It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time….

“You will do foolish things,  but do them with enthusiasm.”   Colette

After four years of postponing outside repairs on our South Philadelphia home,  we finally decided to bite the proverbial paintbrush.

Not because the building desperately needed painting,  but because our metal bump-out windows had so many leaks that birds were nesting inside….

16_09_27-1-linn-street-before-dc_6305“Besides,  I am so over this green and tan color scheme….”


So this summer,  we dug into our piggy bank and hired Mexcon,  the  cheerful, talented, and very popular local cooperative that has helped us with everything from kitchen cabinets to sidewalk repair…

16_09_27-2-linn-scaffolding-cm_3860Heaven bless those Mexcon guys,  who spent endless days in the 90-degree heat sanding and repairing our vintage bay windows


But the big battle was waged inside,  where we debated endlessly on color schemes.

16_09_27-4-dave-before_4362Wait for it…..

 “What about the ’50s colors we used in the kitchen?”

16_09_27-3-kitchen-wallOur favorite kitchen wall:   The concept came from the book  “Great Paint Effects”  by Annie Sloan;   the colors came from our mid-century Russel Wright china.

 “Maybe on a ’50s house,  but not with that red brick and traditional trim.”

16_09_27-4-dave-before_4362Wait for it….

“What if we painted the first floor purple with over-sized polka dots?”

“Everyone’s doing it.”

Meanwhile,  we raided our basement paint stash and trudged to C&R on Washington Avenue for yet more paint samples,  most of which joined the basement rejects.

“Have you picked the paint colors for the top floors yet?”  Mexcon’s perpetually pleasant Javier finally asked.  “We’re ready to move the scaffolding.”

16_09_27-5-mexcon-javier-dc_8123Wait for it….

 And so we settled on two neutral colors,  and kept dabbing paint samples on the first floor.

16_09_27-6-upstairs-paint-cm_3894The top floor colors are pretty subdued,  but we knew they’d be up there for a long time because we can’t reach them.   “What if we painted the brick purple?”


 16_09_27-7-paint-samples-dc_4294A palette of possibilities,  with a pinch of purple that we found in the basement.

 “You know,  Dave,  those paint samples look pretty good together – and that purple would make a great accent color.”

 16_09_27-4-dave-before_4362Wait for it….

 “Why don’t we use all of them in a grid pattern on the first floor,  and paint the doors purple?”

16_09_27-4-dave-before_4362Wait for it….

 “We could even stencil purple quotes on the walls,  like we did in Asbury Park!”



So  we laid out a grid pattern,  and Dave grabbed the blue tape and several pans of paint….

16_09_27-9-passyunk-wall-blocks-dc_4067Dave finishes up the four-color grid across from Passyunk Avenue’s  “singing fountain”.   And,  yes,  it still needed something else.


Then he added the purple mascara…..

16_09_27-10-first-floor-passyunk-dc_5554Success!   (or maybe just exhaustion…)

 So,  if you’ve passed the corner of E. Passyunk and Tasker recently,  you’ve probably seen us and the ever obliging Mexcon crew rushing to meet our end-of-September deadline.

Because we now have a new project up our sleeve….

16_09_27-11-mexcon-crew-dc_8082Wait for it….


As you may know, every December  we put up a holiday display with photos of our East Passyunk neighbors smiling from our windows.

16_09_27-12-neighbor-windows-dc_6507Our neighborhood windows – a holiday tradition since,  well,  2013.

This year, though – like many people we know – we’ve been beat down by all the soul-draining negativity, name-calling, and finger-pointing in the news.

So,  with the help of 26 Philadelphia artists,  writers and performers,  we’re planning a new non-partisan, pre-election window display to remind us just how much goodness and potential we still hold in our hands.


Check here at  Unexpected Philadelphia  during October to learn about our new “VOTE” window project…and to read about a found-object “VOTE” exhibit we’ll sponsor by the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers…and to participate in our online photo exhibit showing hundreds of smiling, still optimistic Philadelphians.

Details are coming next week!

16_09_27-14-kate-daveWait for it again?  We don’t think so…!

Kate & Dave






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