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Extreme Makeover, Carriage House Edition

Dear Kay,
One bad piece of planning for the Cottage Tour was when I asked two of my neighbors if they would be willing to put their adorably and recently renovated cottages on the tour. Frannie and Amanda said yes in a cheerful way, which was great.
The bad-planning part is that my shed is directly across the street from their cottages. Which means that hundreds of people are going to be coming down Maple Avenue next Friday and having to pass by a structure that isn’t really shabby chic, isn’t quaint, isn’t cute. It’s just . . . shiftless.
I knew when the season started that I was going to have to do something about the shed. Actually, as it is with so many problems, I’ve known that for about five years now.
The previous owner called this collection of tar paper and boards a “carriage house,” which is just hilarious given that it was built in the 1940s and housed, for decades, a World War II-vintage Jeep. (The Jeep now lives down the street at another cottage. The shed now houses bicycles, a clawfoot bathtub, a really old propane tank, and probably six thousand brown recluses.) I saw a photo of our cottage in the Assembly archives last week that showed that the shed used to be white, as did our cottage. So I guess it hasn’t been painted in at least a couple of decades.
I guess you can tell that by looking at it.
shedbefore.jpg
At any rate, I’ve had in my head an inky color. Our babysitter Hannah painted the barn on her farm a superdeep eggplant color a while ago, so I have coveted that for a while. But it took my friend Annis’s exhortation and nudging to get me to buy the three gallons of Deep Mulberry that would take this shed to a new destiny.
Five years of dread and four hours of painting later, with the able hands of Annis and sister Buffy . . .
shedafter.jpg
Painting the side required moving a half-composted pile of old wood away from the side of the shed. I think it was this woodpile that had kept me from dealing with this shed all these years. It was the snakiest, creepiest pile of wood I’d ever seen.
shedsidebefore.jpg
But once I had my pitchfork and the Gloves of Invincibility, I chucked the slugs and the crawlies and the boards into a pile, with Annis yelling “snake” to her great amusement, and I finally hit grade level.
Painting the side, down low, reminded me of trying to finish knitting something when you think you’re running out of yarn. If you knit faster, the yarn lasts longer.
shedroller.jpg
Here, the faster I painted, the less likely the totally rotted wood would disintegrate. It was a race against decay. And I kept in mind the wisdom of Buddy the paint guy at Greeter’s Hardware: “Yeah, paint’s kind of like glue sometimes.”
Sister Buffy was stalwart. Annis just covered herself up in paint. We agreed on a fairly relaxed level of prep. The rule was that if something had been painted before, it needed to be Deep Mulberried. Any board that was so warped that it poked out should be painted on all visible sides. If anything was loose, don’t yank on it.
shednail.jpg
I found it really satisfying to paint something where any effort was going to make an improvement. And overcoming dread? InTOXicating!
shedbuffy.jpg
shedsideafter.jpg
It’s fun to watch the color shift from black to purple, depending on the light.
shedbackside.jpg
sheddetail.jpg
So if you come to the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly Woman’s Association Cottage Tour and Bazaar next Friday (details here), you can see the shed in its newfound glory. Unless, of course, the weight of all this new paint is the final straw, and the whole thing falls down.
Love,
Ann

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62 Comments

62 Comments

  1. Bravo! I love the purple color.

  2. Gorgeous with those light green leaves! I wish I had something to paint eggplant! Maybe I’ll have to settle for knitting something eggplant!

  3. I would never think of that color but it’s perfect. I love that it looks different in different light and that it makes the whole thing so unobtrusive (esp. compared to the red). Good job! Clever you.

  4. We too tackled a five year of being terrified project this year. When I say we, what I mean is my OH. I simply watched in awe as the man sanded and then painted three coats. Our Summer house is now protected against the British elements for another 5 years, or decade if we apply the previous standards of maintenance.
    I love the colour you chose, we went for the much more ordinary mahogany. You Americans are much more adventurous!

  5. Oooh, I love that color!!!!

  6. Gosh, I love that color. And I love your painting philosophy. Prep is always the worst part.
    Oh, and up here in Toronto, “carriage houses” are just apartments over detached garages. Yeah, kind of takes all the romance out of it.

  7. Maybe it’s just a guy thing, but I think I would’ve gone the paint sprayer route. A bit more up-front expense, but with more time for cocktails on the back end.

  8. I like it! Having recently painted some Muskoka chairs “garbage can green,” I totally appreciate “mulberry”!

  9. I was a bit skeptical of the color in the first painted photo, but the way the paint changes color in different lights won me over completely. Bravo! (And I absolutely love your minimal prep theory — so well thought out!)

  10. That looks excellent! The thought of all those brown recluses might’ve had me reaching for some lighter fluid and a match, but you are clearly made of sterner stuff than I.
    Brave and beautiful color choice.

  11. great color! and it looks pretty great with the green leaves…one of my fav color combos!

  12. Ditto all the comments above, especially overcoming the fear of the brown recluse. I’ve talked to a woman who was bitten by one of those, and it was not pretty, not pretty at all. But! The last photo captured my heart. Love the lighting, thanks for the romance.

  13. That’s really gorgeous, Ann! Scrumptious color.
    I’m heading down to Chattanooga on Sunday. Too bad it won’t be Friday. I’d have stopped in for the Cottage Tour for sure. Hmm… wonder if my kids’d mind if we drove halfway down to Chattanooga and then back — a test drive of sorts? (= Better not risk it. Maybe next time.

  14. two hand formed and loosely shaped grapevine wreaths, one on each door…

  15. LOVE the color!

  16. This was a great exploit. And I hope the paint holds the building up for a few more decades…

  17. Love the color — but the thing that really does me in . . . is that y’all were painting in WHITE shorts and a pastel tank top! Where are the Paint Clothes? (Or is this a Southern thing. . .)

  18. I also love it and wish I had something to paint mulberry! I keep thinking about the shed at my old house, the one that blew away (the shed, not the house). I wonder if a good coat of mulberry paint would have kept it anchored down?
    And I think Donna’s recommendation for a pair of grapevine wreaths is awesome!

  19. I, too, love the purple color (although, on a certain level, I did sort of appreciate the “shiftless” look ).
    Have fun with the tour!
    LoveDiane
    P.S. If no prizes have yet been awarded from the June 11th post, perhaps a copy of “Porch Party Recipes” would fit the bill…

  20. Hysterical!

  21. OMG! Too cute. To paraphrase Gelett Burgess
    I never saw a purple barn
    I never hope to see one
    But I can tell you anyhow
    I’d rather see, than be one!
    It’s adorable.

  22. My husband gave me a wonderful pair of leather gardening gloves and I somehow knew that I had instantly become a better, braver gardener. I didn’t know how to express the feeling but now that i know the phrase, Gloves of Invincibility, everything is so much clearer to me.
    Lovely brave color, and a wonderful description about painting faster.

  23. What a wonderful color. But now the fact that my (2 year-old) shed is quietly weathering to gray (in about 15 years …) is casting a guilt trip on me. Especially since I do have the right color green.
    Maybe next year.

  24. from pathetic to rustic in just three gallons! Now plant some sunflowers in front of it.

  25. Well done! The mulberry looks superb with the green leaves. A wonderful non-traditional color.

  26. Fantastic!

  27. Love the paint job; what finish did you use and who makes the paint?

  28. Any chance you can share the details on the paint color (Brand and exact name) I really really like that color (and have some ratty but not yet decomposed bookshelves that could use the mystery and allure of dark purple.)
    Thanks!

  29. i thought i had turned on hgtv and john glidden
    in curb appeal the block
    i think you should stand merle haazzard and company in front of the shed to entertain
    the visitors with songs and funny patter

  30. We (husband, 8yo son and I) just got back from seeing *Despicable Me*. When the evil Mr. Gru’s house came on the screen, I nearly elbowed a hole in my husband’s ribs, because it’s exACTly the same color as your, um, carriage house.

  31. LOVE LOVE LOVE THE PURPLE! My bedroom used to be that color on the bottom and coke bottle blue/green on the top. I got carried away with not living in a rental for the first time. Crazy paint colors is very freeing. Congratulations.

  32. love the shed….you said there is a tub in there. is it salvageable? would you like to sale it?? i’m looking in ernest and i could have a tub that was somehow related to my knitting addiction that already permeates 90% of my home.

  33. The purple is fabulous!

  34. Who knew? Your Deep Mulberry shed is simply fabulous, dahling! Beautiful photos! It’ll make a lovely backdrop for some finished object pictures in the future. =)

  35. I totally want to paint our shed purple now too!!! It is an awful country blue color and doesn’t match our house (not that you can see it from the road, but that’s not the point.) We are going to move it from one side of the yard to the other this winter, so if it doesn’t fall apart, I’m going to paint it in the spring!

  36. So University of the South in color. :)
    Looks great, maybe the stars will align and I will be able to check this out on Friday!

  37. That is 100x better than it started out. Even if it falls down under the weight of the paint and the strain of needing to look pretty it will have been worth it.

  38. I love your use of the word “shiftless”. It reminds me of my mom and her sisters, for whom “shiftless” was very serious condemnation, indeed. The new, not-shiftless color is beautiful and it makes me want to paint something!

  39. Beautiful new color – the dark blends or pops depending on the light. I think it just begs to have some folk art up on it’s walls (hidden from public view or not), I am thinking R.A. Miller (Blow Oskars) or a grouping of old bicycle wheels brightly colored… there’s probably something inside your shed awaiting a newfound glorified transformation!

  40. LOVE it!

  41. Half-listening to PBS news while on internet, suddenly realized Mr. Shane was singing on PBS. ROFL:-)

  42. Sorry for the misspelling! I meant Mr. Shayne, of course. Have he and his band of singers been on the Comedy Channel? I could picture them on with Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert.

  43. Plant some orange daylilies and or anything pink and you shock everyone! That shed will be gorgeous! Love the color.

  44. While you’ve been busy painting I see that your husband has been busy recording for PBS! Enjoyed both of your efforts. Egglant is a great color. Good luck with your housewalk!

  45. Reminds me of fresh picked blueberries, yum! As the paint fades in the sun it will continue to change colors like the changing seasons. Great work ladies!

  46. Love the color choice and Robin’s suggestion of the orange day lilies — a complete transition from shiftless to smashing!

  47. I too am a procrastinator, and I remember that “WOW!” feeling that comes after completing a long-avoided project. Also love the color, the painting guidelines, and Buddy’s “paint’s kind of like glue” wisdom.

  48. Beautiful! Well done, that was a lot of work but it looks like it was worth it.

  49. Ann, How shocking to discover that you will be at Monteagle Assembly on Friday. I was already planning to go and now just visiting your blog, I find you have a presence there. How fabulous!
    I look forward to admiring your shed. And making an idiot of myself when I lay eyes upon you.
    Fellow blogger,
    Melody at Fibermania

  50. dear ann merle is singing in public again
    it was all greek to my ears

  51. Wow – love that color. And the second-to-the-last photo? The finished barn in the sunlight? I want to make a quilt of that picture, and I don’t even know how to quilt.
    Beautiful, Ann, beautiful!

  52. The before and after photos are like looking at t-shirts on the Lands End website. The model’s wearing it in faded red, then you click a box and the color changes from faded red to mulberry.

  53. I have a winter down jacket in eggplant and it’s THE BEST. Goes with so many things, yet it’s not boring. BRING ON THE EGGPLANT.

  54. Ooh, how pretty was my first thought. Second: looks much like the Cascade ultrapima cotton I’m knitting with now. Only name on label is color number 3705. Maybe slightly lighter than Deep Mulberry–or it could be the northwest light.
    Thinking you could whip up something–mine is a vest–so you’d match the structure while tour-leading. Just a random thought.

  55. Awesome paint job. I do love the color..HOpe your tour went well. Sounds fun.

  56. We are itching to hear how the cottage tour & bazaar went. However, I recommend that you take the weekend to recover before you update us. We’ll just (grudgingly) knit…
    I just love it that your friends teamed up with you to paint the shed. I betcha if it falls, they’ll help you make a new one! Barn raising, anyone?

  57. Your quilts looked great. Missed getting my usual LV handspun at the Bazaar this year. Fantastic boxed lunches at Winfield-more than anyone could possibly eat. Kudos to the tart maker.

  58. Love the color…great job.

  59. That is the most beautiful shade of paint! What brand is it? You did a wonderful job, and I hope that the tour is a success for all involved!

  60. Ann– Did you survive the Cottage Tour?!?! The Blogosphere awaits news with bated breath.

  61. Bravo! I love the purple color.

  62. Great color for a shed! I love the comment about paint being glue. I think you are right about that. It really is amazing what a little paint will do. Enjoy the rest of your summer….