Category Archives: Exterior

Vintage Fall Porch

I’ve never actually decorated our front porch for fall (or any season) besides a simple wreath on the door. Inspired by a Fall Link Party, I was up for the challenge! I decided to get creative and use only things we already had.
We snagged that wooden chair from some friends at a yard sale, but after we got it I’ve always thought it was awkward and uncomfortable. I’ve been threatening to donate it to Goodwill for years, but Ben took to it and decided that it’s his favorite chair in the world. I dug it out of the attic and it was the perfect base!
Since the chair has such a high back I needed to add some height, so I used two vintage suitcases. You’ll recognize the small blue one from my recent lamp post. Both of these were graciously given to me by friends – thanks Lacey and Claire!
This $5 pot of mums was my only purchase to add some life to this vignette. I love how they add a pop of color! I added a scrap of burlap for the mums to nest in so you wouldn’t see the ugly black plastic pot. A basket would also be cute!
I added an orange sunflower and a fall sprig to my spring wreath. I did the same thing last year except our door was red then and it looked totally different. I’m absolutely loving the orange against the new robin’s egg blue door!
If nothing else, the mailman will appreciate our snazzed up porch! This was a really fun project and I love that I could use stuff we already had.

Any tips on how to keep mums alive (at least through the fall season)? Have you been determined to donate a piece of furniture only to be relieved that you kept it later on? Who else has a fun fall porch?


An Exterior Facelift

Has anyone been wondering when the heck we were going to finally paint our shutters and front door? Well, my friends – that day has come! Let’s begin by seeing what our little abode used to look like…
Red shutters, red door, red porch – are you sensing a theme here? This whole shebang started last spring when a windstorm blew one of our shutters off. I initially wanted to replace them with wood shutters, but they weren’t affordable unless we built them ourselves (like my friend Lauren’s husband did).
I did what I usually do when picking paint colors – spend way too many hours on Pinterest. I decided on Benjamin Moore’s ashley gray for the shutters and wythe blue for the door. Don’t be jealous of my awesome painting clothes:)
I brought my paint swatches to Lowe’s and had them color match them using Olympic zero VOC paint. I ended up taking the paint back to Lowe’s and having it re-tinted 2 shades darker because it looked like almost a champagne color and blended in with the stone. All we needed now was a door that popped!
I wiped down the door, sanded it, filled in the holes with this zero VOC lightweight spackle (which I love), and taped off the handles. I just got a $3 paint sample for the door and a pint of exterior paint for the shutters.
2 coats later (I rarely prime because of my lack of patience), I had my soft turquoise blue door. Oh how I love this door, let me count the ways! Ben even keeps commenting about how much he likes it (which is a BIG deal). We plan on replacing the hardware and door kick with brushed nickel.
Here it is with the muddy gray shutters – a perfect match! Please ignore the red porch (thankfully our doormat has both blue and red and disguises it well). Ben suggested we get an all-glass outer door so the blue will pop even more since we planned on replacing the security door anyway.
At first it was so weird seeing the shutters and door a different color. I didn’t realize how much the red brought out the reds in the stone until now. Overall, I love the new look and am shocked at how much paint can make a difference!

The pair of vinyl shutters were $40 and the paint and supplies were $20, so it was about a $60 weekend project. What do y’all think? Anyone else have any weekend projects to share? Who else likes blue doors and they cannot lie?

Shutters, Doors and Paint Colors… Oh My!

I feel like our house has had a broken arm coming up on a year now. Last spring we had a doozy of a windstorm that demolished one of our front shutters. That is until this weekend when my sassing finally paid off and Ben replaced it…
The original plan was to hang the missing shutter, wash off the others on Saturday, and then paint them on Sunday. I ended up being paralyzed with fear about picking the wrong paint color in a hurry, so (to the horror of our neighbors) this mismatched look is what’s going on right now.
My initial thought was to paint the shutters a neutral color (like muddy brown or gray) and then paint the front door a fun pop of color. I like the muted yellow.
If we went red again, I would want something more like this fire engine red. I’m not sure if it would work with the muted red stones on our house though.
I’ve also been drawn to blues a lot in my Pinterest searching. I think it would be a nice complimentary color for the stone.
I’m also keeping in mind that it would be nice not to have to repaint when we put it on the market someday. I could go with more of a muted tone of a color I like such as this soft turquoise – love it! I think ultimately I’m going to have to paint the porch a neutral color as well so it doesn’t clash with my vision.

So what do y’all think? This could make or break our curb appeal (no pressure)!

Door images found here.

To-Do List

This year we spent 6 months getting our house ready to sell, but we still had a short list of unfinished house projects. We kinda lost our steam after meeting with a realtor and making the tough decision to stay put for now.
Ben recently made a good suggestion (he’s full of them) that we should pick 1 project every weekend instead of trying to do it all at once. Here’s the rundown:
We have a handful of light switches in the hallway, bathroom and back bedroom that need new hardware and plates installed.
I’m kind of embarrassed to even show this pic of our back porch light. The Eskimo Joe’s cup prevents birds from building their nests there. I bought a new oil-rubbed bronze one several months ago that is waiting to be installed.
Speaking of things waiting to be installed… I also have a satin nickel facet that is ready for its new home in our bathroom. I even got a cute coordinating soap dispenser for 50% off (+ a 20% coupon I had) at Kohl’s the other day (sigh).
It’s hard to tell, but both the light and mirror aren’t perfectly level which drives. me. crazy. They need to be fixed for my sanity – stat!
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we never finished painting the shoe molding in the back bedroom – oh the horror! The main reason for this particular procrastination is because we’d have to move all the furniture… so hard!
The half-painted molding isn’t the only thing that sticks out in the back bedroom. This set of ugly, came-with-the-house, craptastic blinds are the only ones that we haven’t replaced with 2″ white faux wood ones.
I saved the best for last! A few months ago we had a plaster guy come and repair a stress crack in our living room ceiling that extended down the wall.
I can’t believe I haven’t grabbed a roller and touched up this wall, but we just got used to seeing it like this and lived in blissful ignorance. I want to knock these projects out so I can focus on the fun stuff – a home stager’s work is never done!

The best news about all these projects is that none of them will cost us a penny. We already have all of the supplies, so it’s just muscle and determination! What unfinished projects do you have around your house? Any motivational tips? Who else is bound and determined to watch Elf this weekend?

Fixin’ a Fence

My man decided to fix our fence this week when the heat index was around 115 degrees every day! He said something about needing to do some hard labor after being at his cozy desk job. Yep, he’s kind of a big deal.
We forgot to take a before pic of the fence leaning and being held up by ropes, so this was the best one I could find. You can see in the background the section that was starting to lean. After several strong wind storms, it had taken a beating and at one point had completely fallen down.
Ben researched online how to do this himself and decided to replace two posts that were rotted out at the bottom. Sounds simple enough, right? 4 days and 4 trips to Home Depot/Ace Hardware later, he thought otherwise.
First, he had to dig up the old posts and concrete which he pulled off like He-Man. Then he poured in gravel (for better drainage), set the post in the hole where the previous one had been and set it with ready-mix concrete. You then let the posts set for 24 hrs. before putting the fence back up.
Look at that manly man! Ok, back to the tutorial. You can see here how he even set a leveling string between the existing posts to make sure it was around the same height as the others. We also purchased a bright orange fence leveler thingy (this is what happens when I blog about Ben’s projects).

Around 11 p.m. that night while laying in bed he was thinking that the project seemed a little too easy. Then a thought crossed his mind, “I wonder if I should have measured the distance between the posts to make sure they line up with the fence?” Dun dun dun…

Unfortunately, he was dead on and the fence did not line up where it needed to with the new posts. He proceeded to dig up one of the posts and concrete and start from scratch. This time, his pretty princess who doesn’t like to sweat I helped him hold the fence up to make sure it matched up before setting the post.
After letting it set for 24 hrs. again, all that was left was to reattach the fence to the posts. Ben opted for heavy duty screws rather than nails.
Here’s the final result – that part of the fence ain’t going anywhere for a long time! You can see the two dirt areas where the new posts are located. I couldn’t be more proud of Ben for tackling this project himself and saving us tons of money after the estimate we saw!

So what do y’all think about all of our Ben’s hard work? Anyone else attempt to fix or build a fence themselves? What is the most frustrating home improvement project you’ve ever tackled?

Weekend Projects—Trimming Things Up

Oh the adventures we’ve had this Memorial Day weekend! We FINALLY decided on the perfect paint color (Benjamin Moore Coastal Path) for the master only to have the Lowe’s guy burst our bubble. Apparently, the colorants needed to create that color would cause there to be too much paint in the Olympic paint can. Plan B was a trip to Ace Hardware while crossing our fingers that the BM paint would be on sale this weekend – no such luck! There’s no way we were paying $50 vs. $23/gallon on paint, so back to square one.
Plan C was giving up on the wall color and focusing on painting the trim in our house from ugly beige to semi-gloss white. Why are we going to all the trouble of doing this? Well, besides it making our crown/foot molding really POP it would look really bad next to all the white air duct vents we’ve replaced. It makes a huge difference and just gives the whole house a crisp look.
Oh, and here are the remains of the trees/brush Ben spent hours chopping down in our backyard yesterday. I knew we needed to do some major trimming before putting the house on the market so it wouldn’t look like a forest. I, however, was NOT prepared for the new view Ben opened up to our neighbor’s yard.
Spare tires, trash cans and falling-down tents are a home stager’s nightmare! There were words and more words about whether or not Ben had single-handedly brought down our property value with every hack of his saw. Now our options are to politely ask our neighbors to clean up their yard OR to buy large plants of some kind to replace what Ben cut down – ugh!

That pretty much sums up our productive frustrating weekend. As upset as I was about the new backyard view fiasco, I couldn’t really say much since Ben spent hours and hours painting trim and I have yet to pick up a paint brush (blush). Anyone else have paint matching problems, or better yet solutions? How about having “the talk” (no birds or bees involved) with your neighbors about cleaning up their stuff so you can have house showings?

House Tour-Exterior

Today’s post will conclude my pre-staging house tour. It’s common for homeowners to forget about or neglect the exterior of their home when putting it on the market. Not only is the curb appeal the very first impression buyers have, it’s what will or won’t draw them in. The first thing you should do is walk across the street and try seeing it with a buyer’s eyes.I was actually taken back by what I saw when I pretended to be the paparazzi and snapped some shots from across the street today. First of all, where IS our house exactly? I’m thinking we need to trim several of the lower limbs on our little tree in the front yard so it doesn’t look like half house/half tree.We still need to come up with a shutter solution since one of our shutters was a casualty to a recent storm. I would love to DIY our own wood ones and stain them a rich walnut. We’ve replaced the mailbox and light which made a big difference. We need to do repair and paint the crumbling concrete on the stairs and I’d like to stage the front porch with a couple of chairs or evergreen plants.On to the fancy carport. This area needs to be completely empty for showings! Even the garbage can/recycling bin can be stored in a closet to the side of the house. The oil spots need to be soaked up and the entire carport needs to be power washed (I hope that will do the trick rather than a fresh coat of paint). Once the light is replaced I think it should be good to go.
Remember our recent front garden facelift? Thankfully all that needs to be done here is a little weeding along with continued watering so that nothing dies.
Finally, we have the badunkadunk of our house (a.k.a. Cali’s backyard). Sometime within the year the city actually came out and trimmed the brush back so that it was below the utility lines, but it’s already grown back. Although we don’t mind it providing some privacy from our neighbors, we definitely need to bring out the shears!
The lower stones on the house could use some power washing and obviously we need to clear out the clutter. The back light fixture needs to be replaced and I would love to find some outdoor furniture on Craigslist to stage some kind of outdoor living space that would be visible from the dining room windows.

Ben remembered that next weekend is Memorial Day. 3-day weekend + paint specials = the perfect storm for home improvement! We’re hoping to knock out a lot of stuff in the next few weeks, so stay tuned. Anyone have any exterior staging tips up their sleeve?