprising! Hehe.

That said, I am looking to earn some more money to help pay for it, so it doesn't all fall on my husband's shoulders. More on that in a later post.

For now, we would like to wish our readers a Happy Halloween!

Not a Halloween picture, but creepy enough for today!

Monday, 19 September 2016

An Invigorating Tonic

This really doesn't have anything to do with the LBH, at least not directly. I am tired, however, from all of these renovations.

If I had been building the house in the late 1800s, perhaps a well-intentioned advert such as this one may have caught my eye?

I stumbled upon the image in the British Museum's free online gallery at Flickr, which is a delightful treasure trove...

Just say no to depressed vitality!

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Trim is Finished!

Satisfying feeling, knowing that we've finished painting before the cold temperatures hit. That's happening now, as last night we had our first frost. 

The body & trim are finished! My only regret is that we didn't get to the bay window. It will have to wait until late spring. 
It looks pretty good, I think! Our carpenter added a nice step to our side door, which makes things easier. Less dirt tracked into the house, too. I'll paint the step next year after the pressure-treated lumber has had time to cure. 

The next project is a balcony for our front door. We are hoping that will be competed this fall.

Saturday, 13 August 2016


We enjoy these snippets of family time in between coats of paint...

Here's our littlest one heading for her LBH!

Friday, 5 August 2016


July 1st, 2012

August 2nd, 2016

Making a little progress! 🙂

Monday, 1 August 2016

We're Nearly Done the Front

The front of the LBH is almost finished (painting the exterior that is). You can see that there's still tape around the door, as I've got another coat of our fitting "Aspen Bark" to add. Also, the trim on the L-shaped nook is only primed. It won't be staying that Too Bright White you see there. And, bay window trim & soffits haven't even been sanded yet... Whew!

She is coming along nicely though. Tomorrow, we are going to work on the south wall where the overhead electrical wire comes into the house. BC Hydro is going to disconnect the power for the day, so we don't have to worry about electrocution. That's a relief. :)

Check out the soffits!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Painting Pics!

Here are some more photos of the painting going on at the LBH. I'd say we are about 80% done!

Here is what we were up against, quite literally...

We used a product called Lead Out by Blue Bear (formerly Franmar). This is great stuff that when properly applied to lead paint, reacts to convert it to non-hazardous lead sulphide. I'd recommend it to anyone. It was expensive, especially to a Yukoner, but cheaper than going crazy like those poor Romans...

After applying the stripper, we wrapped the house in plastic to let it blister in the sun, as the Violent Femmes would say...

Then we unwrapped one wall at a time, and scraped the paint off. The coved part of the siding was tricky, so my husband suggested spoons. A couple of old ones did the trick. Our arms felt noodle-like the following day. 


Almost finished scraping the last wall...

While I started priming and painting the north wall, my husband set to work with the orbital sander and sanding blocks fashioned to fit in the coved siding. Before priming:

After priming:

After painting the north wall (left side of house) and large front wall:

Jeff and Riley, our Irish Terrier!

That's where we are at now. Our trusty carpenter has just added several new pieces of primed siding and some trim (much of the old corner trim was rotten where it was contacting the earth).

Next, we will paint those bits and the remaining walls, trim, soffits, etc.

I am keen to get this project finished!

Monday, 18 July 2016

New Blue!

We are getting close to being finished with painting. If you've ever painted a house, you will understand that the work is all in the preparation. It's especially so when you have 118 years of lead paint removal to deal with!

We have completed the north wall, minus a few pieces of new siding that will be installed (removed due to rot when the foundation was redone). We also completed the main front wall of the house. I will post more pics in the coming week. It was precarious work. 

The two walls in the corner "L" are primed and ready for the new blue. The south wall, which was the most weather damaged, has been sanded. We still haven't done any trim or soffits...

How does it look so far?

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

I Painted the Addition...

Perhaps you saw my last post with the photo... Well, painting is underway at the LBH! I spent 3 straight days painting last week, in between rain showers. I really had just one delay, and the weather was fine for painting.

Here's the fresh first coat on the north wall of the addition! The only annoyance during this time was the mosquitos trying to attack me, of course because I was a sitting duck.

I call this section the Two Hour Wall. It's nearly 27 feet long, with a couple of windows and a big water tank in the way. (I guess I'll have to wait until we drain the water in the fall to get to that pesky bit.)

This is the side entrance, on  the weathered south side of the LBH. It's the door that we use all of the time. It was tricky simply because of the door, awning and window. At this point I was feeling very pleased with myself, and the colour was drying into a gorgeous blue (thank you, Benjamin Moore)! Then it occurred to me that this was only the first coat. A great first day, however!

On the second day, I completed the north wall...

And I completed the Two Hour Wall...

And then I finished the second coat on this part of the south side...

It does look kind of weird, with both the old and new, and not to mention the awkward upper bit of the addition that I left unpainted! My husband and I agreed that we'd tackle that part together when we paint the original LBH in July. Since I was working alone, it might have been a little sketchy on the big ladder way up there. We are going to borrow some scaffolding for the next part of the job. You can really see how weathered this side of the house is. I have my flakes of old paint in a sandwich bag, and the lead testing kit I ordered finally came in, so I am going to get it tomorrow. I am pretty sure that old paint will have some nasty lead in it.

I was able to paint most of the trim on the addition, too, with the notable exception of the awning. We are considering a tricolour scheme there, to mirror the panels under the bay window.

Unfortunately, our contractor is ill, so we are anticipating a delay in the installation of the lower pieces of coved siding and new corner/trim boards around the front (old) part of the house. Until they're installed, I don't know if we should go ahead and paint! We will think on it some more, but you know how it is when you've already arranged for time off in your schedule to complete a task... I'll bet we end up just going ahead with it! We can add a few more pieces of siding afterwards, right?

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Sneaky Peeky

Here's a hint about what we've started... Oh, and we've such a long way to go!

Sunday, 29 May 2016


Next project: a makeover for the old girl! We are starting with the addition at the rear of the LBH. We sanded, cleaned and primed the exterior. The addition is about 20-25 years old. The exterior paint isn't in bad shape. But we're changing the colours slightly. Don't worry, it'll still be the Little BLUE House! The north side is in the best condition, as the weather here comes predominantly from the south.
North Side, Addition

The east side wasn't too bad either. As the primer was drying, the wasps were already trying to gain access to the uncovered vents. They were denied access! I gently relocated many spiders as I was painting this wall. Our youngest child was relieved to see that no spiders were harmed during this project...
East Wall

Finally, we got the south side of the addition ready. This is going to be the toughest side once we get to the original part (age: 118 years) of the house. We plan to tackle that part in early July when the kids are with their grandparents! I've ordered a lead-testing kit from the hardware store, although we're quite sure that amongst the 4-5 layers of paint, lead will be present.

At least the addition seems fairly straightforward to paint. No ancient, flaking lead paint. I should get to it within the next 3-5 days. I'm hoping the rain will go away!
Side Entrance, South Side

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Before and After Time

Hi there! I think it's been a good long while since I've posted some Before & After photos. It's an exercise that I find helpful for my state of mind (to help with the, Oh No! Why Are We Spending So Much Time and Money On This Little Falling Down House?)...

I sincerely hope that it will be interesting for you, too. Especially if you are just stumbling upon my blog for the first time. We've been at this for years now, and it's a long process. Restoring a Gold Rush house is a dream come true, and it's something that I love to obsess about. :) If you have the time and inclination (and perhaps a cup of coffee or a cocktail) you may wish to explore my older posts to see what this place is all about.

June 30th, 2012
(When we were considering the purchase of the Little Blue House)
January 28th, 2016
(I realize now that this is the most recent photo of the house from this angle)




To be continued!

Friday, 6 May 2016

Spring Treasure Hunting...

Last weekend, my husband donned his work clothes and a face mask to explore the far reaches of our wood shed. Built during the Gold Rush, the small cabin was likely home to a miner or two in Atlin, BC. It was the only part of our property that we hadn't yet explored, and it yielded a few treasures!
Rummaging through an old crate...

Goodyear Rubber Co fire extinguisher, circa 1872!

Colourful gas can.

Wringer washer. 

Dairy cream jugs, curtain rod with brass rings, broken rocking chair... And a lot of junk!

It was pretty mousy in that wood shed. We took 3 trailer loads to the dump, and kept the good stuff to clean up and use. 

Lots more coming on the blog. It'll be my first summer off in many years, so I am looking forward to our projects at the Little Blue House!

Friday, 1 April 2016

Spring Thaw

Spring is springing really quickly this year. There was still snow on the ground for our kids' Easter egg hunt last weekend though!
We are planning our big summer project: painting the LBH! More to follow on that front. See our peeling, old paint!

I'm coming out of my hibernation, so will blog more soon...