Archive: Jan 2009

The BeltLine Needs Your Support


I’m sure you have heard about the recent events with GDOT and Amtrak in regards to the BeltLine. If you have not heard about the situation here are a couple articles to bring you up to date:

AJC – BELTLINE: Amtrak wants land for heavy rail
Creative Loafing – GDOT, AMTRAK throw wrench in Beltline plans

On Saturday the 31st at 2pm there will be a rally held in support of the BeltLine in Piedmont Park. The meeting point is at 10th and Monroe (by Park Tavern) where the BeltLine tracks cross Monroe. PLEASE come out and show your support!

The rally is organized by BeltLine Network. You can read more about it on their website at


Posted in General | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on The BeltLine Needs Your Support

Continuing Peel Away Process on Fireplace

Our fireplace paint removal with Peel Away has continued over the last week. In order not to get overwhelmed we are tackling one little section at a time. Patrick is applying the Peel Away…

Applying Peel Away

The waxy paper is applied. Now we wait…

Fireplace with Peel Away

As the hours pass it seems as though the paint color tries to escape towards the waxy paper. It’s interesting to note the two bricks we’ve previously already removed paint from have less of the colored blotches…

Fireplace with Peel Away close-up

With metal scrapers we try to peel away the paint with the paper as best as we can. Since this brick is so extremely textured a good amount remains behind in the gaps.

Removing Peel Away

We try to wash off the excess paint and chemical as best as we can with a sponge, nylon brush, towels, and lots of water changes. After that I tackled the brick with a metal scraper to get off areas that are softened because of the water but sticking too much for the sponge.

Removing Peel Away

Our first block complete! Can’t you picture the whole beauty already?

Removing Peel Away

Next we decided we wanted to figure out what surprise lay ahead of us for the fireplace hearth. After the overnight waiting period we started to remove the multi-colored mess.

Removing Peel Away

I had to take a close-up of the color mess. Will you look at those colors?! Obviously we knew the top coat of paint was a dark green, but underneath that was a BRIGHT red paint. It may be a little hard to tell in the photo because the bright red is already mixed in quite a bit with the other colors, but believe me, it was quite red. I think many home restorers will have stories about the colors they find when digging through the layers of paint. We’ve had our share of pastel pink and pastel green in the bathroom, and a pastel yellow in the kitchen. All those appeared to be older colors. Then we found a bright blue in our bedroom, and now this neon red in the dining room – my guess is 70s? I seem to get this picture that our house used to be bright circus colors!

Smeared Peel Away paint

After some sponge washing the tan tile is starting to appear.

Cleaning off Peel Away

And here is where we’re at after four Peel Away sections. I’m loving it already!!

Partially removed paint

Posted in Our Bungalow, Photos, Westview Bungalow | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Continuing Peel Away Process on Fireplace

Goals for 2009

I wanted to make a quick blog entry about my goals for the house in 2009. This way at the end of the year we can reflect back and see how many of the tasks we actually finish.

1) Finish stripping the dining room, paint the walls, re-stain/poly the wood work.
2) Finish painting and putting back together the built-ins in the kitchen and bathroom.
3) Finish painting the kitchen.
4) Replace the stairs to the front porch.

I know the list seems short, but some of these projects are huge. The dining room we have already been working on for almost two years. I’m sure there are some things I am leaving off, so chances are I’ll come back and edit this at some point.

Posted in Our Bungalow | Comments Off on Goals for 2009

Fireplace Paint Removal with Peel Away

Our socially uneventful weekend proved itself to be very helpful in the house project department. Patrick has been eager to remove some paint from the dining room fireplace – initially to my dismay because it would mean another started project while the old ones sit unfinished. I made him start on a lower brick so it could be hidden by our plants if it should become one of our many unfinished projects. While Patrick equipped himself with our regular Kleanstrip chemical paint remover I decided to tackle the painted crystal doorknobs. (Patrick had pulled them out on one occasion and then they laid there untouched for weeks before we had to tuck them back away for a party.)

My Friday and Saturday nights were pretty successful with the paint removal on the doorknobs. I applied the chemical first, removing the paint as best as I could, then I put some Goo Gone gel on a paper towel and wiped any remaining paint off. Previously I actually only removed the paint with the Goo Gone, but this time I decided to try it this way. Then I polished the brass parts with steel wool. (The brass on the right was polished, the brass on the left still needs to be polished.)

Painted glass door knobs

Door knob paint removal

Patrick’s Friday and Saturday nights on the other hand were a little more frustrating. After seemingly endless applications of the chemical followed by removal with a nylon brush it felt like relatively little progress was achieved. After the first chemical application the white paint on the brick got into the fresh chemical in the cup, so every time a new layer of chemical was applied it just felt like a new layer of white paint was reapplied to the brick via the chemical. As a result we had a hard time figuring out when we had actually reached the brick and what color it was supposed to be. So after two nights we think we got close to reaching the brick…

Peel Away trial

…but we also realized we’d be pulling out each other’s hair if it would take us this long for each brick.

In our paint removal quests we have often come across websites talking about Peel Away. The reviews always seemed mixed. Some people got great results, others were less than happy. Since we’ve been pretty happy with the results from the Kleanstrip we didn’t feel the need to go out of our way to search for Peel Away, but at this point in the brick paint removal process we revisited the idea. So on Sunday we found that Sherwin Williams stores sell it and picked up the last bucket they had. (I don’t know if that means the product is flying off the shelves or we’re the first people that bought it?) Pretty much everything you need is contained in the bucket – the goo, a pair of gloves, the applicator, and the waxy paper to cover the goo with. The one thing that was not supplied but the directions recommended was to use a nylon brush to get into detail areas. Of course we didn’t read this until after we got back home, so it didn’t do us any good.

Peel Away supplies

The directions recommended to do a test area (as always!), which unfortunately meant up to a 24 hour waiting period! We had to force ourselves to be patient and obey, so Patrick applied the fun looking Coolwhip goo to one brick with the applicator.

Peel Away paint removal

Then the waxy paper was applied over it.

Peel Away paint removal

The instructions said the Peel Away can be removed after 12 to 24 hours and you’ll know when the goo feels like workable clay. After 20 hours it felt right, so we started to take it off with a metal scraper.

Peel Away paint removal

After scraping away remaining residue with the metal scraper as best as possible we used a wet nylon brush to get additional paint out of the creases. We then used a wet sponge to wash off the paint and patted it dry with a towel. We also put a towel on the ground to catch all the wet sponge runoff. Then we repeated this process a number of times.

Peel Away scrubbing

Here is the result of our test Peel Away brick! The top one is the two day Kleanstrip chemical brick, but while it looks nice in the photo it was still covered in tan paint. The bottom one is the Peel Away brick. We were pretty pleased with the results considering the time and effort involved compared to the other one.

Brick after Peel Away

So now we’re ready to tackle a larger area!

Posted in Our Bungalow, Photos, Westview Bungalow | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fireplace Paint Removal with Peel Away

Bungalow New Years Love

I can’t believe another year has passed! MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY 2009 EVERYONE!

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2008

I also can’t believe the entire month of December somehow flew by without a single blog entry. All I can say is life has been crazy! (In a good way.) We have been crazy busy with our business…which is never a bad thing, but even less so when everyone else is talking about recession and lay-offs and such. Unfortunately those 11pm work nights for most of December also meant our house process just about came to a screeching halt. (That, and as Patrick noted in the previous blog entry, we were also out of town for a little bit.) Thankfully we were able to push ourselves to work a little bit more on paint removal in the dining room. We had a deadline to meet – the Westview book was being republished in time to make it back for Christmas and we wanted to update one of our detail fireplace pictures with a dining room shot…

Stripped wood in the dining room

Stripped wood in the dining room

…so at least from that angle it looks decent. And as we enter 2009 the business workload hasn’t slowed down, so we’ll just have to discipline ourselves to not entirely abandon all of our unfinished house projects. Actually that makes me laugh…unfinished projects…you get so used to them you don’t even notice anymore. We’ve had comments from people that we have “cool” kitchen crown molding and then we have to explain that it wasn’t actually meant to be unpainted, but was rather just another unfinished project, haha.

There are times where I feel that we’re not getting anything done on the house. The first few months so much happened and things seem to progress so slowly now. I suppose I need to remind myself that the first few months of work consisted of bringing the house up from a non-inhabitable space to an inhabitable space. Thankfully our house is very much livable now and we’re just working on the aesthetical items. As I was scanning through the folders of photos documenting our house process in 2008 I was actually excited to realize that perhaps we got more done than I thought. We painted the bedroom, worked on dining room paint removal off and on throughout the year, had the attic insulated, finished the interior of the bathroom built-in, had the brick foundation re-pointed and partially rebuilt, and tore out our shameful broken concrete front path and replaced it with a beautiful historic brick path.

In addition to reviewing our own house progress many things have happened in Westview in 2008, and we’re excited to be able to say we’ve been part of it. We’ve been active with our neighborhood association, the Westview Community Organization, and the Neighborhood Planning Unit (the official citizen advisory council to the City of Atlanta), as well as meetings with City Council Members, the Bureau of Planning, participating in the Atlanta Home Show, and the list goes on. Of course as many things in life the good also comes with some bad mixed in. We experienced a tornado narrowly passing our neighborhood (thankfully!) only to cause much damage downtown. We’ve witnessed the City of Atlanta spiral into a financial disaster, closing Fire Station #7 in neighboring West End, cutting city services and increasing our water fees. We were there to see mortgage fraud mastermind Kevin Wiggins get sentenced to 8 years in prison for leaving our neighborhoods devastated in the early 2000s.

But like a sprout pushing its way through the soil in spring Westview is up for an exciting year. I think 2009 will be big for Westview. I can feel it. Sometimes change is so gradual you don’t see it. But this feels like change. We’re gaining more and more homeowners who are also busy fixing up their homes. We have a new homeowner on our street working on the house, and another house under contract a few doors down from us. And we see new faces appearing at the Westview Community Organization meetings or emailing us saying “Hey, I’m a new neighbor…”. Hopefully all these new neighbors coming to Westview and working on their houses will inspire us to work extra hard in 2009. You know, ‘keeping up with the Jones‘…

Posted in Our Bungalow, Our Neighborhood, Photos, Westview Bungalow | Comments Off on Bungalow New Years Love