Front Porch – Part 3 of 3. Where we sand and stain the floor. But first try to kill each other.

The most exciting part of this front porch project?  When we actually PAID someone to do work.  It goes against everything Paul stands for… but sanding a floor is the one task he’ll allow someone else to do.

If you’re wondering what it’s like?  To pay someone?  It’s unbelievably awesome.

DIY Victorian front porch restoration

I left to go to the farmer’s market and the library and an estate sale.  Because when you pay someone else to do work, you can leave your house… and when you come home it’s magically finished!

This was Saturday.  And there was a two-step plan:
Step 1:  Guys show up to sand.
Step 2:  Paul stains.

DIY Victorian front porch restoration

Step One went fine.  But when I got home I said—Hey!! How’d it go?  And Paul showed me the can of stain.  And? It was NOT remotely the same color we’d ordered.

Why we did not think to OPEN the cans, or look at them, or check that they were the same is beyond me.  But like idiots, we assumed that we would get what we ordered.

At which point, Step Two fell apart.

DIY Victorian front porch restoration

I forgot to take a photo of the sample can for comparison… So you’ll have to take my word for it that it was not ORANGE.

Personally, I think Paul was kind of accusatory when he showed me the stain.  He said things like—THIS IS NOT THE COLOR WE ORDERED.  And I was like, believe me… I see that.

And then he said— So? Can I go ahead?
And I was like, excuse me?  What?  Why are you asking me this?  No.  Obviously.  Furthermore, you know this.

Incase you’re thinking I did something stupid?  Like order floor-stain online, based on nothing but a whim and the color blocks they show you?  That is NOT how I operate.

Cabot Australian Timber Oil Shades

My advice?  Do not order Cabot sample-cans online and assume they will be the same color as the actual full-size can.  Do not spend a month deliberating over stain.  And ordering stuff on the Internet.  And reading deck chat-boards.  And getting your husband to sand off a good-sized section of porch so that you can test them all.  And then assume that you have made some kind of progress/educated decision/choice you will be happy with.

DIY Victorian front porch restoration

Because?  If you assume any of those things, you will end up on a Saturday afternoon like me—driving around frantically while your husband morphs into angry-stain-guy.

Paul is like a train. Once it leaves the station?  You DO NOT want to step out in front of it.  Stopping his momentum is likely to end in dismemberment and death.

And that’s where I come in.

My role in this entire house-project is to be the person who leaps out in front of the train.  High-kicking and wearing a marching-band outfit and playing the tuba and tying myself to the tracks.

I’m sure I don’t need to point out—that it is OBVIOUSLY not my fault that the actual stain was significantly different from the sample.  Right?  This is obvious to you.  To anyone, really.  Except to Paul.  To him I was the wrench in his plan.  And therefore the bane of his entire existence.  And?  When that happens?  I think: oh really?  This is the bane of your existence? You have not seen anything yet.

DIY Victorian front porch restoration.  Choosing stain color.

The porch flooring is IPE or Brazilian hardwood… or something I do not really understand.  If you do, good for you, but please do not try to explain it to me because I no longer care.

What I DO care about is that it means your stain options are limited.  So limited that I do not like ANY of them.  It took us a month to find one I liked.  And we had to special order it.  And it ended up being a figment of our imagination.

Choosing stain color.  Sanding front porch. DIY Victorian wrap around porch restoration.

Of course this was a Saturday afternoon at three o’clock. And of course Home Depot does not carry what we needed.

Like lunatics, we drove over to a small, local paint store.  Thankfully, they were open and they carried a different brand that works for IPE.  We tested all five shades of the Sikkens stain IN the store on a piece of sample deck we brought from home.  We picked the least hideous one and drove home.

Paul had calmed down…lulled into thinking his train was back on track—the offending blockade had been removed and his stain-path was clear.

Paul has the ability to forget.  Immediately.  How he implied I am the genesis of all his project-problems.  And he forgets that he pointed out how I am impossible to please and will deliberate over degrees and shades and tints.  For eternity.

Until the cows come home.  While the rapture occurs and people are yanked from their cars…  I will still be staring at my options and rearranging sample cards and thinking.  And I will say to the returning Christ-figure… oh, you know what?  I’m not quite done here.  So, I’m not going to be able to go.  But thanks for the invite.

When we got home we tested it on the actual porch.  Which apparently is totally different than the sample piece.  Even though the sample used to be attached to the porch?  Now that it is not, has undergone alchemical wizardry, becoming something entirely different.  I hated it.

Plus, now we were forced to test in a super-small area under where the bases for the porch-pillars will come down around the columns.  It’s hard to tell whether you will like your entire front porch the shade you are seeing on only one-square-inch of wood.  Also of note is this—the boards are hugely varied.  Which I actually like a lot.  As long as they’re not various shades of orange.

So we drove BACK to the stain store.  Got another stain.  Tested it in the store.  Drove home.  Tested it on the actual deck.  We both hated it.  Went BACK to the store and got a NEW shade… In retrospect, obviously we should have just bought ALL the stain they had the first time, but we were operating in panic mode, which doesn’t stimulate rational decision-making.

By the time we got home with the final stain, it was no surprise that I didn’t like it.  I didn’t like any of them.  And I couldn’t even tell if any of them were an option that I could actually live with.

At this point, Paul had progressed past irritation into the realm of boiling frustration.  It was Saturday, and Saturday’s program was to finish the porch floor.  With what—he did not care.

I suggested we wait until Monday when I could go to another deck store.  And then Paul lost his mind.  He explained to me at top volume how the porch had JUST been sanded, and was therefore READY. And if we WAITED… ANYTHING could happen:  dirt/dust/bird poop/cat prints/random outdoor catastrophes. And if I had wanted to go to MORE deck stores the time to do it was BEFORE the deck was sanded.

And I was like… YES Paul.  That IS what I want—to spend more of my life driving around to deck stores.  How did you know??

Victorian wrap around porch. Sanding and staining our porch floor.

There is something about Paul where he thinks that if he goes crazy first, he gets first dibs on it.  And there will be none left for me.  And I will be forced to take Option B—agreeing with him and slinking away quietly to appease his bad mood.

WHY after EIGHT years of marriage he STILL thinks this is BEYOND me.

I will see your bad mood.  And I will raise it.  And then I will steal all your cards and all your chips.  And I will get you kicked out of the casino.  And then I will go to the Chanel boutique and buy a new handbag.  So LOOK OUT.

Instead, I said—do whatever you want.  And walked away.

And I realized this:  I have come so far.  Even a year ago, I would have been ENRAGED at the suggestion of using a subpar color/product/stain/paint shade/sofa/toilet paper holder.  But now?  I don’t care.

This house has killed my aesthetic martyr.

Restoring our old Victorian home… wraparound Front Porch project… we sand and stain the floor.

Random information:  Cabot claims drastic shade difference is impossible.  However, the guys at the mom-and-pop paint store told us that Cabot has been purchased by Valspar and that their store has stopped carrying Cabot because right now the product is unreliable.

Oh? INTERESTING… Cabot-Valspar-ruiners-of-my-Saturday.

Wrap around Victorian front porch

Incase you missed the first two parts:

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Very hysterically funny… so much that I actually lost sight of how totally miserable this all must have been. You have a great writing gift and a house beautiful enough to withstand the ugliness of any bad stain. Also, your marriage belongs on TV because… just highly amusing.

I hesitated to characterize Paul as anything other than stoic and handsome. But um. Clearly I overcame that hesitation.

It was miserable at the time… the way anything is when spiraling out of control and tempers are short. However, I am so pleased with my casino analogy, I’ve forgotten how irritated I was.

You know… it’s something only I will notice and care about. But it’s kind of orangey.

Fortunately, my relief at it just being finished outweighs my dislike of the color. I’m actually surprised at how much I don’t care.

This is why we get along. I SO understand that part. There’s a first floor landing that I’ve stopped caring about whether or not it should be carpeted like the rest of the stairs or hardwood. I just don’t want to step on plywood anymore.

I’m pretty sure ambivalence won’t do anything for the appearance of this house, but it certainly did a lot for my mental state.

I should try to make more decisions from that state of mind rather than my usual control-freak-over-analytical-crazy-person… no one likes her anyway.

I just love you! Seriously… we could be sisters in so many ways. I many times feel like the things I want just don’t exist… except in my head and minds eye. To try and find this perfect product or perfect color is maddening and eventually does make you want to sit in a corner and cry and totally give up. I’m with you, Victoria! Hang in there.

I know you don’t want to hear this but IP is GOOD STUFF! You should definitely feel lucky to have it even though it has been a pain in your butt. It’s durable, very bug resistant and I think extremely beautiful. The perfect choice for decking.

I’m amazed at any couple that can go through a home renovation and remain… ummm… MARRIED!
I’m telling you I’m sure Richie would love to put duct tape around my mouth and tie me up in an empty room for a few days. OH the things he could accomplish! HAH HA ! Honestly, I think the porch looks amazing. Once you step away from it for a few days it will seem perfect to you. I just know it! It’s really beautiful! The prettiest porch I’ve ever seen… for sure.

I know you’re right about the material, but seriously? The stain choices are ALL orange. They name them all these appealing-sounding tints, but really they should say Orange #1, Orange #2…

We are at three years in this house now, and whenever I think Paul and I have perfected our communication, (or at least drastically improved it,) something like this happens. Where you both actually have the SAME EXACT frustration, but are completely unable to stand its manifestation in the other person.

The feeling of just walking away and choosing to be done with it was such a relief. I didn’t know you could choose an orange floor and then go inside and make dinner and not even go out to check on the progress.

They may all seem orange in the can, but what you put any color near plus the lighting will affect how you see them, too. And blue will definitely bring out the orange in any stain. I hope it ages warmer and browner for you.

ha ha! it takes two to tango – and your tango is very funny – though I’m sure it seems anything BUT that in the moment! I agree that the stain looks great. BTW, I love the image of you in a band outfit marching out in front of Paul’s DIY train, so great! I also got a good chuckle over the fact that your deck sample could have chemically changed on the way to the stain store, good stuff :)

Well when I had the same exact drama I was asked…did u stir it up real good? LOL I did not have anyone to share the blame and to add insult to injury when. I got the last one I dropped the can on my toe and had to have that burn in the nail to bleed off my toe surgery remember that? That was in may and my toenail hasn’t grown back yet. I was so disgusted I used semi opaque stain. Hate it but living with it.

If Cabot had asked me if I stirred it well, I would have punched them through the phone. Don’t ask how I would have accomplished it, but I would have.

I suppose I’ll have to try to be grateful that no one lost a toenail…lol.

So maddening when you feel like you’ve finally found “it”. Thanks for sharing the reality of a good marriage- home improvement projects can be so “fun” sometimes…

I agree with the others- it really does look amazing. I hope you feel that way too eventually. Hang in there…hopefully you’re nearing the home stretch. At least is one less thing….right?

Yes. Fun. The kind of fun you cannot imagine until you try to accomplish the seven-levels of unexpected tasks required by any home improvement project. With your spouse. While they are in mood even worse than yours.

And yes, it being done is the best part of it anyway… so the color issue will pass.

Victoria, you had me laughing and crying and feeling your pain! It reminds me of the time my husband and I ordered two living room chairs with a custom fabric. LOVED the fabric sample in the store, but once the chairs arrived, we were not doing cartwheels! (The fabric suddenly looked “old-ladyish”!) We lived with them for over eight years till the fabric starting getting worn and I said “That’s enough!” and replaced them with two classic black leather chairs and we couldn’t be happier. BTW, I think your porch looks fabulous!

It’s a bad feeling… that sinking realization that you’ve just committed to something you’d really like to change your mind about.

On the positive side, not being totally in love with your upholstery makes it less sad when someone eventually spills something!!

Okay, clearly I am not as discerning as you, but the deck looks amazing to me. When I began to read the story I was certain you were going to say Paul had painted half the deck with the pre-ordered stain and you got home and freaked out…and he had to sand half the deck right after paying someone to sand it for you! So this story seems way better. I once went to Home Depot and purchased the paint color I had deliberated over for months only to discover that the morning the painters arrived the HD guy had sold me the color right below MY color on the color card. The paint ended up looking wonderful and we still have it. The color I had selected was probably the SAFE color, I can be timid where color is concerned.
I loved your story, as always. I can relate to the fast moving train and momentum worker more than I can with the discerning, great taste in stain, administrative assistant. :-) Patience is not one of my virtues.

It is entirely possible that Paul weighed out, and decided against the risk to his life, if he went ahead and stained with what he had. If he did think about it, he heard me saying something shrill and disbelieving and angry… and that dissuaded him.

It will be fine… It’s just not at all what I had spent a month deciding on. It really is strongly orange/yellow. Even if I’m the only one who will ever notice.

I guess I need to get a better photo that shows it in a larger scale. No one here will say, oh wow, that IS totally orange, but at least you’ll see why it’s not exactly what I wanted.

I hate orangey but the picture doesn’t look orange, it reminds me of the teak-like wood that used to be the floor for a Nautica store that opened in Fashion Island, Newport Beach, CA. Very nautical but very pretty. Paul was probably thinking, as Lyn (my husband) would have, “uh, this looks wrong and it’s above my pay grade to make this decision”

I’ll post another photo… you won’t think it looks bad, exactly… but you’ll see that the shade should be more brown.

There have been a few times Paul has decided to just go ahead… despite being *well* aware I wouldn’t be happy with the product/outcome/shade… none of those times have worked out for him,

The pleasure we took from finishing our patio, after 2 years of mouldy concrete, A joy, your deck looks good, and after sanding our internal floors I think getting someone to do it for you was a good move.


Paul sanded floors at our old house, and the time-intensiveness combined with the skill of using a tool that’s not something he’s a pro with… makes it better for us to just pay someone. The guys we had do it were incredibly fast compared to the time it would have taken Paul…

Oh boy! I felt incredibly stress just reading this post! Poor you, poor Paul.
On the up side, the porch looks fabulous! You can’t tell from looking that the staining had been so stressful. Oh, and the door, so lovely!
So what’s the next project?

Oh my goodness… this is so hysterical and horrible at the same time! We’ve been there… I KNOW that conversation, just not so brilliantly captured.

Isn’t hiring out the best?! It’s truly magical and still oddly satisfying knowing all the sweat, stress and sore muscles you just avoided. I can’t even imagine how the conversation would’ve gone if Paul had done the sanding himself and then been faced with the wrong stain.

Despite all the chaos, the finished results are really beautiful and I hope you both are enjoying it.

I never even considered the depth of pandemonium we would have sunk to, if Paul had spent hours sanding… only to have to shop for stain.
One of us wouldn’t be alive.

It’s amazing how fast the floor-guys were. They showed up, unloaded their truck, and got to work all in like two minutes. Plus it made me feel totally luxurious and rich. Like I was having a spa day and then going shoe-shopping or whatever people who hire contractors do with their time.

Ha, Captain No-Shiny. I love it. I also love your white porch ceiling. We have only a humble country cottage but the whole back deck is barn red. We’re not there yet, still on the kitchen, but it kills me to even think about painting the whole giant thing. (My kitchen ceiling is shiny!)

I would say this—a paint sprayer is your friend. I cannot imagine having done the square-footage involved in our porch ceiling by hand. Especially with the multiple coats we needed to cover the bright orange (and that you will need to cover barn red).

I guess your husband is less of a shine-dictator… lucky you!! Lol.

Oh My Gosh I adore you. I love your writing style and I LOVE this house! I’ve definitely been enjoying reading your stuff since our blog paths crossed. Good luck to the future, I’ll be reading! :)

Hey, thanks! Seriously.
I love this house too… but it’s turned me into a version of myself that I wouldn’t have recognized a few years ago. I worry that the brainpower I’m expending on the minutiae of house-details is a sign of some kind of moral shortcoming.

Nah, it’s A LOT of work that you and your husband are doing, of course there will be days of short tempers and frustration and all that, but its the time at a happy days end that matters, when you can look at what you’ve accomplished and be proud. Someday you’ll get back to the ‘you’ that you’ll recognize. Until then just keep pushing through. You’re doing amazing work, and you’re keeping your sense of humor in tact, as well as your ability to look through and really digest the moral shortcomings you may or may not have developed.

Thanks for that. I get so wrapped up in details… even though later they are revealed to be incredibly idiotic.

We still keep the toilet paper on the back of the toilet, because I could not choose a holder and got overwhelmed and gave up. Whenever I look at it, it’s a reminder that what seems urgent one month, will later be utterly trivial.

Hahaha. It’s funny, really if you think about it. My mom always said that you should never pick out a living room “set” or decorate an entire room at once, because in life you need to stumble across things that fit well. Sometime or another you’ll stumble across the perfect toilet paper holder and there will be no stress involved! ha.

After reading this, I now know that if I had a deck to finish, I would not want to. But you know what–yours turned out beautifully even after all the strife. Must have been karma from that new purse.

You are hilarious. Love your writing! Please author a book.

Alarming and hysterical, spot on! That’s why I chose it. If I ever decide to write a few more thoughtful posts I’ll have to change it or no one will be able to take seriously. On that note, if you thought the gravatar was good, scroll down to the bottom of this–I can’t remember where I came across this image but it’s even better.

I was honestly a little scared to click the link… I’m not a very brave person. “Gremlins” was like the most terrifying movie I’ve ever seen. But? The “no time to explain, get in the van” made me laugh out loud. And then be creeped out.

Oh my, your post is one for the records! Good stuff I’ll tell you. Parts of it took me back to the days my ex ( this was part of the reason he’s an ex ) and I bought a house that was so much a project we had to live in a motor home in the driveway for two months! I don’t miss those days. If I had the chance to renovate again, I’d hire it all out. I’d be like ” I want this, this and this ” My project days are over but I sure do appreciate what you’re dealing with. There does come a point when you just want it done and the mystique of ” doing it yourself ” seems so fairytale. I wish you only the best on your next venture.

One on hand, living in our driveway would allow me some respite from the dirt and mess. But on the other hand? I don’t think I could live in such close-quarters with anyone other than my cat…

Hiring everything out is now my biggest fantasy… a fantasy that would also have to include winning the lottery. Reality shows about home repair/remodeling have totally romanticized the whole DIY thing. Until you actually do it, you have no idea…

The story is completely relatable – common place but not common, not the way you tell it. It’s not polite to take pleasure in or look at the pain of others as entertainment but lines like, “please do not try to explain it to me because I no longer care.” did make me snicker.

I see the differences in color but actually like it, better than (I think) if it had all been dark or all been light.

It’s a beautiful display of wood, grain, texture and color.

I DO really like the stripe-y look. It’s not something I’d seen before this porch, and I’m really happy with that aspect of it… like you said, it gives it texture and makes the wood more interesting.

I’m actually glad you laughed… As miserable as the experience was, I was surprised how funny I found it when posting about it.

I can totally relate to the boiling frustration and tension underneath the surface, unspoken disagreements and silent acquiescence in order to appease the other party in house-fixing-up-ing. Looks like it still turned out beautifully. I’m hoping I’ll too be able to say the same after this new house endeavor I’m in…and also still be alive to say so 😉 Great post!

Nice article. I’ve lived this many times when working on my house and can relate. I can also tell you that I am a woodworker and there is no way the stain will ever look how you want it to, or how it looks at the store, or on the swatch, or on the sample you made, or on the company’s web site. It seems that stain manufacturers seem to forget that wood is a natural product and unless all of your boards come from the same tree(actually a specific part of the same tree) they will very rarely match. Of course you could dye the wood, or use mega collosal size containers of pre-stain conditioner(roughly 700 coats) but that’s all kooky talk.

You’re absolutely right… I’ve learned that *nothing* in a house will ever turn out to your exact, precise specifications. (Paul has, at times, suggested I missed my calling of working for NASA, in their calibration department…)

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know about a dye option. Or 700 coats. Those sound like things I would have explored, just to make my life more difficult.

I am the color picker in the family but the husband always says “No dark colors.” When we first moved in this house and I started painting he wondered why I picked ‘museum colors.” Coral and a chicory blue. Now I am picking new colors and I am sure he still thinks I am going for museum colors.

Husbands say mysterious things… And then leave you to interpret them for yourself, because they will not elaborate.

When I asked Paul to look at my blog, his first comment was that I used “Halloween colors.” And I was like, what? No… But then later I was like, hmm.

I think home renovations can kill anyone’s “aesthetic martyr”. Faucet shopping and paint shopping are the worst. At the end of it everything started to look the same to me…I’m glad your staining project is done. It looks wonderful.

Top quality writing. But painful to read. Your problems are of your (joint) own making.

(1) Marriage: Nobody should get married. I was lucky enough to avoid it. I have no porch problem.

(2) Property owning: Nobody should buy a dwelling-place. I rent. I have no porch problem.

(3) Buffing & Re-staining: Timber (the stuff of which giant weeds are made) varies. I accept that. Guess what problem I do not have.

There. That makes me feel better. Now you can delete my Comment. Good luck with the grass, aka lawn, aka garden, aka yard. Hint: it is SUPPOSED to be various shades of green.

I’m highly entertained by your comment… Possibly in my next life, I will take your advice. No house, no porch, no yard. We will see about the husband. For me, the good parts outweigh the bad, but we haven’t started the kitchen yet…

Where to begin? Your blog lit so many forgotten fuse papers (not all related to Mr Carmichael).
I once chose a shower and ensuite bathroom based on the colour of a wooden floor tray. On delivery, like you, I was shocked to discover a tray so utterly alien to the promised article that I might have been rendered speechless if I hadn’t had so much to say. My builder couldn’t see the problem, checked with Matki, the supplier and thought the issue dead and ‘you’ll probably get used to it’ a reasonable comment. He began to see the problem when I told him to take the shower out.
I made the mistake of leaving Mr Carmichael in charge of receiving some high gloss white kitchen cupboards. More fool me. Honestly I think he’d have rather have half the kitchen vanilla than SORT THE PROBLEM OUT. Oh and he hadn’t noticed the discrepancy.
Now, I’m wondering do you know me? I HAVE bought a designer handbag after a MR and MRS row. At one stage in our marriage it got so bad that flowers would arrive minutes after he left for work in the hope, I guess, that I wouldn’t go shopping.
Well done. Loved the piece and the accompanying photographic evidence.

“You’ll probably get used to it,” is code… Code for, “Please feel free to make my life as difficult as humanly possible.”

You know what else is code? “I didn’t notice.” That’s code for—“I DID notice, but hoped that by pretending I didn’t, somehow it would magically resolve itself, and my life would not be disturbed.”

I could have work for the Allied resistance effort in WWII. That’s how good my code-skills are.

p.s.- I prefer Chloé, but have mostly settled for Kate Spade…You?

I think I may dislike orange-toned stains almost as much as you… Cabot included. I’ve purchased online also, and have grown to like Fuhr stains (they’re eco-friendly and have beautiful colors) best. Despite the smidge of orange, your deck looks lovely with all of the varying tones!

Entertainingly, nearly every webpage I view is showing me ads for Cabot… I guess my recent search for the color swatches made the Internet think I want to buy more of their orange stain…

I wish I had heard of Fuhr prior to last Saturday… on top of the color, what we ended up using smells terrible. I am hoping the orange will fade to something darker… anything so bright probably won’t withstand the elements!

Brought me out in fits of laughter reading your blog as I know how it is in renovating and restoring. Especially ….as I am in the process of restoring a farmhouse in France

The joys of teamwork with home renovation projects (not!) — my husband and I have learned over the years that we do not play well together when it comes to these things. Great post! ~ Kat

Sounds like one of our crazy renovation projects. So from the picture it looks like you found a stain and stained it, but I couldn’t tell that from the story? Anyway, it looks like beautiful wood and hopefully you’ll still be married long enough to enjoy it together :)

We used the last stain we came home with. The store was closed for the night, and Paul didn’t want to wait… I guess I didn’t really clarify that!

Not the way I like to choose my colors… but it ended up fine. Plus, it was nice to just be finished with it…

Too funny and yet…I have a sneaking suspicion that my husband and yours are twins, separated at birth. There might be an age (58?)and nationality (danish?) difference but at heart, they are the same man.
I was with you all the way! (the casino analogy was spot-on)

Funny, isn’t it? How universal that husband-trait is?

However, I’m pretty sure if Paul got to tell his side of the story? Your husband would look at you with new and glowing admiration for your quick-decisions and easy-going appeal.

I don’t know how to tell you this but, well, I think I am married to Paul too, for the past 23 years. Except he goes by Dave and lives in California.
After prepping walls for wall paper, putting in a back porch, putting tile down in our great room, resurfacing our kitchen counters and putting in baseboard we now rate projects on the “will this end our marriage” scale. If it comes anywhere near “highly likely” we either a) pay someone, b) scrap the project, or c) one person volunteers to do it while the other person leaves.
Oh and for the record – if any one owns crazy around here. Let’s be clear it’s me. You would think Paul, I mean Dave would know that by now.

You are my new best friend. I do not care that you are living a dual life with my husband.

In the privacy of this comment, I will admit that sometimes I think maybe Paul owns crazy. Not because of the specific amount or degree of crazy—I far outweigh him there. But just because of his commitment to it.

I go crazy, and then I’m like, I’m so exhausted I need to go lie down. But Paul? It’s like the man has endless energy.

p.s.- I was disappointed there were no photos of Armageddon-inducing projects on your blog

I’m with you on color. I cannot live with orangey wood. Or tan paint that is too pink, blue that is too purple. It’s so hard to get that just-right color, and having to do it in a rush and under those circumstances, I do not envy you! Great post.

Rushing around and quick-decision making are absolutely foreign to me. I need all the time in the world to choose something…

I am with you about blue paint that is slightly purple! We went through untold shades looking for the porch’s wall paint. They all look blue, until you compare multiple shades next to each other… then you see how lavender/greenish they actually are.

I have to say that I really like the way that the floor turned out, however I’m not totally sure why…

It might be that just about 100% of the porches in my neighborhood are painted the same battleship gray color.

It might be that the stain gives a variety of colors on the boards, and how every now and then there is a board that matches the color of the paint on the front door.

Perhaps that’s what I like best about it…it keeps my eye busy looking for a plan or a connection or a pattern…something that shows that there was an underlying design.

I think that’s especially interesting because from reading this, you didn’t quite get the planned design that you wanted. Still, the eye and the mind of the viewer want to find a design (even if it’s not quite the one that you desired).

I am curious though how you feel about how this flooring transitions to the flooring that is inside the house…Is it jarringly dissimilar? or complimentary?

I hadn’t noticed that board does really match the door! I do really like the variety of the shades of the individual boards. It’s the yellow/orange undertone of the stain that doesn’t appeal to me. (It’s more noticeable on the lighter boards.)

There is a rug right at the inside of the front door, so you don’t really get to compare the interior floor with outside… I do think the end result is fine. Just, not precisely what I wanted. Which at this point, in an old house, you’d think I’d be used to…

This made me giggle madly. I’m sorry to hear about the drama of it all, but at least it has resulted in excellent writing material!

PS: The porch looks great! Don’t sweat a stain.

I found myself wanting to laugh the entire time while reading this… but I could not, it just wasn’t funny. I wanted it to be… but instead I just felt like I wanted to explode. It reminded me of a time I hung a bear skin rug on the wall and it took 3 hours. Now I’m pissed off… and I don’t even know you.

Oh, and congratulations on being freshly pressed.

Like you, I mostly wanted to explode that day… In retrospect, and while writing it, I was surprised by how funny I found it.

Thanks for the congratulations!! My fifteen minutes are almost up!
p.s.- possibly anything that takes three hours to hang, actually just wants to go on the floor…

This made me laugh because my husband and I have been there, but our nemesis was the hardwood floor in the living room of our first house. We ended up having to do the floors twice before we were happy with them. That was an entire weekend wasted.

We’ve recently started construction on a house (a first for us) and I have a feeling it’s going to make both of us crazy before we’re done with it.

Your porch did turn out beautifully though. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

I winced at the idea of redoing your floors… doing them once is a headache. I don’t know what twice is.

In some ways I think building a house would be fantastic… you get everything just the way you want it, rather than working around whatever is already in place. BUT you’re also the decider for *everything*. And that’s a huge job. Good luck! I’m sure you’ll love the end result!

CONGRATS on FP, VIctoria! Welcome to the madness. Enjoy your day and please don’t respond to this… you’ve got to be exhausted. FP is a lot like renovation…. maddening, exciting, tiring, and may even bring tears. Have fun!

For all of that, we stained our deck white. At first my husband was a bit miffed that we “ruined” good wood with something that looked like paint. Now we love it. Your deck looks great by the way. Time and weather ages and changes all stains so just enjoy the time outside in what looks like a great space.

I’m sure the white is lovely. And bright too, which is so nice… Besides, “ruining” good wood is a wife’s prerogative…

I had looked at those colored stain options. I was dubious that they could cover the wood in a smooth, even finish… But recently I finally saw it in person and I was amazed how nice the end product was.

Haha love this, sounds just like me and my husband, we just did our lounge floor!!! Love your sense of humour in your writing, porch looks great!

Rule number one when restoring and or decorating a house. Do not under any circumstances try to select and or use paint, stain, varnish, wallpaper, carpet etc as a joint project with your wife/husband/partner. The chances of ever agreeing are reduced by 50% immediately. Good luck with the rest of the house. My simple solution is to let my wife decide on such things then I have to learn to live with the result. If it was the other way round she would never learn to live with my choices. Simple, figure out who would learn to live with the result and let the other person choose.Good luck with the rest of the house.

That is excellent advice. And generally how we do it… I am the picker, he is the doer. A better deal for me, than for him.

In this case, I really didn’t like any of the limited choices I had that afternoon. I don’t think Paul loved them either, but his scales are calibrated differently than mine. Getting it done is equivalent to what color we use. Whereas mine are totally weighted on the color side…

Great reading! Thank u for ur experience. I will now go with mesmers, the oil based version and hire out! Wow, that made for an easy decision.

Hi. Is that tongue & grove ipe and how long has it been installed? I’m curious as to how well the stain/finish holds up with PA winter weather. Thanks

I’m just remembering that I owed you a response a few days ago!!! Work has been crazy, and my email is out of control!

Yes, tongue and groove… I would say that it’s held up about as well as can be expected. The areas that get full sun are quickly deteriorated, and the finish wears off quickly. I talked to a few pros prior to our porch project, and they all warned that no matter what… weather/sun will beat it up… edges that are most exposed are showing weathering, whereas close to house looks brand new.

It was not cared for before we bought the house, so maybe it would be in better shape if it had been taken care of all along… and maintained better, but I really don’t know.

Is it weird that I really really like the color variation? It looks cool. But then again, photos tend to make a lot of things look better than in real life. Perhaps as it weathers it will grow on you? Or as it has been nearly a year since you posted this post, perhaps it already has 😀

“Where you both actually have the SAME EXACT frustration, but are completely unable to stand its manifestation in the other person.”

Love this! Spent the last week looking for an apartment to move into in a city we know nothing about and live 2 hours from… Ran into this once or twice. Or thrice.

Don’t you just hate it when after so much stress and planning it just isn’t quite right. I think it is beautiful but I am not the one that has to LOVE IT. I think you should put a sign on the front lawn: “The shutters are NOT black” and carry on.

Oh, Victoria, please forgive me this late late comment but it’s my first visit. I laughed until I cried and then I called my significant other in here to read the casino bit and he laughed until he almost cried. Then…I jumped on his lap totally out of control because for the first time I felt like I am a normal woman. Because it must be the same with every well adjusted couple that we just can not see things eye to eye and I am finally not guilty of being out of whack (or a whack job). God bless you dear woman, you have freed me to be me! LOL!

“The porch flooring is IPE or Brazilian hardwood… or something I do not really understand. If you do, good for you, but please do not try to explain it to me because I no longer care.”

That statement made me laugh out loud simply because I’ve been there one too many times. I now feel much better knowing other couples go thru the same scenarios when it comes to construction/remodeling. Thanks……….what a talent you have!

i really loved this post and could relate. i spent five years without doorknobs… including the toilet.. because i just couldnt find the perfect one which lived in my head.
my daughter was seven before she knew how to use one. I too have got over it… more or less