Posts tagged ‘Front Porch’

August 29, 2011

The Spanish Steps

by Cait

To break from the hurricane talk for a minute, I thought I’d share some details on a project we took on last week. I’ll have the rest of how we prepared for the high winds we were expected to have, as well as the rest of our tile project for you later this week.

We live in an area where it’s pretty common to see Spanish tile on houses, and we recently took the plunge and ordered some. I had been pinning Spanish tile designs and tiled steps to my Curb Appeal board on Pinterest for weeks, and we figured it was time after recently visiting St Augustine & also seeing quite a few tropical vacation photos featuring Spanish tile. I had done some research as far as where to buy tiles that were pretty & reasonably priced, and  when one of those websites offered free shipping we decided to order our tile.

Before we finalized the decision on which tiles to buy I did a couple of Photoshop mock ups of what our front steps would look like after we tiled them. It was probably an unnecessary step, but I’m a Photoshop nerd, and sometimes it helps Robert understand my ideas.

First this one:

And then, when we decided to take advantage of free shipping from another website with different tile options, I made the one below.

We also toyed with the idea of doing one design per step, like the mock up below.

We ulitmately decided that we liked the second mock up best, so we measured to see how many tiles we would need and placed our order.  We also measured around our front door and ordered some tiles go go around that.

A few days later our tile arrived and we got to work laying them out to see what pattern we liked best.

As far as attaching the tiles to our steps, we figured that we would probably use something like Liquid Nails rather than trying to grout the tiles in place. And as luck would have it, in talking to my dad about the project we discovered that he happened to have a couple of tubes of adhesive he was willing to give us. Sweet!

We applied the adhesive in a 4-dot pattern on the back of each tile, then held the tile in place for a minute or so to give the adhesive a chance to begin setting. We used one tube for about 57 tiles the first day, just to give you an idea of how much adhesive you’re going to want if you decide to tackle a similar project.

The whole project probably took about two hours from start to finish, and we only cracked one tile in the process (and we had an extra) so I’d say it was a success. We did run out of adhesive three tiles before we finished the bottom step, so this isn’t a complete after picture.

We  didn’t want to cut any tiles, so we do need to figure out a solution for the slight space you can see on the left of the second step (each step has a similar space, actually). We’ll probaly end up painting that area a different color to make it blend, or add some sort of edge tile.

Also, after giving the adhesive a chance to dry overnight we ran a bead of almond colored caulk along the top edge, just to give the whole thing a cleaner look.

Anyone else added some interest to their exterior recently?

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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.

July 15, 2011

Curb Your Enthusiasm

by Cait

Does anyone else ever feel like they are stylistically confused? As I mentioned in the last post, I’ve been planning a mini makeover for the front porch. I also mentioned in this post that the style we’re going for with the exterior of our house is rustic & electic modern with traditional & Spanish influences (no, I still have not figured out a better way to say that). 

This is what I’m considering:

door hardwarelight; paint color; mailbox; brushed nickel doorbell; house number; Mexican tiles; brass doorbell; iron doorbell; steel house numbers

We recently got a great deal on new front door hardware, thanks to Robert and our friend Lisa pointing out a mixup with price stickers at Lowe’s. It was actually marked $59.99 instead of $122, but the manager on duty would only go as low as $80. Legally we technically could have made him sell it to us for the marked price, but $80 sounded like a good deal to us. Robert & I bought one for our house, and Lisa & Jordan bought one for their new house. You can see our old hardware below, from when Robert & I were trying to decide on an exterior paint color (still no progress on that venture, but we’re thinking tan with light blue shutters.)

We decided on a new porch light (though I think the one at our Lowe’s is actually black instead of brushed nickel, which is fine with us). We’d also like to paint the ceiling a light blue from the Valspar Creative Ideas for Color line at Lowe’s, but we need to work on the porch ceiling. There are a couple of weird trim piece that need to be removed but we’re not sure if they are covering wires or just seams in the ceiling. Hopefully that will be fairly simple. (Famous last words?) 

sorry for the old, crooked iPhone picture

Then comes the issue of house numbers. Hopefully you understand that I don’t want to show you our actual house number, but I cant tell you it’s a DIY project we tackled pre-blog. I covered 6 inch ceramic tiles with scrapbook paper, stenciled the numbers on, and then we framed it with some molding we already had. The whole thing probably cost about $2 (for the scrapbook paper), and I’m ready for a change. I really like the idea of using Mexican tiles on the front of our steps (which is why I’ve pinned a few on my Curb Appeal board). I feel like these blue house numbers would go along with those  nicely with those tiles, and I also think they would pair well with our Swedish mailbox that Robert’s parents gave me for my birthday. 

On the other hand, I also like the style of these steel house numbers (and the idea that they could be backlit with LEDs).  I made a mock-up of how it would look if we mounted the steel numbers under the library window. Our current house numbers can be a bit hard to see up on the porch, even with the light on, and the tile numbers I’ve been eyeing are ever smaller. Maybe adding some well-lit ones beneath the window would help that?

Putting my Photoshop skillz to good use, though the tiles would be more random than that.

As for choosing a doorbell, I know that mixed metals are in right now, but I think it should probably be brushed nickel since it will be so close to the door hardware. I’m leaning toward the satin nickel one above, from Restoration Hardware. We’re going to have to figure out a way to move the doorbell to the right side of the door, because the ones we’re considering are probably too wide to fit in the same place as the current narrow one. Moving it to the other side may be tricky, thanks to the stucco/plaster wall and possibly having to rewire things in the attic. Here’s hoping we can work something out with all of that.

Replacing the doorbell sort of dovetails into an entryway project. If we replace the button we will probably end up also replacing the door chime, which is currently mounted on the wall to the right of the hallway entrance. Then that segues into a fireplace project because I want to remove the tile, which wraps around on three sides.

Very old photo, best one to show where the door chime is.

We’ll probably try to tackle the porch ceiling and light this weekend, and then work our way from there.

Do y’all have one design style or is it more of a hodgepodge like ours? What about mixing metals? And does anyone else notice that one project leads into the next, and the next, and so on?

July 6, 2011

Lighting the Way

by Cait

Thank you all for your well-wishes yesterday! I’m feeling much better now, and I’m turning my attention away from Grey’s Anatomy & How I Met Your Mother reruns and back to house-related topics, like exterior lighting.

It’s a subject I’ve touched on before, but we have yet to actually buy any. When we left off last time Robert and I had been planning on getting a couple of lights like the upper left for the backyard. Having looked at them in Lowe’s several times since then, we’ve decided  that we prefer the style of the  lower left light for the backyard (slash Robert used his veto power, and I agreed that the galvanized will look nice with the outdoor shower and eventual tank pool).

The light in the lower right is what we already have near the top of the driveway (we replaced it last year pre-blog when the old light began letting rain water in, which besides being generally unsafe was causing the bulb to shatter) and the upper right is what we are currently considering for the front porch. (Sidenote- we replaced the “boob” light from the former owners on pre-blog. Below is a super-old, super-crooked iPhone picture of our previous solution.) We also have these lights from Target strung across our porch.

cheap HomeGoods lantern turned porch light; worked like a charm for over a year

The  style we’re going with for the exterior of our house (at least for the front, but we’ll get to that later) is rustic & electic modern with traditional & Spanish influences*. Yes, that’s a mouthful. (Please, someone invent a design term for my style! If I have to coin a term it’s going to end up something like Dowisetrepla.)

So the question is: should our exterior lights on the front of the house coordinate with the ones in the backyard, or does it not matter? Generally speaking I’m a “buy what you love, the rest will fall into place” kind of person. I think the galvanized lights will fit better with the plan we have in mind for the backyard. We do have a corner lot, but for the most part you won’t be able to tell that the front and back lights are different styles.

What do you think? Do the front yard and backyard have to be cohesive? And also, does your design style mesh bewteen the interior & the exterior of your house or are they totally different?

*The direction of the backyard is a bit more rustic modern while the front of the house is (currently) more traditional. we’re working to make it more modern, with Spanish influences. (Both because of the area of town we live in, and the fact that we love some of the elements of Spanish houses, but more on that in another post.)

August 10, 2010

Living With An Exterior Color You Didn’t Pick

by Cait

When we bought our house it had just been painted by the person who flipped it.  Unfortunately for us, the color he chose was pink salmon peach.  We’re trying to look at the bright side: the house was recently painted so we don’t have to shell out the thousand or so dollars for 15-20 gallons of paint and spend hours in the Florida sun painting.  We decided to spend a little money instead on things to tone the color down a little.

porch

One of the first things we did was pick up a bench off the side of the road and paint it green (Valspar La Fonda Grassy Knoll) using paint we had picked up for another project.  Then we found a ceramic garden stool at HomeGoods, and added that to the mix and placed a coral cactus we picked up at Lowe’s on top of it.  In the interest of full disclosure, that is our firewood that is left over from this past winter still sitting on our porch next to the T-111, attracting bugs waiting to be put in the table base turned firewood holder in the library.  You can also see the mailbox we want to replace with one of these in white (or really we’d prefer the English version if we can find one).

planter

We are thinking of painting the bricks under the window white, especially if the paint that was left in the old shed is any good, and painting the planter a color other than peach as well.  Oh, and no, there isn’t really a reason our bushes aren’t properly trimmed and maintained… unless you count it being too hot in Florida to work outside 9 months out of the year, plants being dead the other three months, and the fact that Robert works full time while going to school as a reason.  Which I do.  We plan to rip the bushes/large weeds out so you can see the planter anyhow, especially since they were half dead/full of weeds when we bought the house, so they just haven’t gotten attention yet.

Screen shot 2010-08-10 at 11.09.14 AM

We painted the front door a color that coordinated with the peach (Valspar Grey Teal), instead of the white that it was.  And after that we could live with the peach.

chipping paint

Then this started happening.  Part of this is caused by the string trimmer getting too close to the house and then (of course) it just started peeling where the trimmer hit it.  Lovely.  On the plus side, you can’t see any of this from the street, but it has raised the “should we paint the exterior” question again, especially since it will be getting cooler outside soon.

Are you in love with your exterior color, or does it need some tweaking to make it more your style?