Friday, July 27, 2012

House Facelift

The exterior of our home is probably the biggest eyesore. I've mentioned before that we are the saddest yard. We're slowly getting better. The projects in this post happened throughout the course of 3 months, a little at a time. Here's our house on move in day:

You'll notice that the shutters are 3 different colors (two on the left, upper and lower, and one on the right). This is due to fading over the last 20 years. We contemplated replacing them and they really aren't that expensive. We figured we'd might as well just paint them and see how it turns out.

Tim painted the 6 shutters on the lower level. The verdict: it looks awesome! This was a very inexpensive fix. He decided not to take them off of the house because that was going to be a huge pain. Instead, he shoved cardboard behind the shutters and spray painted the shutters while still attached. You can see the consistent look of the lower sets. He later climbed on the ladder to reach the top shutters. I think he ended up using around 5 cans of spray paint. Just be sure to buy exterior rated!

Tim and my mom also tackled the front storm door.

Sullivan's favorite spot- lying in the sun by the door.

We knew that we needed a full glass front door. No screen doors around here. The dogs LOVE to look out the window and watch the neighborhood. They get a little rowdy and put their paws on the glass when guests are approaching, so we didn't want them to bust out a screen door.

Unfortunately, glass front doors are very expensive, running close to $400. Fortunately, we scored one for $150! Pease is a warehouse in Hamilton, Ohio. They purchase materials from auctions and sell it in a big warehouse for cheap. Think of it like shopping at a thrift store, you never know what you're going to find! Every time we went to Pease, I searched the screen doors for a full, glass front door that was brown. We found a burgundy door once that was very tempting, but ultimately decided that wasn't the best color for our house/brick. 

Pease typically sells their doors for $100, but this nicer one was $150. I was still okay with that price! AND it came with brushed nickel hardware, which meant I wasn't going to have to purchase hardware either. PERFECT. It was like the stars aligned. Thankfully, our good friend Brian was willing to come pick up the door in his truck with no notice. What a good man. My dad, Andersen employee, said it was a custom ordered Andersen door. Someone obviously returned it and it ended up at auction.

Proud of their handiwork!

 My mom and Tim installed this new door in one afternoon, while work continued on our upstairs bathroom (I promise, those posts are coming soon!). I love that it's just a simple full glass panel door. It's gorgeous. The color is perfect and I was thrilled the hardware matched the brushed nickel look we're installing everywhere in the house.

Did you see that ugly light fixture by the new beautiful door? Tim also decided to try his hand at spray painting it. We looked for a new one, but found that they were all black or ugly. We just wanted something small, brown, and classic. 

Tim took down the light, capped the wires, and disassembled the fixture. We figured if it turned out poorly, we would just buy a new fixture.He painted the main pieces of the fixture brown and the accent pieces silver. We had both on hand, so this project was FREE! My favorite price. :)

Tim then put the fixture back together. We were a bit nervous since it came into a million pieces, but it worked just fine.

Ta Da! Looks great and functions well.

We had these monstrous bushes in front of our house (see above photo). They totally blocked the downstairs windows. I think it was a bug haven and attracted feral cats or other loose animals. Tim did his best to keep them trimmed and tidy. These 20+ year old bushes were just out of control, so we decided to chop them down.

When I say we, I actually mean my uncle Rex and his friend Johnny. Johnny does this for a living, so we'll leave the chainsaw weilding to the expert. Even we draw the line somewhere! Johnny also trimmed the trees on the front of our property. They were growing into the power lines. Sadly, I don't have any photos of this because I actually wasn't home when this happened. My family popped in from Marion one day (I do mean literally, they popped in for the day then left- I didn't even know they were coming). Johnny and Rex also chopped down some massive shrubs at the side of our house. They were awful and overgrown, so we're trying to keep that area in check too.

We were left with a massive pile of brush to take care of. A few evenings, 30 bags of lawn waste (a nasty note from the trash collectors), and a pickup by the city of large clippings yields this:

WOW. The front of the house looks so different! Nicely matched shutters, a new glass front door, and NO BUSHES! Plus, our trees are trimmed now too. We still have a lot of work to do out front, but it's making serious progress. We did manage to step up the curb appeal a little bit with our new flower bed and mailbox last year:

We've managed to maintain these two in the last year. This is all that we're likely to accomplish this year. Our plans for the future include a paver retaining wall with small shrubs and flowers. That will wrap around the corner of the house. At the side of the house, I would like to put in some decorative grass. I prefer simple, clean landscaping. We have to be cautious because the front of our house is like the desert. The house receives so much sunlight (hence the fading of the shutters) that plants have a hard time surviving. Even our hostas are struggling. I think we need to plan tropical plants out front, but I'll be sure to research the choices for the future. For now, I'm loving the fact that things are cleaner and tidier!


  1. This looks awesome, Chanelle! Way to go!

  2. You two are amazing... what an inspiration!! The house looks great (I know firsthand) -- I can't believe how much you've both accomplished with everything that is going on in your lives right now. Yay! :)