House History


Every house has a history, regardless how old it is. In 1998 I built this small cottage for my family on a mountain lake in North Carolina, and was careful to document every step of the process.

I always thought I would mark its completion by chiseling the year “1998” on this hallway beam, but since I was never sure I could make it look truly professional, I kept putting it off.

Then it occurred to me: forget the carving, just stencil on the year. The only materials I needed were a tube of Minwax “Onyx” Express Color (stain and finish pre-mixed in the tube), a sea sponge, a stencil and some paper towels to blot the excess off the sponge before lightly dabbing each stencil.

I sprayed the back of each stencil with some aerosol adhesive to hold it onto the beam temporarily, then very lightly dabbed the Express Color onto the stencil until I had filled in the number.

Then I pealed off the stencil — and decided to use a cotton swab and a little Express Color to fill in the small gap the stencil company had designed into the top of the number.

From start to finish, my stencil project took less than thirty minutes, left no chips or dust in the house, and looks more professional than I could have done with a hammer and chisel. History is made!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!