09 Nov

DIY Curb Appeal

DIY curb appeal

Somewhere in my DNA there is a nomad gene, of this I am certain. I got it from my dad.

In the last 16 years I have moved 338 times. (I have actually lived in 11 different places in 10 different cities but you can see how that would feel like 338 moves.) Half of those moves were to apartments; the other half were single family homes. Earlier, I mentioned how our current house is the first ‘used’ one we’ve ever purchased.

curb appeal rehab

Now, when it comes to clothes I have no issues wearing the same jeans 3 days in a row (unless*especially if* I am painting/staining) and I’ve been known to wear all of my black shirts in succession for an entire month. But you won’t catch me driving the same color car and I have never owned the same color house twice.

I believe the anal retentive gene came from my mom.

To date, I had never had a cranberry front door and I certainly wasn’t going to start with this house. See how dark and drab and blah it was? It didn’t compliment whatever shade of siding that is…

paint the front door

Is it gray? or green? maybe tan? Either way it made the front porch feel like a cave. Nothing about it said “Welcome”. Instead it screamed “Paint Me!” So, that’s what I did.

Now, I don’t know if it is because I’ve spent so long in the construction industry or if I’m just an odd duck but my favorite color for the last decade or so has been orange. I LA-OVE it. And not just orangey-orange. I am a fan of terra cotta and rust and melon. I like them all. But I am obsessed with that orange-red color you find tucked away in the center of a Spanish olive.

Only, I didn’t anticipate it being so BOLD.

The awesome thing about paint is that in no time you can erase the bad decisions of the past ~ 2 hours to be exact.

bright orange shutters The shadows on the front porch tone the door color down during the day but with the overhead light on at night I doubt anyone would mistake my house for their own; rattling the door handle yelling to let them in, damn it. (yes, this really happened at residence #6 – I guess alcohol makes all the really similar houses look identical.)

Anyhow, while I was painting the door and shutters something about the porch column post was nagging at me. I decided that the overall scale was off and decided to beef the scrawny guy up a bit.

Unfortunately, I tackled this project before I had any inkling of starting a blog so I am lacking pretty ‘How To’ photos. It’s ok though – all the cool blogs have done this before me so I’m in good company. Instead, you’re going to have to conjure up images in your head based on my (not so) in depth ramblings and we’ll call it an interactive exercise. M’kay?

First, I removed the top and bottom casing trim on the existing post. {Photo 1} I whipped over to Menards and picked up a green treated 4 x 4 and cut it to size heightwise. Then I stood it up next to the existing lumber and smacked ‘er into place.

beefed up porch column

Confident the beam was wedged in well enough and the porch header wasn’t going to come crashing down, I grabbed some scrap wood (1 x 6’s) and built an box to encase the supports. I left the back board off so I could ‘wrap’ the 3-sided box around the front and sides. Then I held the last board up and shot nails in to finish it off. So that it didn’t look unfinished, I cut and added trim to the top and bottom of the post. {Photo 2}

I wanted something whimsical to soften the hard edges of the new column. I had this fabulous idea to add a sconce to illuminate the new address numbers. We order a lot of pizza and I was starting to feel bad for the delivery guy since the numbers weren’t visible from the street (either because the first set was light gray or because I left them off entirely for the few days week I took to finish this project ~ whoops!) Since I was well passed the caulk, paint and prime stage it was a tad too late to install any electrical. I had to pull out Plan B.

I went gangbusters trying to find a way to transform a hanging metal candle holder into a glow-in-the-dark outdoor lantern.
Google eluded me. Pinterest failed me. I was ready to duct tape the top of a broken solar pathway light (the aforementioned ‘box’ may have fallen over during construction) on the inside when I found exactly what I was looking for at Lowes. On sale.

Sometimes you just have to succumb to retail.

I painted and replaced the address numbers, and installed the prefabricated outdoor solar light.

Then I stepped back to look at the progress. I was happy. This was a house I could live in (even if I didn’t have anything to do with building it). Later that night, the pizza man was happy – he had no problems finding out house.

And as far as I know, I’m the only one in the family with the DIY gene.

quick curb appeal update

 (…notice the front door is primed in this pic? It’s STILL like that today – I’m waiting for the weather to pass before attempting to re-re-repaint it. That is an entirely different post.)

5 thoughts on “DIY Curb Appeal

  1. I see you used treated 4×4 for the posts then did you use untreated for the cosmetic portion of the post? Have you had any problems?

    • Kristin – Yes! I’ve got the redo on my To Do List for this fall. Although I used external caulk & paint the weather took a toll on the untreated trim pieces and they are in need of rehab. I haven’t quite decided what to do with it this time around (they don’t make decorative moldings in treated wood that I’ve seen) but I’ll be sure to post about it. Thanks for the follow-up reminder!

  2. Dee, I have a scrawny post on my front porch I noticed the top of your post what keeps the rain from going down into the post

    • My post cap is under the porch overhang but if yours is exposed I recommend some roof flashing {metal specifically for this purpose} at a slight pitch be installed at the top to allow for water runoff.

  3. Dee, I love all the changes you made to your house. Just beautiful. Thanks for your comments about our board and batten. I've got a whole file full of inspiration images I've found online, mostly saved on pinterest. Hope that helps. Thanks for sharing your makeover. liz

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