“I’ve made my house my own. Just like everyone else who came before me made it their own – and that only adds to its beauty.” – designer Ellen Allen
I love this quote. I think part of the reason I love old houses so much is because I love the sense of history that comes along with them. It’s as if every layer of paint, or wallpaper, or flooring is a story of the families who lived there before. As you peel back the layers you get a tiny glimpse into the lives that once called your house “home”.
I’ve loved adding “our layer” to this house over the past few years. It was a great house when we bought it, but it had been empty for a long time and was definitely in need of a little love.
Since I only recently started this blog, I thought it would be fun to take you back to the beginning and show you how things have progressed up to this point. Let’s start outside.
It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but the original wood siding had suffered years of neglect and poorly executed paint jobs. We would have loved to salvage it, but it would have taken more time and money than we had available.
We decided to keep it simple and classic and go with white siding. I know it’s not the most exciting color, but I always love a white house. Sometimes I like gray, or red, or brown, etc., but I always love a white house. Given the cost and time devoted to this project, I figured it was best to stick with something I knew I would never tire of.
We replaced all the windows first, and then winter struck and our progress was put on hold, so our house spent a good part of the following year looking a lot like this:
Once spring weather hit, we were back to work and started focusing on the chimney.
We were hoping to strip the paint and return to the brick, but found we were spending lots of hours and lots of money and making very little progress. Not to mention we weren’t completely sure the old bricks were going to survive the aggressive paint removal process, so in the end we determined we were best off to give it a fresh coat of paint and call it a day.
We chose a light gray paint (Benjamin Moore Harbor Gray) because we wanted a little bit of contrast, but nothing that stood out too much or commanded too much attention. We then painted the foundation to match. I would of course have loved to see the original bricks, but I’m very pleased with the end result nonetheless.
By the start of last fall, the siding was complete and now looks like this:
Keep in mind this is not the finished product. We will be adding shutters (dark gray) and painting (black?) or staining (dark walnut maybe?) the front door. We also want to extend the front steps so that they are the entire width of the entry, and increase the depth of the top step so that you can stand on it while opening the door.
We’d like to mulch around the trees and maybe add some more shrubs to the front – whatever goes on the right will be added to the left so that it is symmetrical. At some point, we’d like to remove the tall pine and replace it with something smaller in scale that will allow more light inside and be less of a mess outside.
I’ll move the tour inside next week, but what do you think of the exterior so far? Would you paint the front door or stain it? Let me know below.