Save time and paint over wallpaper

It’s been two weeks since my last post on our porch makeover. Would you believe me if I said my silence is because I’ve been extremely busy with house projects? Well it’s true! In the last two weeks we’ve been working on projects in the backyard, laundry room, and nautical half bath. Everything is looking amazing but because we’ve been splitting out time on multiple projects, nothing is quite done enough to show off to you yet. Bummer….

So, I decided that instead of maintaining radio silence, I’d give you a quick update on one of the projects: the half bath makeover! Here’s what we started with:

paint over wallpaper The wonderful 80’s wallpaper was one of the selling features of this house…..said no one ever! About a month ago, I decided to start ripping the wallpaper down. About 30 mins into it I had about 1 sq inch cleared. That’s when I decided that the wallpaper would stay up, and I would paint over it. You may remember that when were adding the wainscoting to our foyer we found put that the previous owners had actually just painted over the existing wallpaper. We were shocked because we had no idea the foyer had ever even been wallpapered, but it look great and was holding up well.

So, if you have a full room of wallpaper and you don’t feel like scraping it off then here are some tips for painting over the wallpaper.

Tip 1: Make sure your wallpaper is a contender

Before you start slopping paint all over the walls check to make sure the wallpaper you have is a good candidate for painting.  Peeling paper and noticeable seams are immediate red flags.  Find an edge of the paper and try pulling it off the wall. If you get a small rip you are in good shape. If you can easily pull off large sheets then your going to need to strip off all the wallpaper. Painting over wallpaper that will easily come off the walls may lead to the wallpaper bubbling or peeling after the paint dries.

Tip 2: Patch up holes and seams.

Using joint compound or spackle, fill in any holes or noticeable rips or seams in the paper just like would would do on dry wall.  If you tried to rip some paper off make sure to use joint compound to smooth out the spot.

Tip 3: Prime

Priming the wallpaper is going to do two things for you: hide the pattern and create a grippable surface for the paint to adhere to.  Because wallpaper is so smooth painting on it without priming first may cause the paint to run or peel.

how to paint over wallpaper Even with a dark color and pattern, I only needed one coat of primer before I started painting the wallpaper.

Tip 4: Paint that wallpaper

Once your primer is dry you can start painting over your wallpaper. I applied two coats of Behr Vermont Cream in semi gloss using a foam roller.

can you paint over wallpaper The difference is pretty amazing isn’t it? And no wallpaper stripping involved. As you can see the bathroom is still completely torn apart. I am currently stenciling the walls with Cutting Edge’s Perfect Catch (one of my affiliates) in metallic gold. In the bottom right of the picture you can also see a sneak peak of the bathroom vanity getting a green paint job.

Hopefully, I’ll be back soon with some more pictures of the bathroom. It’s coming together so well that I am giddy to show you!

Screened in porch makeover reveal Phase 1

The screened in porch makeover was suppose to take 3 months. Instead it took 7 months! The good news? It’s finally done! I haven’t shared much about the makeover on the blog because frankly the steps were pretty boring. I wasn’t sure you’d appreciate a whole post on painting. The only project I’ve shared to date is the floating buffet table we made out of reclaimed wood.  Let’s start with the before shot so we can all remember how this room looked when we bought the house:

Screened Porch before This porch was actually a HUGE selling feature of the house. While it needed some cosmetic work a porch like this would easily have been a $20,000 addition. And in a place like coastal Virginia having a way to be outside without getting eaten by mosquito is priceless.

Phase 1 of the makeover consisted of improving the structure itself. Here is what we did:

  1. Replaced warped posts
  2. Painted all railings and posts white and the ceiling blue.
  3. Added screens and a screened door
  4. Added rot resistant molding to the outside of the structure
  5. Replaced the fan
  6. Installed a drain in the floor
  7. Tiled the floor

Phase 2 will consist of the decorative aspect of the makeover including new furniture. So, for now please ignore the old dirty furniture. And here’s how it looks now:

screened in porch makeover

screened in porch buffet

outdoor room makeover

porch makeover

tablescape porch

porch makeover

Isn’t the transformation amazing?? I love how cheery and bright the space is now. It really does feel like an extension of our home.

porch makeover before and after And here is some exterior shots:

backyard before

exterior screened in porch

porch exterior

So, there it is! I can’t even begin to describe how pleased we are with this space! As for the rest of the backyard…..we have huge plans in the works. I mean like the most exciting plans we’ve ever made for this house. Hopefully I will be able to share them soon!

Pottery Barn Knock-off wall organization system

Pottery barn knock off memo board

After the stair makeover we decided to take a little break from the large projects and focus on some smaller projects we’ve been meaning to do.  About a year ago I decided that Sophie needed one of the Pottery Barn Teen wall organization systems for her room.

img52c Cute right? The $267 price tag; however,  is not so cute. I decided I would simply make her one myself. I bought the fabric and then we decided to sell our house and buy a new one, so the project was sidelined. It wasn’t until a co-worker of mine decided to make one for her daughter that the project was put back on the agenda.

Warning: I seem to have misplaced the progress pictures so all I have are the final product. Also, we made 3 boards in total which actually made the price a little more reasonable since we could share materials. And finally, the project was more labor intensive than I would have imagined since each square is basically a small project unto itself.

message center The total cost of each board came out to $40! That’s a $227 savings per board! I also love that I was able to fully customize the fabric to match Sophie’s room. I choose a larger molding for the frame as well to give the board more heft.

DIY message center from pottery barn After studying the Pottery Barn wall organization system I decided to incorporate a magnetic board, a cork board, a shelf, and a wire clothes pin line. The little shelf I picked up at A.C. Moore for $1 and painted black. The fabric behind it is adhered straight to the plywood backing using spray adhesive.

pottery barn wall organization DIY The magnetic board is a sheet of galvanized steel sheet metal that conveniently is sold at Home Depot in 12 x 12 pieces.  For the cork board I bought a pack of 4 12 x12 cork tiles ( I was able to use the other 3 tiles for my co-worker’s boards) then using spray adhesive and hot glue adhered this awesome black and white chevron fabric that I picked up at Hancock Fabrics.

clothes pin wire hanger For the wire clothes pin line Code made me a wood frame that we then ran steel wire across. The miniature clothes pins are from Wal-mart.

message center

I love that Sophie now has a way to really express herself in her room without literally taping things to the walls!

Industrial lighting: Budget Friendly edition

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram then you’ve seen some sneak peeks of the tile installation on our screened-in porch! Well guess what? It’s done and it’s beautiful!

porch tile

We have a couple of finishing touches to complete on phase 1 of the porch makeover and then I’ll finally be able to share some before and after pictures with you.

But wasn’t this post about industrial light? I’m actually in quite a conundrum and need your help. Last week I shared our plans for a nautical inspired half bath with you, and I mentioned that the laundry room would be getting a makeover at the same time. The problem is that the half bath design is very different from the color palette for the rest of the house and I need the laundry room to act as a sort of design bridge between the spaces.

laundry room before As you can see in the above picture the laundry room connects the kitchen to the half bath (dark door at the end) as well has doors going to the back yard (left side) and garage (right side). The plan is to keep the room basically white with open reclaimed wood shelves above the washer and dryer. Here’s our inspiration!

My problem is the lighting. Since the space is utilitarian in purpose I want an industrial style light ( and one that won’t break the budget); however finding one to connect the spaces has been challenging.

You probably remember that the kitchen lighting is galvanized with a white and mint glass globe. See more about our school house pendants here!

Primary schoolhouse pendant in jadite

The lighting in the bathroom will be copper or brass. The brackets holding the reclaimed shelves will be black metal and the door knobs are oil rubbed bronze. So you see my problem? I really have too many options. Below are the 7 lights I’ve narrowed my search to. Please vote on your favorite one and tell me why you’d choose down to. Also, please make sure to check out the bathroom mood board before voting to get a better idea of this design dilemma!

 

industrial lighting

  1. Not only is this one bronze but it has a sort of nautical feel as well. Fresnel Glass Industrial Flush-Mount from Shade of Light. $139
  2. I love the utilitarian feel of galvanized metal. The Laramie Pendant from Barn Light Electric. Starting at $149.
  3. I’ve been dying to put an orb light in my house somewhere! Metal Strap Globe Pendant from Shades of Light. $129
  4. This semi mount is the perfect match to our kitchen pendants. The Intermediate Schoolhouse Semi-flush Mount from Barn Light Electric. Starting at $152.
  5. I love the funky design of this bronze light. Young House Love Geometric Diamond Ceiling Light from Shades of Light. $79
  6. It doesn’t get much more industrial than this galvanized option with the wire cage. The Original Warehouse Flush-mount from Barn Light Electric starting at $137.
  7. This is the same light we installed in our foyer, so it would give the house a nice cohesive feel. 4-light Oxide Brass Semi-Flush Mount with Tallaroom Panel Glass Shade by Hampton Bay for Home Depot. $79

    So, those are the options! Which one would you choose??

Not your average nautical Inspired bathroom

As we finish up tiling the screened in porch this weekend that makeover will finally be complete. I hope to have pictures for you next week! But now that the porch project is wrapping up and fall is in there air (except for here in Virginia where we had record temperatures on the first day of school!) I am starting to plan my next project which will be the half bath and laundry room.

half bath before Here is what I am starting with. This is probably the only room in the house that hasn’t been touched since it was built in 1985.

Laundry room before Here is the laundry room before. The door to the bathroom is to the right of this picture. This room acts as a pass through from the garage, bathroom, backyard, and kitchen. More to come on the design for the laundry is a couple of weeks.

I want to create a bathroom that is inspired by old ships but that isn’t expected or cheesy. I plan to use wood and brass elements mixed with a grassy green and metallic gold to keep the room feeling authentic yet modern. Here is the plan:

  1. The walls will be painted off white with a large net stencil in metallic gold (Fresh Catch by Cutting Edge Stencils). The metallic gold will be more subtle than the goldenrod pictured above.
  2. The original vanity will stay but will be painted in Miss Mustard Seed’s Boxwood Green and aged with a dark wax.  The vanity will get a new white cultured marble top and a brass faucet and knobs.
  3. The floor will be the same gray washed wood tile that is going into the screened in porch
  4. The current mirror will be framed out in reclaimed wood.
  5. For lighting I am moving two existing copper exterior lights from the backyard in.
  6. I am really obsessed with finding a Moby Dick piece of art for the room. And who could resist the Poop Deck reference?

This room was actually pretty easy for me to plan out. I wanted a different color scheme from the rest of the house and once I fell in love with the idea of a green vanity the other plans pretty much fell into place. I’m sharing this plan now in part because the laundry room is giving me a major headache and I want to bounce some ideas off of all of you. Look for those plans in the next couple of weeks.

You can see all of my inspiration for this room here:

 

Follow Stephanie’s board Not your average Nautical Inspired Bathroom on Pinterest.

Carpet to Wood stair makeover reveal

carpet to wood stair makeover It’s finally time for the kitchen stair makeover reveal! Many of us are stuck with builder’s grade carpeted stairs, but that doesn’t mean we have to live with them! For about $150 we were able to transform our boring old stairs into beautiful custom looking wood stairs! I already shared with you how we built the stair treads ourselves, so let’s get straight to the pretty pictures!

P.s you can see all my inspiration for this project here.

wood stairwell makeover

Ohhhh…….

stairway makeover from carpet to wood

Ahhhh…….

covnert carpet to wood stairs

So shiny!

ebony stained handrail

And my favorite part! Before and after pictures!

stair makeover

The view from the pantry…..

stairs before and after And a picture from before we even moved in…..

stair makeover before and after These are the stairs that go from our kitchen to our play room (room over the garage), so they are slightly shorter than average stairs. We used this project as a practice run for our foyer stairs which will hopefully be getting the same treatment before Christmas!

Foyer If you were just here for the pretty pictures this is your queue to leave. Now on to some of the more technical aspects of this makeover…..

The stair risers are made from stain grade plywood (same thing we made the foyer wainscoting, island cover panel, and faux chimney box from). After each piece was cut to size I rolled on two coats of primer and two coats of white paint each. I spread them out on table in the dining room while painting.

After they were dry Cody used a pneumatic nail gun to attach them to each riser. You can see them going up below……

making stair risers Painting the bannisters was a major pain in the butt. They each got two coats of primer and two coats of paint multiplied by 4 sides since I could only paint 1 side at a time. Even though I put on very light coats I still wound up with a lot of drips. They are still not perfect, but as long as you don’t look too close you won’t notice.

When we do the foyer steps, I am planning on spraying the banisters, so I’ll let you know how that goes.

painting  banisters

The part of this project that wound up being the most difficult was staining to newel post and handrails. I already had Polyshades Classic Black* in the garage and I devised this perfect plan of just giving everything a light sanding followed by a quick wipe down with a TSP substitute*. Then magically I would just glaze the handrails with the black stain.  Well I tried that then sat back for 3 days waiting for the stain to dry to no avail. I don’t know if I didn’t mix the stain well enough or it was too humid in the garage, but my plan definitely wasn’t working.

*These links are affiliate links. I include them as a reference for the products we use and hope they are helpful to you; however, if you make a purchase we may make a small commission.

ebony stained handrail So, on to plan B which involved using a chemical stripper* and stripper after wash* to remove both the black and original finish. The good news is that after being stripped the ebony stain adhered beautifully. I gave it all two coats of the stain. It already had gloss polyurethane in it, so there was no need for a finish.  The hand rails are my favorite part of the design. I love how glossy they are. It’s like jewelry for the stairs!
stair makeover We finished each riser with decorative molding under each step. Before we put the molding on the steps looks sort of blah. In fact I kept calling them Ikea steps (as in perfectly functional but white and boring). The molding made all the difference. In the picture above you can see the top riser without molding.
So, there it is! I hope this reveal was as exciting for you as it was for us! I can’t begin to tell you how nice it is to look into the kitchen and not have the stairwell acting as a black hole/energy suck in the room design. In fact, there is actually only one more project (built in banquette) left to do in the kitchen before we can call the room done.
One last question! How do you feel about a runner on the stairs? We’re still torn on the idea and would love to hear your input!
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I know I promised the staircase reveal this week, but I’ve been sadly slacking on getting the finishing touches done, so look for that next week. Instead this week one of our projects is being featured over at Remodelaholic! I was featured on RemodelaholicRemodelaholic is a DIYers dream blog with projects and ideas from thousands of bloggers all brought together in one place. If you are not following them you are definitely missing out. In fact I follow them via e-mail, pinterest, instagram, and facebook just to make sure I don’t miss a project!

You can click here to check out my post here and please leave some love in the comments while you are there!

How to make wood stairs treads for cheap

DIY stair treads If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Instagram then you already know that we have been tackling a makeover on our kitchen stairwell. I originally intended to just make one big stair makeover reveal post, but then I realized that it would be a ridiculously long post and pretty boring for those of you who just want to see the pretty “after” pictures. So, instead I decided that this post  would be about the more technical aspects of building new wood stair treads and finishing them. Look for the whole stair makeover reveal later this week.

If you are just joining us this is what we started with:

kitchen stairs before I had hoped that when we ripped up the carpet that we would find nice wood stair treads that we could refinish underneath, but like many 1980’s era track homes we found particle board instead. I was pretty bummed, but Cody was actually relieved. He had already decided that building new treads would actually be less work than trying to revive old ones full of staples and nails.

Now, you can buy pine stair treads at Home Depot for about $10.64 a piece.  These treads are basically a pine board that has been routed to be round on the front of the tread. We needed 10 treads, so that would have brought us to $106.40. That’s not terrible, but there were a couple of issues with these treads. 1) they are only 1 in think which we decided would look pretty puny once installed and 2) ours stairs have exposed sides which means we still would have had to route some of the boards.

I found these nice chunky 2 in stairs treads, but at $123.75 a piece for “paint-grade” ($1237.50 total!) they totally blew the budget. So, we decided to just make our own stair treads.

Building stair treads

The treads are built from 2″x12″ pine boards that were 12′ long.  Look for boards with the least amount of knots and that are not warped.

make your own stair treads Cody started by securing a 12′ board to a table and routing the front of each board with roundover bit.

routing stair treads Here’s an idea of what it will look like when it’s done. Don’t worry about any imperfections now. Those will be sanded out later. If any of your steps are open on the side (like our bottom 5) you will also have to route the side of those steps.

how to make your own stair treads Once the routing was complete, Cody used a table saw to cut 1″ off the back of each board to make the steps the depth that we wanted.

how to make stair treads Finally, he measured and cut each board to the appropriate tread length using a chop saw.

how to make your own steps Cody measured and cut each step individually as there were some slight variations is lengths. We dry fitted the steps as we went to make sure everything fit perfect. The bottom 5 steps also required some fancy cuts to account for the newel post, exposed sides, and hand rails.

how to make wood stair treads Finally, we sanded the crap of of each tread with an electric sander to get the boards as smooth as possible.

Staining and Installing

We are finally at my favorite part: staining the treads! I knew from the beginning that I wanted to stain them Mission Oak. It’s my favorite stain color and the same color we used on our industrial console table.  Cody didn’t want to take any chances with the color though so I tested out a few options we had lying around on a leftover piece of pine.

staing wood stair treads Our goal was to match the laminate floors in the kitchen as much as possible. The dark walnut (same as we used on the kitchen counters) and the Jacobean were both a little too dark and didn’t have enough of a honey tone as I would have liked. We decided that mission oak was the winner, but we didn’t want the kind with the polyurethane in it (which is what I had on hand), so off to the store I went only to find out that Mission Oak is only sold as a Polyshades. Sigh….. So, I scoured the shelves for a color that was the most similar to Mission Oak and settled on Special Walnut. I tested it on the pine and we were sold!

Before I started staining the treads I removed any dust with cheesecloth then applied a coat of wood conditioner.  Wood conditioner allows the stain to penetrate the wood more evenly. I always use it when staining a highly visible area such as a table top or in this case stair treads.

pre stain on table I allowed the wood conditioner to dry to the touch then using an old rag applied the first coat of stain making sure to go in the direction of the grain. I set up a staining station in the dining room because it was too humid in the garage to get the stain to dry properly.

staining stair treads I applied two coats of stain over the course of one day than allowed the treads to dry overnight before applying the sealer. Finally the treads got two coats of Pro finisher Polyurethane for Floors. I choose a satin finish to keep the treads looking a little rustic like our floors, plus they are easier to keep clean. I sanded between coats then let them dry overnight before installing the treads.

To install the treads Cody started by applying liquid nails to the stair braces (just made up that term). We did this to reduce noticeable nails on the treads and to keep the steps from wiggling.

installing wood stair treads Next, Cody shot in about four finishing nails on the sides of the treads. This helps them stay in place as the glue dries. We opted not to fill in the nail holds as they were hardly noticeable and added a little more rustic glamor to the steps.

installing stair treads And with that we had working steps again! Building our own steps cost about $100. The same as the off the shelf Home Depot treads except ours our 1 3/4 in thick (that’s $1100 less than the 2 in treads we found online!)

Stay tuned next week for the full stairway reveal. Trust me you don’t want to miss it. It’s pretty amazing if I say so myself!

Has anyone else tackled a stairway makeover? Do you prefer wood or carpet stairs?

Outdoor Reclaimed Wood Floating Buffet

reclaimed wood outdoor buffet I’m finally ready to share our first real completed project on the screened in porch with you. It’s a floating buffet made out of reclaimed wood that actually hinges up for storage. And the best part is that is cost us basically nothing (we only had to buy the hinges!) Let’s back track a little to where this project started.

porch before There was this nice empty spot between the french doors and the windows on our porch that was just begging for a table. And there was the nice pile of wood sitting in our backyard from when we took down the old play set.

reclaimed wood We decided to build a rustic industrial buffet that would float or hang off the wall and could be hinged up for storage in the off season. It’s super easy to construct, but I’ll break it down for you in a couple of pictures.

rustic outdoor buffett We started by picking out 3 of the best pieces of reclaimed wood then screwed in 3 pieces of scrap wood vertically to hold the table top together.

industrial pallet buffet Next we added three more pieces to the underneath of the table.

reclaimed wood table Finally we finished off all of the edges with cedar left over from the reclaimed window pane window box project.

reclaimed wood buffet In order to secure the table to the vinyl siding we added a piece of wood at the height of the table making sure to screw it into studs. I then painted the white board the same color as the siding.

reclaimed wood outdoor buffet The table is hung  from two places. Its secured directly to the house by two hinges that are hidden underneath the table top and from two chains that we simply screwed into studs behind the siding. The chains were also left over from the window boxes.

Outdoor wood buffet for porch This view really allows you to see the character of the wood. We sanded it down lightly to remove the dirt and grime then I finished it with a coat of coconut oil (because that’s all I had).

DIY reclaimed wood industrial table It’s really amazing how much more functional the porch is now. We love being able to put drinks and snacks on the buffet while we’re entertaining guests outside. It’s also a much nicer view now from the outdoor furniture. Remember this is what is looked like before:

porch before And now!

Porch after buffet You might also notice that the doors are now the same color as our shutters and the trim got a nice white paint job. The windows also received some window treatments (more on that soon). For now please ignore that tiny outdated light fixture and the terrible metal storm shutters. Those are both updates for another day.

We’re continuing to finish up the trim on the outside of the porch as well as lay a new floor, so look for more porch updates soon!

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6 budget friendly ways to improve your front door’s curb appeal

improve your front doors curb appeal We spent the last couple of weekends working on some small and budget friendly ways to improve out front door’s curb appeal. Ideally, I would love to rip the door out and replace it with something  more modern and why not throw up a portico while we’re at it. Those plans are actually in the works but with a cost of about $2500 they are in the 2-3 year maybe we’ll win the lottery plan.  Meanwhile I didn’t want to sit around with a door I hate think could use some improvements. So, if you are also stuck with a door you despise and no money to replace it here are 6 budget friendly ways to improve your front door’s curb appeal.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 1. Upgrade the lighting Our house came with these mediocre carriage style lights flanking the front door. Ideally they would be a little larger, but they actually fit the colonial style of the house nicely. They were; however, a little faded, but no fear it winds up painting an exterior light is super easy.  After disconnecting the lights the glass simply slid out and I spray painted them in a semi-gloss black. I also upgraded the lights bulbs to LED bulbs which have a softer light and better shape than our older CFLs. Not to mention they are even more energy efficient.

Total I spent $6 painting the lights and $20 on the two new LED bulbs.

2. Add planters I actually already owned these planters but they had seen better days, so I gave them a quick paint job with left over paint from the lights. As for adding plants I recommend going with one color to  make a bigger impact from the street.

2 pots refills were $14

3. Paint Everything! This is by far the biggest impact you can make.  The door was originally a dated burgundy that was faded from the sun. I painted it Glidden Roasted Red Pepper (the color was a little bright for the house so I wound up darkening the paint by adding black acrylic to it). The new color feels so much more fresh and instantly draws the eye to the entrance. I also painted all of the trim around the door a bright white. Even if you already have a color you love, freshening up the paint can really make the front door shine.

1 qt of paint was $9

4. Change up the door hardware Ok, I must confess that this was not cheap. We saved so much money on the rest of the project that we splurged on the Schlage Century Keyless Entry System in Antique bronze from Build.com We justified this purchase in part because the handset can be moved to a new door eventually. Did I mention this system can be connected to your smart phone and be unlocked remotely? Ya, it’s pretty awesome and by far the nicest handset we’ve ever bought.

New handset= $321 with free shipping If a new door set is not in your budget than consider spray painting your current one. This will completely change the look for the handset for about $6!

5.  Add large house numbers This is an easy way to add a big impact for little time and money.  This is also a great way to cement the style of your house as numbers come in everything from modern and traditional to craftsmen, cottage, and Spanish style. Larger numbers will also make it easier for friends to find your house. Consider the placement of your numbers carefully. They don’t have to go back where they were. Find a place where they will make the biggest impact.

$4 a number from Home Depot (P.S. you could also spray paint your old ones :)

6. Add in a whimsical door mat For me the door mat is a place to have fun and further cement your design style. They are cheap and easy to change out, so go a little crazy. Mine is bright green with a bicycle print on it from Target.

Door mat= $7

Well there you have it. 6 budget friendly ideas to improve your front door’s curb appeal that you could easily tackle this weekend. And just for fun here is a bonus:

7. Remove stuff Too many things around the door will just make it feel cluttered so remove shoes, hoses, toys, or watering cans that may be lying around. Those of you who follow my blog regularly may also notice that we removed the glass storm door. Not only did this dramatically increase the visual appeal of the door from the street but it also improved the functionality of the steps. Narrow top steps and storm doors that open out don’t work well together. Finally, remove all the dirt. Wash the windows and power wash the steps and concrete.

Here’s a quick reminder of what the front door used to look like (this is after we replaced the pediment but before we did anything else). front door curp apeal before and after Linked up with:

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