The farmhouse has always been white. My 94-year-old father-in-law and his seven siblings grew up there. Their father and grandfather built the house in 1885. And it's always been white.
Until last fall, that is. Along came the in-law (that would be me), who painted it a dusky yellow. I'm sure there were those who wondered, "What in the world is she thinking??" I can tell you what I was thinking: FREE! When people asked me what color the house was, I told them free. It's a wonderful color!!
There were several reasons to choose this wonderful color, the most important one being its cost: $0.00. My brother-in-law John has his own construction business, specializing in tin roofs, log cabins, and guess what: exterior painting!! Several years ago, he took on a job and purchased gallons of quality paint in the client's chosen color. That client must have been a little like me, because she changed her mind on colors. I'm glad she did because she let John keep the wrong color and he offered it to us for his cost, which was nothing. Our farmhouse hadn't been painted in decades, which meant it required a lot of scraping, Since the first coat of paint would need to soak in well to provide a good base, it would not be a true color. Therefore, it didn't really matter what color it was. It could have been hot pink for all I cared. It would eventually be covered up anyway. So John went to work, adding linseed oil to the paint and slathering it on. Then we let it sit and soak in all winter.
Folks were scratching their heads, wondering if we were going to leave the house this color. Some liked it; some did not. I have to admit, the color grew on me. With some dark green or dark brown shutters and trim, and a dark roof, it would look pretty spiffy. But in the end, I decided to put it back to its original white. Consequently, folks were scratching their heads again this last month as the paint went on:
Now it's all white again and gleaming in the summer sun. Besides the free base coat, there was another advantage to painting it yellow. Around the front door there are sidelights, small panes of original glass. When John put the yellow paint on the house he used a sprayer, and much to my dismay, he didn't shield the glass in these sidelights. They were covered in yellow paint and I wondered if it would all scrape off. Thankfully it did, and in the process it revealed something special. Robin's great-grandfather, William H. Vance, who was born in 1842, fought in the Civil War, and died in 1935, had etched his name in the glass.
What a find that was! I think we'll be leaving the yellow paint and the treasure it revealed on this pane of glass for a long time. It's a sweet whisper from the past to inspire us in our quest to make this house a home once again.