Friday, March 7, 2014

THe Great House UPdate: Exterior

This post is a doozie. I’m going to try my hardest to condense this but our exterior was in dire need of an facelift. When we first moved in we welcomed a tan exterior with new brown roof. It was and still is in parts, a very drab house. The yard was not helping things at all as the previous owners rented the house and the yard was never taken care of. All of this and then the deck off back was poorly built and not in great shape.


(our house post storm in August 2013-pre new roof and lighting)

So basically if you’ve been following along, we bought a fixer upper that was livable.  All our house and yard need was some TLC and some cash in hand. Thankfully we’ve been blessed with both in different increments!

Our first year we lived in our house we painted our garage door, replaced the soffit and fascia, gutter and tried to envision what lay ahead. Being that our siding and roof were in good condition we didn’t see any need to put more money into those pieces. So we brainstormed an idea to make the most of what we had and leave those elements, even though we both truly despised them.

And then our area was hit by hail storms (see aftermath picture above). And miracle of all miracles, our roof was deemed replaceable. And we did a victory dance literally in our kitchen. We replaced our roof with a slate color asphalt shingle and then got to work on our plans. On our update list you will notice we decided to build a new deck and add an office off the back of our house for my Alex.

And in the process of building those two we gave ourselves a two tone house. Bet you didn’t think I was going to say that. This feeds into our “we only pay for what we can afford in cash” mentality and now the back half of our house is blue and the front, tan.

In the midst of our project just weeks before the siding needed to go on my husband came back from the store with siding samples. We knew that we needed to side the addition and the area where we removed a patio door and added windows. We had some leftover siding and were planning on just ordering more to match. UNTIL Alex came home touting that we could put new cement board siding (from Menards) on the back of our house for just a bit more than it would cost to order our existing siding.

Cue happy dance again. You can imagine we jumped right in the car to order that siding up and that’s what we did. Upon arrival at the store we surveyed the color samples. Of course our eyes were drawn to the safe colors like tans, greys, and neutrals. But then we just looked at each other and both picked blue, told the cashier, and walked out of the store still uncertain if we had made a mistake.

I’m glad to know that our crazy, let’s try something out of the box, spontaneity, won out. WE LOVE THE BLUE! We are hoping of course that 2014 can be the year we complete the siding job but we’ll just see how things pan out. Until then we’re business in front, party in the back.


(here is the exterior post projects…deck on left, office addition on right)

Along with new siding, we added new lights out front. Lighting is tricky because most often homeowners choose lights that are far too small for their space. I learned this from my husband. The length requirement he gave me when looking seemed absurd. But he’s the designer and boy was he right. We ended up choosing this light, in multiple sizes, for all of our exterior lights around the house. In total I think we bought 8. We were a bit worried that due to the price point they would look cheap but they truly surprised us. They’re a perfect fit for our wannabe craftsman in a dated split level body.


Also this past summer we removed 4 large old trees from our yard that were on the verge of either falling over or ruining our foundation, built the deck, and had our landscape company out to create a complete landscape plan for our yard. Needless to say we didn’t use our yard at all this summer because it was a messy, dirty, construction zone not fit for a 12 month old.

Future updates to come: grow grass, new wood front door and exterior hardware, finish the siding project, stain and seal the deck, paint the brick and eventually (ie-distant future) put stone on the front mirroring the stonework under the deck, resurface the driveway, landscaping.

It’s far from done but we’ve come a long way in the past two years.

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