May 27, 2014

Progress on Our House’s Exterior

My house is contemporary and the sort of house only a certain type of mother could love.  I am that mother for my house, but I know it doesn’t float most people’s boats.  So be prepared, this ain’t your typical before & after. 😉

When we’re working on a house of our own, my husband & I attack the inside first.  Where we’re actually living and and what we’re truly using on a daily basis is more important to us than how things look on the outside.  (Unlucky for our neighbors!)  I’d really rather someone visit and be pleasantly surprised by the inside of our house than be impressed when they pull up and be underwhelmed once they step through the door.


{Our house when we bought it: everything was very manicured…  I miss that neatness!!!  The exterior & landscaping really took a beating as our renovation ensued.}

Now that our “inside” is basically good, we’re working on our outside…  it’s taken us some time (about a year and a half) to get around to fixing up the exterior of our house and I’m so excited to finally be doing it!!  When we purchased our house, we knew the house would need to be re-stained and re-roofed sometime soon. The landscaping was a little more manicured than I like for this type of house, but the shrubs were mature and I absolutely loved the edging on the grass/ mulch borders (which we sadly let go during the renovation and are now working on getting back!)

As we redid our house, adding new windows and a fireplace, the exterior became a patchwork of old wood and new wood.  All Winter long, we (and passerbyers!) got to stare at our lovely mess of siding, waiting for Spring.   After having the house power washed, we saw (our fears were confirmed, really) that a natural stain wouldn’t be an option any longer because of the difference in the new & old woods.  I’d been playing with the idea of staining the house black for a while and was in the mood for a change, so we went for it.

Here’s how it looked before: And here it is now:

{We added the flagstone patio last Spring}

We also had the red deck stained the color of the house.  I don’t love the idea of a hotter deck but we already have to spray down the flagstones (which gets really hot in the summer!!) so I figured we could always spray the deck down too if needed.

Of course, if you give a mouse a cookie, she’ll want a new roof, and I’m SOOOOO ready to get rid of our last bits of the red-brown color!!  (I’ve even pondered spray paint for a temporary fix but have been scolded 😉   I knew once we painted the house black, our reddish-brown roof would stick out terribly, but I didn’t want to base the color of our house on something we plan to replace.   So now I’m waiting “patiently.”  (My dream is a metal seamed roof but we’ll have to see about that.  😉

So we still have a long way to go, but it was a good step. 

Some of you have asked to see how the steel wall in our master bedroom garden fits into the exterior of the house so here’s a pic of that:


Last year, we put in a couple of limelight hydrangeas in the garden bed in front of it, and we added some catmint and maiden grass over the weekend.  I love the catmint because it reminds me of lavender but should be easier to keep alive.  (This past winter, I said goodbye to 15+ outdoor lavender plants that just couldn’t make it.  tear.)  



We spent the weekend (really, Dave spent the weekend while I chased the boys) digging up the biggest, oldest azaela bushes on the planet from in front of our house.  (They moved to the woods)  The front of our house and driveway are lined with azaelas that alternate white-fuscia-white-fuscia…  For the past year, I’ve been working in de-balling their shapes and though we didn’t get to them all this weekend, we plan to move many of them to the woods to get rid of the patterned-necklace effect.  I’ve wished so many times that they could all have been white!!  The bushes from right in front of our house that we relocated were MASSIVE. Gorgeous & White and over five feet high.   But they were eating our walkway and hiding our front door from the yard.



We also wanted to open up the front of our house a bit more and make it feel a bit more modern so we replaced them with more grasses and flowers.  (catmint and white salvia.)  We used pine needles for mulch and still need to get more from our woods to finish up.  (so please excuse the next pic)  It looks a mess right now (crazy bright blue grass seed is down in an attempt to reshape the garden beds) but I think it will be great in a month or so!



The front door still needs to be fully sanded and oiled.  I wasn’t happy with how the “clear” exterior stain (which is really an “amber” color) looked on the garage so I had them stop (yeah, I’m that client) and leave the door undone.  We’re also working on replacing & temporarily  painting some of the older windows black which will make a big difference.  We had the gutters painted the same color as the house too.  

Our “jewelry” is arriving any day now in the form of new white gooseneck barn lights, house numbers and door hardware.  Barnlights will flank the garage, back sliding doors and we’ll do one to the right of the front door.  


{From }


I’l be back in a month or so when our gardens fill in and we get all of our hardware & lighting installed.  And fingers crossed that we can get that  grass edging back!!!  (I swear it’s magic.)  

Am so ready for summer!!!  Enjoy your day!!


*House Color = Sherwin Williams “Tricorn Black” Woodscapes Stain

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