Friday, August 22, 2008

The new (old) facade...

The mason FINALLY finished the new brick face. We used reclaimed brick from a salvage brick & stone place in Norristown. They are 100 yr old original Philly face brick from a few different jobs. The interesting thing about using reclaimed brick is...well, you never really know what your going to get (unless you lay the whole thing out beforehand, and...uhh, good luck with that.) We are generally very happy with the result. It has lot of character and tells a great story, in addition to being a very sustainable solution.

I suppose the only part that we weren't too happy about was the conglomeration of bright red bricks around the middle of the facade. We feel these were not mixed in to the rest as evenly as the blues, yellows, and blacks toward the bottom (which we love.) We took a chance by using old brick and we feel it was well worth it. Even the mason (who hated the idea all along) had to confess (begrudgingly) that he was very impressed with the final product and never imagined it could look this good. We even had a nice older woman by and say that she has lived in this neighborhood for over 50 years and has never seen anything quite like it. She loved it.

The only work left to do out front now is put in the reclaimed marble steps and then eventually redo the sidewalk.

Now the question is: what to do, if anything, about all the bright red bricks? It's purely a question of aesthetics. And please...if anyone out there has an opinion on this, please let us know by leaving a comment. We are open for suggestions. Below is a concept we came up with (using Photoshop) where we could "tone down" the red brick and maybe bring a little bit of the blue, yellow, and black up to the top area. This could be achieved by stripping the paint off a few of the red bricks (using a great product from Dumond called Smart Strip by Peel Away) and then painting a few of the bricks up higher with matching blue, yellow, and black from the lower part. The purist side of me says "leave it alone, that's the way the cards fell and it's beautiful." But the developer side of me keeps reminding me that this is a spec house and has to have some degree of 'curb appeal" (as much as I hate that term.) Aesthetically speaking, we like the "after" version better but are torn by concept of messing with the quasi-chaotic purity of the whole process.

ADDENDUM (8/27/08):
See image below. A good friend, "Dubin" (who has commented a few times on the blog) has helped out by taking a stab at another version...this one, going in the opposite direction by accentuating the color variations. Looks great! Maybe a bit crazy for our taste but we like what your thinking. Thanks for participating!


Dubin said...

Oh yeh, totally. Work it. Cards falling where they may? Eh. Get out there and make it an even better version of what it is.

You could even paint more bricks red, as opposed to stripping any. I photoshopped my own version, but I can't post it here so I'll email you and you can post it as an addendum to your original post. Maybe it's too colorful, but check your email.


chad said...

I think it looks great as is. It adds character to the house which was one of your goals. Character comes from both material and quirky Philly labor... You have enough to do anyways without adding more to your plate. Cudos for using so much reclaimed material. It requires a lot of extra work, coersion and often cost. The results are paying off for your project!

SummerEllen said...

I say you wait until the project is complete, until ALL the component are in place, and then see what you think of the facade....and how much is left in the coffers. It's a project that can always be tackled down the road.

Justin said...

I would definitely hold off on thinking about the bricks until you see what it looks like with the new door, the metal panels (3rd floor), and the steps.

My first impression was that the red bricks were out of place (a little), but the more I looked at the building...they grew on me!

Katie said...

Awesome blog, by the way.. but I think the wait and see attitude is good.. you may end up loving it.. or maybe you can even accentuate the red area with something else that's red? Red curtains to balance out all the green?! Ha!