Posts tagged "back porch"

Yesterday, I (finally) posted some “after” pictures of the new paint on the exterior of the house.  Today I wanted to share some of the other updates that we made to spruce up the house in addition to painting.  So, here goes:

1)  Installed two new sets of patio doors in the sunroom.

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In the front.

 

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In the back.

This was actually our first step in the project to paint the house and it was done way back in March/April … but we’re still counting it!  :)  You can read more about the new doors in this post.

 

2)  Cleaned up exterior phone & coax wiring in back.

No more wires!

No more wires!

It’s funny how quickly you forget.  This was such an eye-sore on the side/back of the house and I’m already having trouble remembering how bad it was.  We had done a bunch of prep work over the last year or two to replace most of the wires on the outside of the house with ones running through the walls inside, so we were just waiting for the painters to yank the old cables off the house and fill the holes.  And, tada – no more rats nest of cables outside!  That was such a glorious day!

 

3)  Switched from overhead to underground service for all utilities.

The old, overhead service.

The old, overhead service.

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The new, underground service.

I was super nervous about this change.  I was so convinced we would have troubles getting all of the utility companies here to do their part.  But, it turned out great (you can read more about that whole process in this post) … and, aside from some landscaping work to try to get grass to grow over the trench, it is totally complete.  Again, it’s funny how quickly you forget all of the old wires, but we’re loving not having to look at them any longer!

 

4)  Fixed the back railing … and roof.  

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This started with the railing on top of the back porch area looking a little less than stable.  So, we called a carpenter out to see if he could repair it.  We thought he’d likely be able to replace just a few of the bad pieces and tighten the rest up with some new screws and we’d be good to go.  But, no.  By the time it was all over, pretty much the entire railing had been replaced with new materials (only the top and bottom horizontal rails and the metal caps on the end posts were able to be re-used) … and we also had a new rubber roof on the porch area and a bunch of new framing under that.  It turns out that whole structure had a ton of water damage and was thoroughly rotted.  Ugh.  It cost a bundle and, in the end, looks a little straighter, but otherwise about the same as before.  Definitely not my favorite kind of home improvement project.

 

5)  Took down the trash can fence.  

Before.

Before.

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After.  The trash and recycling cans normally sit in front of the window well … but today happened to be trash day.

We had this old picket fence corralling the trash cans on the deck side of the house.  I guess we’d never paid that much attention to it, but when we started talking about paint on that side, we realized it was actually kind of an eye sore.  We really thought we’d probably want to replace it with a new fence that was styled better to match the house, but we started by just cutting the old one down so the painters could access the siding a little better.  And, whatdaya know, we figured out we actually like the area a lot better with no fence.  It’s easier to get to the trash cans and we think that (even though we’re looking at a couple of trash cans now) it’s actually less cluttered.  And, as an added bonus, the raccoons haven’t been making quite as much of a mess with our trash now that they don’t have a fence to help them climb up.  Win-win.

 

6)  Updated the mailbox.

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The new mailbox. (Please ignore the sickly looking flowers.)

Would you believe that this super plain and boring mailbox had to be ordered online?  It’s true – I totally don’t get the selection at the home centers.  Want green ivy?  They’ve got it.  Want a plain, sturdy, functional mailbox?  Not so much.  Anyway, I ordered one from Amazon, the painter painted it, and here it is on the garage.  I feel like it’s not quite right – maybe we need house numbers or something?  It feels a little blah to me.  Or maybe I went too plain … guess I could always go back and get the ivy one!

 

Anyway, that’s it for the “add-on” projects that we completed along with painting the exterior of the house.  We still (believe it or not) have a few things left to finish (fingers crossed) before the end of summer, but I’m hoping to be able to tackle them at a much slower pace now that the painters are off-site and we’re no longer trying to be one-step ahead of them.  Funny how all of the extra stuff adds up to be almost as much effort as the painting part of a project like this, huh?

Our big home improvement project this spring/summer will be painting the house.  We haven’t been thrilled with the current paint job since we moved in (lots of built up, scaled paint, etc.), but it has really started to fail in the last year or so, so it’s finally time to do something about it.  We actually had the job bid last summer and have been working with the painter through the winter.  They got a head start on some of the storm windows in February and, as of Monday, they’re officially “on-site” whenever the weather cooperates.  Just our luck, though, that really hasn’t been much this week – we’re slated for clouds and rain all week.  Yuck.

Anyway, although we aren’t doing any of the painting work ourselves, we’ve expanded the general project of “painting the house” to include a variety of other things that, along with the new paint, will help to spruce up the outside of the house a bit.  So, here’s a bit of an update on our “to-do” list of projects that are being completed in conjunction with painting the house.

1) New Patio Doors in the Sunroom

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I mentioned the other day that we’ve recently had two new sets of patio doors installed in our sunroom to replace the ones that were failing so badly.  The doors still need to be finished on the inside, but we’re considering this project “complete for the purposes of painting” since there’s no more work needed outside before the painters start working on that section of the house.  Woo-hoo!

 

2) Clean Up the Exterior Phone & Coax Wiring

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Phone and coax wires seem to grow on the outside of our house – and it’s gotten out of hand.  Most of the wires were there when we bought the house, but a few were added by Mediacom when we called them to hook the house up for cable service when we moved in.  I don’t remember why new cabling needed to be added, but it did.  Anyway, with all of the work going into painting the house this year, we figured we should try to get rid of as much of the outside wiring as possible and move it inside.

Over the last year or so, we’ve been working on and off to fish some new wires from the basement and we’ve made some good progress.  Aside from the two new cables that we just ran (very neatly!) for the sunroom and master bedroom (since there was no way to fish those inside), everything on the outside of the house is ready to be removed.  We’re leaving that task to the painters so they can see (and fill) all of the holes left behind.  Is it weird that I’m kind of jealous they will be the ones to complete the super satisfying task of yanking all of that wire off the side of the house?

 

3) Switching from Overhead to Underground Service for All Utilities

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I mentioned a couple of months back that we are planning to bury our electrical, phone, and cable service to the house prior to painting so that we aren’t looking at any of those wires on the front of the house either.  And, as of today, we have an electrician and the power company all lined up to do the work.  We’re just waiting for our work orders to come up next in the queue and the crews to show up and do the work.  Weather dependent, the plan is for the power company to come out and set a new telephone pole sometime next week (we changed our minds from what we were thinking before and decided to just go ahead and do this part at the same time as the rest of the work) and then, if the weather cooperates, they are planning to be back on May 13th to trench from the pole to the house and work with the electrician to bury and re-connect the electrical service.  They’ll also put a conduit in the trench for phone and cable and we’ll call them out after the fact to move their cables to the new pole and then run them through the conduit to the house.  So, I would say the status on this one is “pending”.

 

4) Fixing the Back Railing

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We have a little roof over our back door area with a decorative railing running around the top of it.  The railing has always looked a little crooked and we suspected it would need to be tightened up and maybe have a few pieces replaced in order for it to look crisp and fresh after the new paint goes on.  The picture above is a couple of years old (forgot to take before pictures again … tsk tsk), so just picture it looking a little more crooked and with a little less paint and that’d be about right for where we started.

Anyway, we decided to have the same guy who installed our patio doors take a look at the railing to see if he’d be able to make up any new pieces to replace the ones with too much rot to be salvaged.  So, on the few nice days that we’ve had over the last week or so, he’s been working to re-build the railing and also to complete some repairs to the roof over the porch.

I’d definitely label this one as “in process”.  With any luck, the weather will start cooperating soon so this part of the project can be wrapped up, too.

 

5) Fence Around the Trash Cans

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Next on our list is figuring out something different for the fence that corrals the trash cans on the deck side of the house.  It’s way bigger than it needs to be and the style just really doesn’t go with the house.  So, we’re thinking we’d like to come up with something different here.  Before painting, though, we’re planning to just take down the existing fence and use the area for a while with the trash cans loose to see what we think about putting up a new fence.  If we do put a new one up, it’ll likely be something that’s more flat on top and not so big.  We’ll see.

Anyway, taking down the existing fence is on the list for this weekend.

 

6) Window Boxes

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We have some window boxes on the front of the house under the kitchen windows.  (The picture above is a couple of years old, but you get the idea.)  I love the idea of having window boxes there, but the ones we have have always bugged me.  They seem too small for the size of the windows and I really don’t love that they are just the plastic ones from the home center stuck on a couple of oversized brackets.  They don’t stand out so much now, but, once the house gets painted, they really won’t match and I’m thinking they’ll turn into a bit of an eye-sore.

Anyway, our plan is to order some new composite ones that are hopefully sized a little better for the house.  Our plan is to make installation easy and just re-use the same brackets if we can.  Right now, I’m liking these and I think the scale would be right for the windows, but it looks like they may be a hair too deep for the current brackets.  Ug.

 

7) Finalizing Paint Colors

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So, last, but definitely not least, we need to make a final decision on paint colors.  For trim, the decision was made when we picked the exterior color for the new patio doors, so we’ll be going with the Sherwin Williams color match to Andersen Sandtone.  The body color, though, is not so easy.  We had originally planned on Benjamin Moore Glacier White, but it’s such a light color that it completely washes out next to the trim, especially in bright sunlight.

So, we’ve been working with a lady at the local Sherwin Williams store for help identifying some good alternatives.  Right now, we’re down to Benjamin Moore Classic Gray (which is a little more gray) and Sherwin Williams White Duck (which is a little warmer).  Both are deeper colors than the Glacier White that we started with and hold their own better next to the trim color.  We think we prefer the Classic Gray color, but the sample quart that we bought looks really peachy when we put it on the house (even though there is no red or yellow tint in it).  We think it’s just because it’s next to/over the bright blue-y white that’s currently on the house, but we’re going to have the painters tint just one gallon and paint a few pieces of siding so we can be sure it looks good (in a non-peachy way) before giving the final go ahead.

Anyway, although I really want to say we know our paint colors for sure, this one’s still a work in progress, too.

 

So, there you have it.  Now, we’re just crossing our fingers that this week will be the last super rainy, wet week we have this spring so we can start making some progress on all things paint related again!