Since I last posted anything on the blog, we’ve made some really great progress on our spring-turned-summer project to spruce up the exterior of our house … as we should have, considering that it’s been OVER A MONTH since I’ve posted anything.  I had such super great intentions of posting frequent updates throughout the entire project … but clearly that didn’t happen.  Ugh.  Anyway, I figured it was time to post a few “afters” and catch you up on what’s still remaining.

For anyone who’s having trouble remembering (since it’s been FOREVER), here’s where we started:

Our official "before" picture.

Our official “before” picture.

And, the project for this spring/summer was to get a fresh coat of paint on the exterior of the house and complete a few related curb-appeal-type updates at the same time.

So, let’s start with paint – the house is painted … as in done.  The whole thing was done by one guy (yes, one!) and it was a SLOOOW process.  After the house dried out from pressure washing, it still took over 2 months, working every day that it wasn’t raining (including Saturdays) to complete the project.  But, the end is here and we’re so happy with it!  So, without further delay, some pictures!


The “after” picture.


Another of the front (south) side.


The sunroom (east) side of the house.


The deck (west) side.


The back (north side) of the house.


And one more of the front.

And let’s not forget the garage:


The front of the garage.


The side of the garage that faces the house.

Color-wise, we landed on using the Sherwin Williams color match to Andersen Sandtone for the trim color.  This choice was made because it was similar to the trim color on our inspiration photo, but also super practical since it’s a standard color for any maintenance free items (gutters, doors, garage doors, windows, etc.) we might want to replace in the future.

For the body color, we landed on Benjamin Moore Classic Gray (also color matched to Sherwin Williams paint) in a flat finish to mask some of the imperfections left by previous layers of paint.  And as far as accents, we chose Sherwin Williams Indigo Batik (SW7602) for the back door and Sherwin Williams Van Dyke Brown (SW7041) for the front porch and the back steps.


The back door (and storm door) are painted Sherwin Williams Indigo Batik (SW7602) and the steps are Sherwin Williams Van Dyke Brown (SW7041).

Indigo Batik is a nice blue color that’s not too dark and also not too bright.  My first choice for the back door would have been a darker, smoky navy-type color, but since there is so much shade in the back and it’s also the north side of the house, there just isn’t much light, so any dark colors read black, which just didn’t look right.  We tried a variety of samples before landing on Indigo Batik.  At first, I wasn’t sold, but figured we could easily re-paint the door down the road if we came up with a better option, but the color has really grown on me.  I love that adds a spot of interest to the back of the house.

The Van Dyke Brown color that we chose for the back steps and front porch is a really rich brown color.  I love how it looks, although we’ll have to wait and see how it is from a maintenance perspective.  The concrete stain in the back has been fine, but the paint on the front porch looks pretty dirty most of the time.  We’ll have to see if it gets better now that there aren’t contractors working outside all the time.

Sherwin Williams Van Dyke Brown on the front porch floor.

Sherwin Williams Van Dyke Brown (SW7041) on the front porch floor.

Overall, we’re super happy with how the paint has turned out.  We were really worried that the body and trim colors would look all wrong when they went on the house, but it turned out fine … even though we really sweated it until we saw the front completed.  I just don’t think picking paint colors will ever be a stress-free event for me!

So, that’s it for our “after” pictures of the new paint.  I’ll be back tomorrow to share some more details on the other updates we’ve made to the exterior of the house along with painting … and then, it’ll be time to re-group and pull together the list of everything that’s remaining before we can cross the project off the list completely … because, no, we’re not quite done.  Ugh.

But, first, one more look at the before and after:





So, what do you think?  Please tell me I’m not the only one who loses sleep over paint color selection.  And also that I’m not the only one to buy embarrassing quantities of sample quarts only to turn around and take them to the hazardous waste disposal place a few weeks later.  That’s not just me, right?

Exterior Painting Progress

It’s been a good 3 weeks since our house dried out from being pressure washed and the painters were able to start prepping and painting.  We’re finally starting to see what the paint colors look like on the house, so I figured it would be a good time to share an update.

As a quick refresher, here’s what the house looked like post-pressure washing:

The front of the house.

The front of the house.

Work actually started on the east side of the house (the right side on the picture above).  The plan is for the painters to do one side of the house from beginning to end and then move on to the next side.  So, they’re starting on the east side and then will work their way around back and do the front last.

The east side of the house, after pressure washing.

The east side of the house, after pressure washing.

The painters started with the prep work a few of weeks back.  They scraped off all of the loose paint, took down a crazy amount of telephone and coax wires that previously snaked around this side of the house, repaired a few spots with epoxy where the wood was starting to get a little soft, and generally cleaned everything up.

Then, they put plastic over the windows and sprayed on a coat of primer, followed by trim paint.  The main body color was then brushed on the lap siding before this picture (courtesy of the painters) was taken.


One of the things we’ve really been struggling with because they chose to start on this side of the house (which is so different than the rest of the building) is placement of the paint colors (i.e., what should be body color vs. what should be trim color).  Initially, the painter suggested that we paint most of the lower level the darker trim color and use the lighter body color only on the lap siding that covers the body on most of the house (see photo above)… and, technically, this isn’t wrong – most of what’s on that side of the house is trim.

We thought this felt really heavy, though, and didn’t love how it created such large areas of the darker trim color on an otherwise lightly colored house.  So, earlier this week, we asked if they would re-paint the columns with the body color instead to help break it up some, and it’s starting to look much better.


We’re still feeling like the area above the columns feels a little heavy and might need to be broken up with a little more of the body color paint … maybe the square caps at the top and bottom of each column should be the body color, too?  I’m not completely sure if that would look good or make things too stripey.

Anyway, we’re still working through some of the finishing touches on that side of the house, but the painting is mostly done and work is starting on the back of the house at the same time.  Most of the prep work and priming in the back is done and the trim paint was sprayed on yesterday.  I’m loving that we’re (finally) getting a good feel for what the new paint job will look like.

The back of the house - after painting the trim.

The back of the house – after painting the trim.

The body color will go up next and then we’ll work through all of the details of the color placement for the columns, railing, etc. around the back door.  I am so super excited to see how it will look!

On Monday, the painters came out to officially start work on prepping our house for fresh paint.  The weather forecast wasn’t great (the weather man was calling for rain starting around 1:00), but their first step was to pressure wash the house and that was able to be completed in just a few hours, so it worked out well.

Since the house is so tall and climbing a ladder with a pressure washer just isn’t too safe, they really focused their efforts more on the areas they could reach from the ground or a porch roof.  The plan will then be to clean up the other areas of the house (that they weren’t able to hit as well with the pressure washer) as part of the sanding/scraping step.  Even though they stuck pretty close to the ground, though, I was amazed at how the paint just fell off the house.

Here’s a pre-pressure washing photo of the front that I took a month or two back:


And here’s what it looks like post-power washing:


It looks bad, right?  We knew that some of the paint was in bad shape and we expected a lot would come off with scraping, but I was surprised how much just the pressure washing step removed.

I don’t have before pictures of the rest of the house, but here’s what the other sides looked like after power washing:




It surprised me that the paint in the back (north side of the house) actually held up better than the front (south side of the house).  I guess sun must be harder on paint than moisture.

They also pressure washed the areas of the garage that could be reached from the ground and the paint came off there even more than the house.

IMG_4502 (1)

There were a couple of things that kind of surprised me after seeing the results of the pressure washing.  First off, it looks like the house was once painted a much creamier shade of white.  It’s hard to say if that was the original color or if it aged over time, but we definitely found some cream paint under all of the layers of bright white.


Also, it looks like, even though the previous owner put a fresh coat of paint on one side of the house each year, it probably hadn’t been primed in a really long time.  This was especially noticeable on the siding above the sunroom where the paint was peeling really badly before the house was washed and where a ton came off as a result of the pressure washing.


In a way, I’m thinking it’s really a good thing that so much of the paint is coming off, especially if this continues as they scrape & sand.  It will provide a really good base for priming the house (and then painting it) and should also help to make the next paint job a little smoother, with less caked on paint and scaling, which we really noticed (and didn’t like) about the old paint job.  The downside, though, is that the house is definitely looking a little worse for the wear for the time being.

The area around the power meter was probably in the worst shape.


The paint on most of the house looks alligatored like this. The painters refer to it as “checked” and say it is because the bottom layers are likely lead based.  We’re hoping the new paint helps with this.

So, we’re currently waiting for the house to dry out (both from the pressure washing and also from all the rain this week), but as soon as that happens, the painters are planning to be back on site and will start with scraping and sanding, then priming, and finally painting.  The current plan is to work on one side of the house from start to finish before moving on to the next side so that the whole house isn’t in a fully scraped state at the same time.  It’s so exciting to finally be making progress toward actually having the house painted … even if it is looking worse before it (hopefully) starts looking much better!

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