Friday, August 12, 2016

outside painting

I am so excited to share this post today!

(It is a long one, so hang on.)

After repairing the front porch rotting wood and gutter situation, we were so ready to get our game on with finalllllllly painting the outside of our house.


So, here is a before. 

Really, when I look back at these photos, I cannot believe how unloved this place used to look. We have spent the last four years in our small house loving the inside, taking on all kinds of projects and getting it to where we want it. We have sort of putzed around with the outside and got a few things done that really needed to happen (like losing the shed, and sprucing up the back yard), but this next project was a game changer.

Here is where we left off after fixing the front. So awkward with the white and the brown and the beige. All kinds of "what in the world is happening here?"

And the back before:

Ugh. Just not a fan of all this brown.

Especially here:

Oh my goodness. This photo was taken before it got to even be much of a spring, and nobody's yard is looking like much. But this is just too much. This has to go.

This space has so much potential to be amazing, but it just sits there being un-amazing. We have big plans for getting more use out of this space, too.

But, first, paint!

Per usual, we started this project one evening with the intention of "just seeing how it looks". But once we got going, we were in LOVE! Even more than we thought we would be.

We thought we would start on the back garage wall since we knew it would be such a dramatic difference. Let me tell you, even just doing this one little corner, we were hooked.

Isn't it lovely?

We were so surprised at how great the white covered the brown. We thought for sure we would have to take a second pass at it, but not so. Perfect coverage on round one.

Using this sprayer was super easy. The sprayer is the red motor with the handle on the top of the paint bucket. The tube from the sprayer just pops into the paint. The super long spraying  hose makes it easy to go a long way without having to move everything over every time you make a little progress. And you don't "carry" any paint, so it's light weight and easy.

It was actually fun - The transformation was amazing!

Just about finished with this section, but it went so fast, we just kept on going. 

Seriously, the setup took longer than the actual painting. We blocked the roof line with boards to keep the shingles from getting sprayed. The few spots we missed, Hero touched up with dark brown paint - Piece of cake.

Let's talk about over-spray for a minute. Man, that paint can sure get away from you in a hurry. Before you even realize what has happened, you have paint somewhere you didn't intend. 

Like this window:

Oops. (We actually got a fine mist on almost every window, which I scraped off with a razor blade when we finished the whole project. But still easier to clean off than to cover every window.)

We were so excited to keep going we did the whole back of the house. 

Just look at the difference!

Time to clean up. Cleaning the sprayer was actually pretty darn easy - We had everything put away in about 30 minutes.

Except for one tiny piece that fell out of the handle that we absolutely could not find to save our lives.

Until several weeks later after we had already bought a new handle. Dang. 

We turned the corner of the house and moved right along. There were a few little spraying mishaps (Hero was sporting a leopard type pattern for a while), but mostly we moved along at a great pace.

Except we underestimated the amount of paint we would need. But what is any kind of house project without running to Lowe's a few times?

Doesn't the porch look dreamy?

You can see what a difference this is making on the freshness of the house. It's pretty obvious where we left off.

Backing up a bit - What a difference! It looks like a different house. LOVE.

(You can sort of see the front of Hero's shirt - It was covered.)

Painting the garage doors finally. I have been wanting this done since the day we moved in.

Night and Day. 

Annnnd, turning the final corner. This is the last wall.

Hero got caught climbing up onto the shed roof by our neighbor looking out the window. She was giving him some friendly grief :)

I finished the rest of this wall and covered the final bits of brown. 

I think we spent about 8 hours total spraying the house. Not bad!

As Hero went around touching up the over-spray, I took the after photos.

Wow. That's all I can say is wow.

This house was built in 1958. The original color of the trim and everything we painted was white. Bringing it all back to the original made this home so much more charming, probably just like in the 50's. 

Those garage doors look amazing, right?

Okay, they look just a tiny bit uninspiring.

We have a plan for them. I'll share that next.

Here is one more set of before and afters.



We've got some cleaning up to do, a few little odds and ends to wrap up and another project or two and we will call this exterior makeover done.

What do you think?
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Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Hero and I love getting projects done at our house. 

We were really looking forward to painting every inch of the exterior of our house - minus the bricks and doors and windows. We had a plan to buy a super nifty sprayer from Harbor Freight and go to town.

But like most projects where I tend to see only the finished result, there was so. much. prep. work.

Some things just have to happen first if you are going to have a great ending. It is so tempting to go right for the end result steps, but if you skip the beginning prep stuff, you will never have that awesome end result. Really.

Here is what I am talking about outside:

This is right up front and center - over the front porch. This gutter leaked every time it rained right onto anyone's head that happened to be coming or going in the front door. And it dripped in the winter time, creating a super little ice rink on the step.

It's the little things that make us crazy.

But this actually turned out to be a bigger little thing than we anticipated.

Once Hero got all up in there, there were many secrets to be discovered.

Not the "Come see - I found treasure!" kind of secrets.

The "Ummm, this is bad" kind of  secrets.

We knew the boards had to be rotting - the whole gutter thing was all wrong. But we were hoping it was just the facing boards:

But when those were pulled off, more rotting boards were hiding underneath. And ants. The big carpenter ants that love rotting wood.

How lovely.

(No photos of the ants - take my word for it please. As soon as we discovered them, the camera went out the window. We were all about getting those things DEAD.)

All of this had to come off. 

Hero took everything off that was gross. And then replaced it all with nice new wood.

So much better knowing it's all fresh and clean under there. Hero threw some new gutters up and fixed that whole leaking problem.

Getting closer to painting!
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Friday, July 29, 2016


Happy Friday!

I have so many updates to share. We've been working on the outside of our house like crazies. We had a graduation party for Liam recently. Nothing like having a party to get the project list moving along.

First, here is the graduate:

What a great young man we have on our hands! It was super fun to celebrate with him. 

To start off things, we got our front landscaping under control. 

Here's where we started when we first moved in:

Lots of not-that-thrilling stuff going on here. Except for the eagles above the garage doors. Those had the most personality out of anything. But not sure we were that personality.

Anyway, pretty bleh.

I pulled out some low growing bushy ground cover stuff, painted the front door and painted some of the rim around the front white to see how that might look. We had a feeling it would be pretty great and it was.

Not even close to what we had in mind. But the outside was not a priority for a while for us.

Hero did the hard work of yanking those big not so attractive, why are they even planted there, bushes out with the truck.

So rewarding hearing those finally break loose.

Nothing there was better than what was there.

We did have some day lilies we adopted from a friend that we planted in the empty space. They help up pretty great and filled things up until we could get back to this project. Nothing to write home about though.

That was a few years ago.

And then we finally got on it!

We cut new curvy borders. We added a stepping stone path. We replanted the day lilies in the middle. Added some ornamental grass along the back. And some box woods up in front. Also sprinkled in a few red impatients to work with our new red front door.

New mulch makes everything look green.

The ornamental grass looks so little in the back, but because they are new transplants this year, they will be littler. But next year they will work better back there.

Love that little bit of curve. A little sass.

We found this stones at Lowe's. We had log slices in there temporarily but they totally did not hold up at all. It was good to try them over the last year to find that out.

Feels so good to have this all worked out.

We spruced up the other side as well. Cut the new border, moved a few day lilies to balance things out, and some more impatients. 

We already have daisies and lavender over here and I think when everything is blooming, it's going to be so great.



Woohoo for finally getting this crossed off the list!

The back yard did not get neglected. We cut new borders along all three sides of the yard under the bushes, filled in more mulch and did some trimming. Liam was a pro at using the hedge trimmer.

See the bushes along the back that we planted two years ago? They are really growing. They should offer some real privacy in about 10 years!
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