Thursday, July 12, 2012

Let's Add Curb Appeal: Before & After Photos

Thank you to so many of you who visited the This Old House website and rated our exterior renovation entry in the Reader Remodel contest. As you know, despite a call from Scott, the editor, we didn't win the truck this year. (Read the full story in my "Did I Catch You at a Good Time?" blog entry.) But talking with him on the phone about our project, and learning that our entry was "notable enough" to gain recognition in the issue, was a nice consolation. Alas, the reveal issue was published in July and we weren't mentioned anywhere. Having a background in publishing I am not too surprised. Some content makes the cut, and some doesn't.

Our exterior renovation included:

  • New exterior paint
  • Finishing and installing a new front door and sidelight
  • Updating house numbers and doorbell
  • Wrapping and trimming-out porch columns
  • Staining the concrete porch floor
  • Laying a flagstone walkway
  • Installing a tongue & groove porch ceiling
  • Installing ceiling fans and porch lighting
  • Constructing window shutters out of reclaimed wood
  • Installing new gutters and downspouts
  • Defining the garden spaces and planing perennials
  • Adding a fountain and yard statues
  • Furnishing the porch

I've been busy keeping up with weeding the flagstone path (despite having laid weed cloth beneath the stones), and watering the garden by hand since we still don't have the front yard sprinkler system up and running. My red potting bench is getting lots of use storing gardening gloves and an antique watering can. It also makes a great Lego table for Rowan and Davison who like to be wherever Mommy is. The bistro set and wicker chairs couldn't have been better picks for porch seating. I've spent hours this summer sitting under the ceiling fans, reading my decorating magazines while the kids have enjoyed tea parties and picnic lunches.

When we bought this house I didn't give the front porch any thought. It had been covered with clutter and camouflaged by green paint. It wasn't until after moving in that we realized the space's potential. And we're certainly enjoying the fruits of our labor on this project.

Before: Every square inch of the house was green.
Also, notice what is missing here? There is no walkway to the front door. 

After: New paint in a much prettier shade of green and a winding flagstone path
lead to a welcoming landing and a new front door.
Dave brought this door knocker of his pilot wings home from for me from Korea.
As soon as we got to FL we had Dermody engraved on the banner.

One of the first things we did when we moved into the house was start painting the exterior. We knew that a fresh coat of paint and a contrasting trim color would help transform the exterior and we wanted to see results quickly. We bought an unfinished wood door and sidelight at a building materials outlet and primed and painted the door inside once it was too late to work outside. Installing the sidelight was a breeze. I actually did it myself when Dave was at work. Cutting the door down to size, adding hinges, and hanging the door was Dave's project, and it was not easy.

This pair of solid wicker steamer chairs were a perfect find
for the porch. They recline and have pull-out footrests. 

The gardens and walkway were really important to me. I wanted to create the feel of a New England cottage-comfortable and cozy. The flower garden is made up mostly of Salvia, Daisy, Mexican Heather, Black Eyed Susan and decorative grasses. Large sago palms, the only two plantings that existed in the original landscape, anchor the two sides of the garden.

With all the other renovations on our list there was no way we could afford flagstone for the walkway-but I really wanted it to complete the look. We removed old flagstone from the backyard of a rental property that we own on the other side of town and used it to form the new walkway. We had just enough!

I found this vintage bistro set on craigslist for $20.
A good sanding and a fresh coat of paint gave it a whole new look.
The vinyl decals add a personal touch.

We repurposed wood from the old deck that we tore off the back of the house to make
hefty board and batten shutters. The shutters are both decorative and functional
and can be latched closed in the event of a storm. The fountain is another craigslist find.  

The porch floor, that used to be green along with the entire exterior of the house,  got a facelift. First, I painted it with a textured porch paint. Then, I applied a deck stain over the paint. I poured the stain on with a small paper cup and spread it around in small sections using a crumpled plastic shopping bag. It looks just like stained concrete!

A potting bench under the window adds a touch of color. 

Welcome home!