Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Well Hi!

I have got another really great back yard project to share with you. 

This started like so many of our projects:

Hero: We should build a pergola on the back patio.

Me: Absolutely!

And we were off.

Hero is all about working designs out in his head, followed up with Google searches to confirm and solidify the plans and then off to Lowe's for supplies.

And then drilling holes into our freshly painted garage walls.

But not to worry! I know Hero has this all figured out. And if not, he is pretty handy at fixing things.

This is a common occurrence - Hero dangling off a ladder or something.

It seems like he knows all the good tricks - Like how to get a post attached to a cement patio. And then making it look pretty spiffy.

With just a few posts and boards, we really had a good idea of how this was going to feel. 

This patio was pretty much useless in the summer from 2-7pm - It is on the west side of our house and there is absolutely no shade at all. It was so unfortunate that we couldn't use this area for anything.

Hence the pergola.

We stained all the boards ahead of time so we could just throw them up as needed.

We set up shop in the garage for that. Even around the latest car project.

If you ever have to stain anything, you should use latex/non-latex gloves. Stain is such a pain in the butt to get off.

And you should use old rags - Just do your staining and then toss them out. I am not a fan of complicated clean-up.

We wanted to add something that looked like wrought iron for an industrial kind of vibe. These poles are electrical conduit. 

Cue the black spray paint.

Not sure what is happening here, but it looks like Alex was helping to get the poles up in where they belong.

We used canvas drop cloths cut into long strips and all hemmed up as "sails" between the slats to offer tons of shade. We ended up hand sewing them around the end pole to get them all consistently taught. I of course tried a few other things first thinking they would be easier (snaps and velcro), but both of those ideas turned out to be the worst ideas ever. Picture wanting to throw the snap setter and the sewing machine out the window. 

And then all the pieces became a pergola.

And here it is:

It's like a resort - We are in love!

Instead of making the patio feel smaller, it feels so much more useful and cozy. Like an outdoor room.

When the sun is setting, we just close those curtains and they flutter in the wind while giving us just the right amount of shade.

Do you see those little twinkles?

Yep - Party lights. It looks amazing at night:

Oh. My. Goodness. We could not happier with how this turned out. 

Hero has the best ideas.

How about a quick where-we-started photo:

To this after:

We are loving this space and using it sooooo much more than we have since we moved in 4 years ago. It's just exactly what this space needed.
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Monday, September 5, 2016

faux windows


We loved all the great comments on our exterior paint job - Thank you!

Today I'm sharing a little tricky thing we did to give the outside a little more personality. 

And it was super easy and practically free. Practically free because I had most of the supplies already. But even purchasing the few things needed would be pretty darn inexpensive.

Here is where we left off:

In love. This is a million times better than the beige and brown.

As much as we love all the white, sometimes you need a little something to break things up. So we decided we needed windows.

With painters tape I taped off the top row of rectangles on the garage door. I didn't measure - I just eyeballed them with the existing lines. Piece of cake.

Already looks a little more interesting, right?

Once those were done, I pulled out the black paint. 

And colored inside the lines.

Pretty spiffy, huh? 

Tape removal is the best part.

They look pretty real, don't they?

Seriously, this project took about an hour. And it was super easy.

So great!

Here is way before:

Getting there:

And a few afters:

And we did the same thing in the back.

While Alex and her cute boys were here visiting, we put her to work. She painted some faux windows for us at the back door. It definitely needed a little something interesting.

Since this space used to be actual windows, it was a no-brainer to make it look like windows again. 

Alex didn't need tape since it was recessed enough to make a straight line. And she is a champ with a steady hand.

And she was so happy to be put to work.

Seriously, she was a trooper and we had tons of fun getting these things all buttoned up for the previously mentioned graduation party.

You can see we painted the back door red to match the front. I was a little wary at first, but we totally love it.

How cool is that? It totally looks like we have windows there, but we don't.

Super easy trick.

We also built something pretty terrific in the back yard. I'll share that next!
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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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