Choosing Exterior Paint Colors For our Historic Homes

Selecting Colors for Erehwon Retreat


As a boy in Pasadena, CA, I remember my mother reading Huckleberry Finn.  Huck is an archetypal innocent, able to discover the “right” thing to do despite the prevailing theology and prejudiced mentality of the South of that era.  We were renting a Bungalow in 1949, so that’s when my association of Bungalows and Mark Twain began.

While in college in St. Louis, I made a weekend drive to Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum at 206-208 Hill Street, Hannibal, Missouri, on the west bank of the Mississippi River.  It was shortly after reading that it had been designated  a National Historic Landmark on December 29, 1962.

For historic homeowners, the decision is often more complex than taking a quick trip to the paint store. It’s often important to know what the original exterior and interior colors coated the wall. Architectural historians routinely research and document this type of information.  This can provide owners with a greater understanding of the design tastes of particular periods.  For me, it was looking for an appropriate color after completing the interior restoration of Erehwon. Prior to moving to Minneapolis in 1982, I used Valspar’s clear Varnish on the restoration of a 1923 Wianno Senior Knockabout Sloop.  My experience over three years in restoration came to a head while standing on a high promitory overlooking Lake Minnetonka.  I was attending a cocktail party hosted by George and Sally Pillsbury.  When former State Senator Pillsbury introduced me to C Angus Wurtele (Chairman of Valspar) and his wife Margaret.  Can you imagine Wurtel’s face when I said “may I introduce you to “Corsair” pointing to out to a nearby mooring buoy—all the Varnish is Valspar.”

Valspar was the first ever clear varnish; developed by L. Valentine Pulsifer. Pulsifer had joined the company in 1903 after earning a degree in chemistry from Harvard University. After three years of experimentation, he created the clear varnish, which went into production by 1905. The Valspar varnish was the company’s main product for more than 30 years. The advertising tagline, “The varnish that won’t turn white” made Valspar a household name.

Famous users of Valspar included Robert Peary in his 1909 expedition, the U.S. military during World War I, Bungalow home owners in the 1920’s and Charles Lindbergh during his 1927 solo intercontinental flight.

Twenty six years after meeting the Wurtele’s, I was deep into the restoration of Erehwon Retreat when I read that Valspar had teamed up with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to create more than 250 historically accurate colors for historic homes.

I was interested in green. Green is the color of life, renewal, nature, and energy.  I think green has a healing power and is understood to be the most restful and relaxing color for the human eye to view.  With the color green’s association with renewal, growth and hope, what a great color for a Retreat. New growth and rebirth, common each spring season the world over when all of the plants are coming back to life with fresh growth.

I selected Valspar’s Olive Green (#6001-2A).  And Pittsburgh Paint’s Cherokee Red Taliessan created by Frank Lloyd Wright.

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus – Mark Twain


Cleaning/Disinfection Policy Modifications due to Covid19

For a decade, Erehwon Retreat Cleaning procedure includes the property owner’s inspection and disinfection following housekeeping completion.  Our disinfection includes  all door handles and cabinet knobs, light switches, light and fan pull chains, remotes, charging station, bathroom and kitchen faucets, refrigerator & coffee/tea pot handles, oven, microwave, stove top knobs, Iron, Hairdryer, washing machine and dryer handles,  toilet and flat surfaces with every change over cleaning. All Housekeepers and Repairmen are issued Nitrile Exam Gloves whenever they enter our properties to keep everyone safe. This is but one of our policies that make Erehwon Retreat a Premiere Tampa Vacation Property.

Covid19  Update  5/22/2020  Pinellas County on May 4 and Hillsborough County on May 22 ended restrictions on use of the county’s beaches and Vacation Rentals.

When the time is right and your family is ready to travel, we’re Open, Safe and Ready to Serve with LOW RISK Vacations. We will host 28 night stays until late fall and insert  56 hours between check out and check in.



We have made a change to the number of empty nights between each turnover.  Our policy had been 24 hours between each check in.  Thru May 31,  we expanded dark nights to 72 hours. 

With receipt of our Room Ozone Generator (10,000mg/hr O3 Ionizer), UV Germicidal Light Room Sterilizer & UV Light Smartphone (IPhone/Android) and Face Mask Sterilizer equipment we will reduce turnover to 56 hours.  


COVID19 UPDATE – Governor Executive Order 3/28/2020

As of March 27, 2020, the State of Florida has ordered vacation rentals to immediately begin to cease operations due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.

The order mandates vacation rental operators to refrain from accepting new guests or making new reservations for stays for a 14-day booking period commencing on Saturday, March 28, 2020. If guests are visiting from NY, NJ, CT, LA the minimum stay must include a 14 day self Quarantine.



As we navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19, we recommend that if you are arriving by air or train that you bring disinfectant wipes sufficient for your overhead cabin storage handles, arm rests, drop down tables, air vent, light switch and finally the window shade handle and open the over head air, to enhance the top down airflow design of aircraft. Don’t forget with car rentals, to wipe the steering wheel, gear shift, touch screen, door handles.  And during your visit shopping cart handles, ATM keypads, and when fueling, wipe the  fuel pump handle and credit card key pad.  We will supply you with a small pack of disanfectant wipes for your return trip home.


COVID19 UPDATE 1/14/2020 INVENTORY CHANGE  I pulled forward our annual April replacement of all bath and bed linen on January 12, 2020.  In this annual refresh we changed the bed linens from ivory to white.  Hand sanitizer  has been added to our amenities list.  Property owner supplied Face Masks are required for Housekeeping and any Repairmen that might be entering the property. Following each turnover we have added a bleach cycle at the completion of each use of the washing machine.

Disney, SeaWorld announce plans for Florida parks to reopen

Disney World is slated begin reopening in July, as theme parks around the U.S. seek to welcome back visitors as states begin to lift coronavirus restrictions. But don’t expect to just pour into the parks like old times. Each park is taking things step by step. And face masks will be part of the plan!

The Orlando reopening will be phased, senior vice president of operations Jim McPhee said during a presentation to an economic recovery task force, USA Today reported Wednesday.

Magic Kingdom — the most attended park — and Animal Kingdom will reopen their gates on July 11, with Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios opening for business on July 15. The resort system has been closed since March 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

SeaWorld is planning an employee appreciation event on June 10 before opening to the public the next day, said Interim CEO Marc Swanson.

Tampa Bay History Center -Beginning at 10 a.m. on June 1, the Tampa Bay History Center is reopening its doors to the public.

ZooTampa at Lowry Park – plans to reopen “on or about June 1” after getting approval from city and county leaders for its modified operations plan during the pandemic.

The approved plan includes new guest protocols and these key changes:

Limiting the number of guests to 50 percent of zoo capacity
Enforcing six feet or more of social distancing
Restricting the zoo’s indoor venues to 25 percent capacity
Adding safety and thermal monitoring stations at the entrance
Hiring on-site EMTs
Providing disposable masks to guests for free
Communicating and training employees on new safety protocols
Shifting the start of Zoo Camp to the week of June 22

Attractions that opened in May:

American Victory Ship and Museum – in downtown Tampa, has been open since May 8.

Dinosaur World – May 7

Clearwater Marine Aquarium – May 15

The Florida Aquarium – May 15

Two-thirds of employed Americans who now have the ability to work from home said they would be at least somewhat likely to consider moving if they had the flexibility to work from home as often as they’d like said Henry Young of Erehwon Retreat.  On March 1, 2020 we had no vacancies until June 9 and by March 18, we had no bookings prior to July 1.  Beginning April 5, we hosted a member of the Nursing community and for June the Bungalow and Cottage are booked with 30 day stays.

Public Health Amenity Added

“I’m just breezin’ along with the breeze,
Trailin’ the rails, roamin’ the seas.”

How perceptions about travel have changed since this 1926 hit Breezin’ Along With The Breeze. Bing Crosby recorded an arrangement in 1954, Sue Raney in 2004 and it was the Theme song for Fred Waring back when travel was easy and carefree.

Our New Normal

As it turns out, just two behavioral changes—frequent hand-washing and wearing masks—is enough to drastically reduce the possibility of catching COVID-19. It certainly doesn’t eliminate the risks, but it takes it down from very high, to quite low. A global study published earlier this month in medical journal The Lancet, confirmed that “face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection.”  When everyone is wearing masks, the possibility of catching COVID-19 may be reduced by 85% or more

I am pleased to announce we added new Amenities. We just received these adult and children sized face masks (which include a pocket for the addition of a coffee filter) from This is the first of three orders of washable hand-crafted facial masks for guests use during future stays at Erehwon Retreat. We’ve also added Hand Sanitizing Gel, and disinfectant wipes for Guest use.   Presently we are hosting 28 night stays only with a minimum 56 hours between each check out/check in.   We plan to test shorter stays by January 2021.  A sustained pandemic is not inevitable if businesses implement intelligent physical distancing and keep public health and safety first!