Posts tagged ‘curb appeal’

September 27, 2011

Panic, Trees & Carport Planning

by Cait

We’ve been working a bit on our curb appeal on-and-off this year, mostly purely cosmetic things like the porch ceiling or the Spanish tile (and I still owe y’all a post on the door tile- oops). However, this time we need to take more of a form-over-function direction.

If you missed my photo-only post yesterday, the dying oak tree beside the driveway took out its post-rain wrath on my car’s window. My granddad always told me not to park under large trees because they can randomly huge drop limbs (especially the day after a storm), yet for some reason I never thought I’d learn this lesson the hard way by parking in my own driveway. You know, probably because of the conveniently placed driveway


If we’re being honest, this was not the first time the car-eating tree dropped a limb on my car. The last time was about 18 months ago while we were in San Francisco for Robert’s cousin’s wedding. For whatever reason (probably that the limb only made a small ding on my hood that time?), we decided not to do the smart thing and listen to our parents remove the ailing tree then. We did pull a giant, been-there-since-we-owned-the-house, wedged-in dead limb out of the same tree back before Hurricane Irene, though. And there may have been some really ironic “we’re such good, cautious homeowners” type high-fiving after that. Who knows what kind of damage that sucker could have done to my car.

Fast forward back to today. Robert and I have pretty much decided to stop taking chances by doing the bare minimum after the burst pipe in the guest bathroom wall. So rather than continuing to sacrifice our cars to the tree, we’re going to have the darn thing removed. We decided this amidst all the panicking and taping of bags over my car window, but we know it’s the right decision, and one we should have done months or years ago.


We have also toyed with the idea of adding a carport along the side of our house, possibly with a covered walkway to the front porch. I don’t know that  both removing the tree and building a carport are really necessary, but better safe than sorry I guess. It’s not like there aren’t other tress in the area, and a carport would protect my car from things like hail, too. 

The (first) problem we run into is that we would be putting it on the guest room side of the house, where it may block most of the light coming in the window. Young House Love has the same issue with the window over their desk, but their office still seems to get enough light (of course that room also has a second window). As I told Robert, we could add some sort of tubular skylight later on if the room is too dark. (Though we haven’t priced those yet. Heck, we haven’t even priced the carport or tree removal yet.)  Another option is just making the guest bath window larger when we get to working on that project again, and then adding the window I’ve been wanting in the laundry room when we get to that. (Oh how projects snowball into one another.)

Getting back to carports, Kara Paslay and her husband Tim improved their house’s curb appeal by adding an arbor in front of the carport.

Kara Paslay’s carport

I also found this carport on Pinterest, but it is originally from a company that builds carports.


And then there is YHL’s carport.

YHL’s carport

So that’s our latest need-based curb appeal project. We’re hopefully getting the tree removal estimate today, and after that we’ll work on figuring out what kind of carport we may add. We would love to one day have a garage (with a studio space above it), but after yesterday I think we’re planning on biting the bullet and putting up a carport, at least for the time being.

Anyone else have to make design choices after something unexpected happened? Any other tree horror stories? Or if you’ve seen any great carport designs I’d love to see them!

August 18, 2011

The Blues

by Cait

Things have been hectic around here lately. A lot of working too much and coming home too tired to do a whole lot of anything in the way of projects. In spite of all that, we’re baby-stepping our way through a front porch mini-makeover this summer in an effort to improve our curb appeal and stay busy enough to keep our sanity. We already have the mailbox (a gift from Robert’s parents for my birthday), and we talked about our new door hardware and other changes we’d like to make here.

The next step in the process was to give our front porch ceiling a facelift. We’ve both been on a blue kick recently, and it’s a southern tradition to paint porch ceilings blue, so we embraced it. We started with a peach ceiling (which made the ceiling feel very low and closed-in), sporting asymmetrical trim (to hide the seams in the drywall), a HomeGoods lantern we turned into a porch light pre-blog, and far more dead bugs than I care to think about. (The photo below was taken after Robert started to pry the trim down, but there is a really old iPhone picture in this post with a true before picture.) Robert did all of the work (and took a lot of one-handed pictures),  since this took place during a period of time when I was working 58 hour weeks.

Robert pried the trim down using a razor knife & a screw driver, then added a few more screws to reinforce the drywall.

After everything was secured better he caulked the drywall seams.

Then he took down the old light and sanded the edges of the old layers of paint to help give everything a smoother, more seamless look in the end.

The first layer of spackle went up.

Followed by a lot of sanding and more spackling.

After waiting out a summer shower, he taped off the ceiling and rolled on two sample cans of  Valspar Grand Hotel Mackinac Blue (we changed our mind about the Glass Tile color after taping some paint chips to the ceiling and staring at them for a while).

Then the tape came down, and we added a new light.

All in all, it’s a cheerful addition that you can see peeking out at you when you pull up in the driveway.

I can’t wait to tackle the back porch now! Maybe we’ll wait until it cools off a little…

Edit: I saw this link on another blog (I wish I could remember which one!), and when my mom emailed it to me I thought I should add it to the post. Thanks to NPR for such a great link about blue porch ceilings.

March 23, 2011

Sunrise on the Beach

by Cait

Our free sample from Valspar should be arriving today, so I thought I’d share the plan.  Since I don’t want to share full shots of the exterior of our house, I am going to be annoying and use this picture of part of the front of our house for reference.  Just ignore the untamed bushes, we have been for a year and a half. 


We hope to paint the house Valspar’s Sunrise Beach, which is a yellow slightly brighter and more saturated than the Spun Honey we used in several rooms inside.  The bricks below the windows will go white, and the shutters will either stay white or be painted a similar shade to our front door (which is Gray Teal).  Maybe Atlantic Gray?  I think we’re undecided on whether we want the planter to remain the color of the house or go white.

Front Door

What do y’all think about white shutters vs blue shutters?  Should the planter stay the same color as the house?  Also, if anyone else has curb appeal projects planned I’d love to hear about them!

March 23, 2011

Spring Forward

by Cait

It’s the time of year when I start pretending our backyard looks like this:

Ikea Summer 2010 ad, seen on Making it Lovely

Of course the reality is that our yard needs major work.  The fence along the back is falling down, part of the fence is chain link and part is wood, our neighbor cut down all of the shrubs&vines overgrowth that kept our backyard feeling private, there is no grass to speak of (thanks dogs), and there is a weird concrete foundation of sorts (complete with nubs of rebar sticking out of it) extending beyond the porch that we’ve been ignoring for the past year and a half.  Oh and Robert got himself a very large, ugly shed. (I love you, honey!  And yes, white with hunter green was the lesser of many, many evils, but it is still a corrugated metal shed.  And while I do love corrugated metal, I prefer it’s unpainted state…)


The front yard is not much better.  Anything green is probably weeds, the bushes are dying & need to be ripped out, there are two plastic adirondack chairs (which we got for free from my parents’ neighbor) that keep falling over in the wind, there is a large ball of some plant sort resembling Elephant Ears near the corner that is currently half-dead, and companies keep leaving their cards in our mailbox about our beloved oak trees.  Apparently the trees are dead, hollow and threaten our house & cars during every major storm.  (Hello hurricane season, how are you doing.)  BUT I LOVE THEM!  Yes, yes I know, our house is more important than a couple old trees.  But it makes me so sad.  I keep forgetting to ask my uncle to look at them when he’s in town.  Probably because I’ll cry if he says they need to be removed.  And then I’ll Google “what is the fastest growing shade tree”, and cry when they’re 1) expensive and 2) probably can’t grow in Florida. 

Back to the point.  Ideally I would like to replace the plastic chairs with green wooden ones (because when your gorgeous trees are allegedly being eaten alive by some sort of wood destroying organism it’s perfectly rational to put wooden chairs in your yard).  If the trees have to go, I’m going to demand request we build a scale version of the gazebo we got married in.  The one below is similar, but the one from our wedding had a wider opening and a small step or two down.


from World Market

In the backyard I want a patio, I’m thinking a hybrid of the one YHL had at their old house, the one Sara at Russet Street Reno has and the one Rebecca & Mike at The Lil House are planning.  In my fantasy the patio is complete with a table for eating outside in the mosquitos and an umbrella to blow over in hurricanes.  (I’m an opimist, obviously.)  In reality, our patio would be a crap because I am a killer of all plants, even cacti.  (It’s a miracle my 5th grade totmatoes survived.  I think my mom had a lot to do with that though.)  But a girl can dream, right?

from Russet Street Reno

Until we have money for any of that I’ll just be living vicariously through other bloggers.  Or sitting on their patios while they’re at work (in the least creepy stalker way possible, obviously).

March 16, 2011

Nice Exterior

by Cait

Ok, so we don’t exactly have a nice exterior, but I was trying to make a lame posterior joke.

I rarely talk about our house’s exterior on this blog, because I don’t really want to post pictures of it in full.  Aside from using our front porch as a header and talking about how we painted our door, I haven’t talked about curb appeal at all.  I know that a lot of people paint their house shortly after buying it, but our house was freshly painted when we bought it, so we tried to live with it.  Now after living here for going-on-two-years (and who knows how long from when the seller painted it until we bought it) the paint that is starting to peel in some areas and we have both decided we are really, really, really tired of pink salmon peach.  (Robert frequently finishes directing people to our house by saying “and then look for the pink house with my truck out front”.)

Surprise, surprise, we are considering yellow.  Shocking I know, what with the four yellow rooms in our house.  It’s mostly it is because I am lazy and do not want to repaint the front door (Valspar Grey Teal) or the bench  (Valspar La Fonda Grassy Knoll).

The shades of yellow we are considering are: (top card left to right) Dreamy Caramel, Maple Cream, Coconut Scent; (second card down) Butterscotch Cream, Spun Honey, Lemon Sorbet; Sunrise Beach and Yellow Frost.  We used Spun Honey (second card, middle) in the four yellow rooms of our house, but we are thinking about going a little brighter and deeper for the exterior.  What are y’all’s thoughts?

Also since we are talking about the porch, this is my birthday present from my lovely in-laws:

Swedish Mailbox

I suppose I should mention that we are not paid in any way by Valspar, we just really, really like their paint.