Color Conundrum. Please Help! P.S. Weekend Paint Sale

I would like to introduce you to our front porch when we first moved in.

IMG_1809  IMG_1768

Lots of charm… along with water damage, peeling paint and super sweet paneling…

Thankfully the porch already had a new roof so the initial water problem was solved but it was time to repair the damage of the fascia and trim.

This was a pretty easy fix.  Even found the matching trim. We were very thankful to find that none of the actual structure was damaged, just rot on the exterior.  (Thanks dear husband for letting me direct you!)


After this I may have gotten a little curious to see what was under that paneling…


woooohooooo there is something there!!

After this I started to realize that at some point a previous owner built up the knee-wall a few inches and chopped off the column bases. The floor has a decent slope to it (which may or may not have been original) – it does appear that they built up this area to correct the slope on the roof but left everything else as is.

We assessed the rest of the porch and noted a few other areas of rot in the floor, large pieces of the sill plate around the porch were also missing. After a couple defeating trips to the lumber yard and salvage warehouse decided it was time to call someone who knew what they were doing.

This week has been much fun see things get repaired. We were very lucky to find little rot in the real porch structure however we did have carpenter ant’s on one side that could have done a lot more damage if it went longer unchecked!

So in the end we are getting a porch “tune-up” everything will be safe and sound, missing pieces replaced, bases on the columns, less dramatic slope to the floor. Everything is looking much much more proportional.


We are happily reusing the beadboard on the wall that was covered up and I found some matching pieces at the salvage warehouse to replace any rotted or broken boards. We just have a couple days of work left!

But now here is the trouble! COLOR TROUBLE!

We will be painting the entire house in another week. The white clapboard wall will become this beautiful blue teal. BEHR Premium Plus 8 oz. #S450-6 Tornado Season Interior/Exterior Paint SampleBEHR Premium Plus Ultra 1-gal. #S350-6 Truly Olive Satin Enamel Interior Paint

The columns and all the trim will pop in the white while the knee-wall will have a fun accent of olive.

That leaves the glorious dark wood bead-board ceiling which get cleaned and a fresh coat of poly. Now about the floor… this is where I need opinions! I work with mega amounts of color all week long in the studio which can leaved me drained when it is time to come home.

I would say 60-70% of the paint is already gone off of the porch floor so it could either be painted again or sanded and stained. I think a classic warm grey floor would be a love option – again I could paint or stain. I could also embrace that mix of old growth fir and new mahogony and stain it a more traditional wood color. My worry is that the dark floor and ceiling could compress the space.

BEHR Premium 8-oz. #ST144 Gray Seas Semi-Transparent Weatherproofing Wood Stain Sample

grey seas – stain

BEHR Premium Plus Ultra 1-gal. #N380-5 Naturalist Gray Semi-Gloss Enamel Exterior Paint

naturalist – paint

BEHR Premium 1-gal. #ST-110 Chestnut Semi-Transparent Weatherproofing Wood Stain

chestnut – stain

I have never had to maintain an open porch so any suggestions would be appreciated. Since I am sure areas will need to be shoveled in the snow will it be better to stain so there is less risk of chipping? Or will the paint be more resistant? Oh homeownership – do I over think things?

OHHHHHHHHHH! Also Home Depot is having a sale until July 6th – $10 rebate on Behr Paint and stains soooo run! (generally I only see $5 off)

Thank you interwebs people for your help!


Door Pt 2 – Goodbye Window Sheer!

I got the second coat of Spar-Urethane on the door now it was time to deal with the window treatment.

The last owners had left a light blue push-on sheer that worked fine for privacy. Again here is the interior of the door before I started the project.


               interior before

Recap from last week: I had stripped the red paint of the door exterior and stripped the varnish/lacquer off of the interior and freshened up the stain. In the midst of stripping I discovered the door interior was not a single color!


I decided to forgo any kind of curtain or shade and tested this frosted privacy film from Jo-Ann’s (yay for coupons!)


This is not a sticky product at all and was pretty easy to work with. It was very similar to those decorative stick on clings you might find for holidays. Just cut the cling to the right dimension, spritz the window with water and put it on smoothing out any bubbles. It is pretty easy to re-adjust so just take your time with it.


               two panes down – 4 to go



I am quite happy how this project turned out, now I will turn my attention to the front porch while searching for the perfect wreath to hang on the door.


Shut the Front Door – Part 1

Painting your front door a great pop of color has been all the rage for a while ago – it can really add a lovely effect on your house.

When I first saw our house I knew right away that I needed to show some TLC to our front door, it was painted red to match the color scheme of the exterior.


#1 RULE: Learn to love your old wood! #2 RULE: Flat is bleeh. Add some sheen to that door!

Cute but the color scheme will be changing and the paint was way too flat for an accent like this.

Rather than waiting to paint the door when we paint the rest of the house I opted to strip the color and go back to the stain. I am a firm believer showing off wood detail with a stain instead of covering it up when you can – especially on a nice old house!

The door will pop off the hinges very easily if you are doing any kind of refinishing work. Just pop up the pins using a putty knife and hammer or some hinges unscrew at the bottom of the pin.


hinge pin will allow the door to come off and on easily

Once the door was off the frame and on saw horses it was time to strip! It took a couple coats of stripper but nothing too bad.


We put the door back up after the messiest part was over… having a front door is a good thing. It seemed as if most of the varnish or poly was still intact when the door was painted but there were some areas that definitely seemed like they had been weathered – maybe painting seemed like a good choice at the time.


it’s naked! ready to sand and stain

Just to let you know – if you have never stripped anything, the stripper just takes off the finish it does not bleach away any stain that was there before. It may strip layer after layer of paint colors or just strip the clear coat. Adding a fresh coat of stain helps liven up the color and condition the wood.

I decided to strip the varnish off of the interior side as well – the clear coat had allegatored and was just not in the prettiest shape. This led to a wonderful discovery! My front door was two-toned!


Before: door needs a spruce up


After: Stripping the clear coat gave way to a beautiful two-tone door!

The majority of interior doors in the house are similar in that they are two-tone along with my stair spindles and rails. Anyone else out there have this going on? We looked at MANY houses in the last year of the same vintage but this was the only one to have two-tone details.

After stripping both sides I matched the lighter stain to “Golden Pecan” from Minwax and the darker stain I used “Red Mahogany” mixed with the golden to get a closer match to the original.

I am using Spar-Urethane to protect the wood. For an exterior door it is important to use a product that can handle changing weather. Unfortunately there is a 24 hour drying time. I have the first coat on but will need to lock my door when working this week…sooo I shall update you next week after the final coats are done and I will show you my new window treatment!



Last year I had a wonderful garden that I started planning in January. I had a great big plot at the local community garden where I planted anything and everything. I feasted on green beans and had never tasted such sweet corn. This year I knew would be different, when the time came to renew my plot I knew it would be best to release it to the next gardener. We had yet to find out house but I was hopeful it would happen soon and I could not imagine trying to take care of that size garden while working with a new home.

Thankfully I plenty of space to work with now but I did not want to dive in too deep with the never ending other projects I now have on my plate. Although I started later than I had wished I was able to dig up this small flower bed that was left with 95% weeds some sedum, a few hosta and a rose bush. This will be a good place to start.


lawn and leaf bags are great for keeping down the weeds!

Here is a progress pic after I had taken care of most of the weeds… I used lawn and leaf bags with holes cut out as a type of mulch to help suppress any weeds from popping up. I can then cover with top soil so, the bag will most likely have broken down by the end of the season and in the fall I can continue to build up nice healthy soil.

I have lettuce, tomato, basil, sage, parsley, cilantro, thyme and some green beans of course that will come up soon! The area is not full sun but I figured everything will be fine and I can always move the tomatoes later on if they need more sun. Not shown are my two new blueberry bushes and lavender (okay it took me days to plant the lavender because I just kept picking it up to smell it.)


grow delicious food grow!

This garden is itty bitty compared to last year but I am pretty excited, I bought everything except for beans as starters since it is already June. How are your gardens growing?

Now here is a picture of Baxter helping me because everyone needs a dose of fuzzy cuteness!


Happy Gardening!

A Facelift for the Deck

When we moved into our house we were happy that there was a fairly new small deck that the previous owners had built. Sure it was not really finished… but that was something we could handle.


We planned on trimming the excess boards down and putting some kind of face board on. However it only took two days of me staring at those 2 giant seams to decide that this needed to be a bigger project if I was going to have to look at it for a good number of years.


once you notice the seam you can’t unsee it!!

Props to anyone who takes it on themselves to build a deck. It takes a little while longer but if you are using only 8′ boards you may want to think about staggering them – of course this is my personal taste and I do not mean any disrespect to the previous owners who put this in.

After a couple of quick youtube videos to introduce ourselves to the world of decking we set off to unscrew, cut and put the top board back on. We also flipped the “up” side of many of the boards to reduce cupping depending on the grain of the wood. This inadvertently created a beautiful variegated pattern!


I was the master cutter and planner while Kevin did the majority of driving.


Here is Baxter enjoying his new yard!

We did have to add a few boards by the end and of course close off around the open edges. It has been a good few weeks that it was time to stain it! I like the natural color but I we figured we would try a semi-transparent stain since we will have plenty of maintenance to keep up with elsewhere in the house.



now I better keep going on the garden!

New Life for Old Steps

It was March when we put our purchase offer in on our new old house. This means we really had no idea what our yard would look like since it was covered in snow. We did know that there was a walkway with steps leading up from the street…however they were covered in ice so we figured we would learn more later.

Well later came and it was obvious that these concrete steps had seen better days.


*Note this picture was taken after quite a bit of cleaning… the bottom step was a surprise to us since it was covered in an inch and a half of dirt and grass…

Well after cleaning some more and a few youtube videos we were off to pick-up some concrete to help these last a little while longer.

100 + lbs of cement-all later this is what we have


I know it is not perfect but I am happy with the results. I had neighbors walking by to ask if I was Italian. Italian by osmosis but I am sure it was the Irish mason father of mine that pushed me to give it a try.

We have some other steps in the back that need some love but I am brainstorming a different type of facelift… maybe some type of tile or painted design over the existing steps? Any ideas?

Reboot 102: New House Edition!

Hi all!

I see I still have a few followers out there. It is has been quite a long time since I last checked in. I never really got into the flow of keeping up with this blog but heck why not try it again?

I have been super super busy as of late because I am the now the proud owner of an amazing house!


Kevin and I had searched high and low for almost a year and we finally stumbled on this 1925 Dutch Colonial with Arts and Crafts flair. I knew I had to have an older home and thankfully we found one that still has a lot of the characteristics that resonate with me left intact.


Although this house needs some work, we are ready to help it really shine.

Please share any stories you may have about your first house or projects that you dealt with in an older home!