Improving Curb Appeal Phase I: Working with what we have

One of the first things we began working on when we closed on our new house was improving it’s curb appeal. Honestly, the house wasn’t in terrible shape. It’s a colonial, so it’s lines are pretty traditional and classic. The house had been vacant for two years when we got out hands on it, so it was pretty tired looking. The gardens were over grown and the paint was fading. Although the house has decent enough curb appeal for most people, we have pretty lofty goals for where we want to take it.  As in we want our house to look like this. Because our goals are large and expensive we chopped them up into 3 phases. Phase 1 is really about working with what we already have. We don’t have a large enough budget or enough time to tackle the exterior the way we really want to, so instead we decided to work on sprucing up what was already there. We had already completed and shared the first three items on the list:

Phase 1:

  • Bring out architectural details by painting the trim white
  • Bring new life to the shutters with a more modern color

Well, I am very happy to finally announce that 3 months after closing on our house we have finished phase 1! We spent the weekend soaking up the last warmth of fall and painting the exterior trim and shutters.  Last we left off this is what the house looked like.

exterior phase 1

The house actually has some great architectural features like double bay windows and dental molding; however, they had all been painted the exact same color as the siding thereby rendering them invisible. We decided to paint all the trim a bright white to brighten up the house and bring some attention to it’s hidden details. Also, we painted all the door casings white to tie into the new pediment we had installed.

Doesn’t every guy dream of spending his entire Saturday on a 25 ft ladder painting a house? This was probably our least fun project so far. On the plus side it made a huge impact for only about $20!

Painting exterior trim

For the trim we used Ultra White by Valspar (the same color we used on the mailbox). The dark red on the shutters and front door weren’t terrible. In fact it is very popular in our neighborhood; however, it felt a little stale and countrified to us. Picking the shutter color was more difficult than I had anticipated. I wanted a really dark muted blue, but the front of our house gets so much direct sunlight that the paint looks very different on the house than on the swatch. In the end we choose Night View by Valspar which looks dark grey on the swatch but as you can see in the picture below definitely shows blue once painted and in the sun. I was really nervous about choosing the shutter color because I knew we’d be stuck with whatever we picked for years. Cody made it perfectly clear he was only painting them once.

Dark blue shutter with cream siding

Bear with me on the “after” photos here. It’s difficult to get a picture while it’s sunny out as it either casts a shadow on the house or is so bright that it washes the house out. I’ll try to get another picture as soon as we get an overcast day again.

Night View exterior paint

We are totally thrilled with the color palette we choose. The blue actually tones down the cream siding and makes it look more tan than yellow. Unfortunately, the new paint job only makes the ugly storm windows and falling apart front door even more obvious. But, baby steps….. Hopefully we’ll be replacing those soon enough and I can find something else to complain about instead.exterior with crea m trim and blue shutters

It’s hard to believe that just 3 months ago it looked like this…..

exterior before

I am hoping to tackle Phase 2 in Fall 2014 but Phase 3 is more likely in the 5 year plan.

Phase 2:

Build a Portico for the front steps

Install a new wood door

Replace all the windows

Phase 3:

Replace the roof with slate gray architectural shingles

Replace the vinyl siding with Hardy plank in a dark color.

Install new gardens

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xoxo Stephanie

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