Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Jeanne - Davistown


I've worked as a painter and decorator for all of my working life and get to work in some interesting places , occasionally I will take the camera to work to record a particular job.
This is a job we done a couple of years back and the photos have sat unexplained in my albums at Webshots.
We had a call from a lady in Sydney who needed help with her grandparents old house at Davistown , Gosford Council had ordered her to remove all the decaying lead based paint from the house as it was polluting nearby properties.
The house was built in 1914 by her grandfather using a kit imported by sea from Canada , only the brick foundations , out buildings and roof were locally sourced , it comprised of 2 bedrooms , a living/dining area and rear laundry/bathroom , we were unable to work out where the kitchen was though as there was no stove or fireplace inside.
Inside the walls were made from timber panelling and the former owner had gone to great trouble decorating the inside , hand painted friezes around the ceiling depicting all manner of water craft on Sydney Harbour , hand painted dado lines with cut out fishes also painted by hand adorned the lower walls.


We figured the guy worked as a painter for the Government somewhere , possibly the Ferries or Garden Island as the painting style was similar to how they painted up the old train interiors , I wish I had my camera the day we were allowed inside to see the house.
Outside as we slowly stripped through an estimated 20 - 30 coats of paint of all colours , we cursed the old bastard who must have re painted the house every year in a new colour , and imagined him having a laugh at us poor bastards suited up like spacemen undoing his handy work.


The timber panelling around the lower walls was all cedar and in perfect condition , the gables were adorned with 2 cut out Rosellas that were lovingly hand painted , like the fish inside and the house name Jeanne was painted similarly , maybe this was the lady of the house's name.
So after 2 months and much cursing and sweating we had removed every square inch of paint from the entire house , the owner had run out of money and didn't even have enough to pay us to at least put a primer coat on all that now bare lovely timber , it stills sits there bare and rotting to this day.


Going over another man's work like we did gave us an insight to who he was and his love of his house by the way it had been maintained , to see it wasting away like that is a shame and I'm sure the old painter who owned it would agree.

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