Before & After: Exterior Projects

As it starts getting colder here in Iowa (you know, a whopping 85° at the moment), we’re realizing we need to wrap up exterior projects for the year. To give you a sense at just how lightening fast we are with house projects, the siding got put on at the end of August, the same weekend Hurricane Irene sent the kids and I home early from DC. The incredibly talented guys doing the siding had it done in a week, all we needed to do were a few little projects, one of which included switching the light fixtures. I’m proud to announce that 45+ days later, we have new light fixtures.

So, with a little less caring about having it all perfectly complete and a little more excitement, I bring you the before and after almost done exteriors of casa de Davis.

Front of House, Before

The house is feeling a lot more 2011 and a lot less 1990 to us now. It’s hard to tell from the before pic, but the paint job was in desperate need of help, with chips all over the trim. The original siding was so bad there’s a lawsuit for the entire neighborhood to collect on it.

A couple of things I’ve learned with siding projects:

  • Not all builders shoot for perfection. See that white divider on the garage? We planned for it to go across, connecting the little roof pieces in front. We learned it’s not level and having put it where we originally wanted, this flaw would have been incredibly noticeable. Thankfully our awesome contractor found a good solution and kept with it. Live and learn.
  • It’s best to remove all items off of the interior walls and shelves before starting siding projects. We had a casualty when the nailing caused a picture frame in the dining room to fall and shatter a wine glass. Since we were out of town at the time, the guys working on the house cleaned it all up and explained what happened. They told me they worried that the glass had been some priceless heirloom. Haha, nope, $1 Pier One wine glasses for the win!
  • It’s worth the money to go vinyl. I spent a few hours this last Saturday painting a house for a community project. My blisters and I are thankful that we bucked up the dinero to make sure no one has to paint our house ever again.

A while ago I also took a poll on what we should do with the brick. Most of you voted to antique whitewash it (my fav!) but in the short-term we have decided to not touch it … mostly out of sheer laziness. It could still change though…you never know what will light my fire any given day.

Here’s a few more shots of what’s almost done…

The porch:

Porch Before

Porch Almost Done

The planter box with street address will be making it’s way back up. It has to be painted to match and re-attached. Sounds simple, right? Let’s hope it’s there by spring. It may be complete with fake flowers since I am incapable of feeding/watering anything that doesn’t speak.

One of my favorite parts of the whole project are the new exterior lights:

Lights Before

Exterior Lights After

They remind me of a beach house…if we had beach houses in Iowa. I know they won’t be everyone’s favorite but I love them. I found a ton of options I liked but most of my favorites were $100 each. I found these for $24 each and even like them the best. Sold.

The back of the house has come a long way. The original deck became frat house-worthy once we put our fatty grill on it causing the whole thing to tilt. Last summer we replaced it with a new deck to the excitement of the neighbors, I’m sure. Not so fun fact: we had the back of the fireplace completely resided and painted the year we moved in because it was rotting and ruining the wood. Eh, what can you do?

Back/Deck Before

The lights really schnazzed it up, right?

Back Almost Done (with new deck)

The same guy who did the deck also did the siding. Without him and his buddies, we would still be ghetto fab.

We still have to paint the foundation. …before it snows. Cross your fingers.

And what is a project update without a how to? So here we go…

How to Change Exterior Light Fixtures:

  • Step 1: Find and order the light fixtures (making sure to get 2.5% off by going to first though — love cash back!)
  • Step 2: Once they arrive, set the ridiculously large boxes on the kitchen counters for a month, obstructing the view from the kitchen to the living room TV.
  • Step 3: Next, move the boxes to a spot where your husband will trip over them.
  • Step 4: Ensure hubs that the golf course is closed for some rare, deathly disease outbreak affecting the squirrel population.
  • Step 5: Promise to start drilling holes in the new siding.
  • Step 6: Rig up a stereo so the Hawkeye game can be broadcasted outside.

Ta da!
Hubs changing lights

AND, before you get all Mrs. Independent on me, I did install the doorbell way back when which required drilling an excessively large hole in the old siding. Hear. Me. Roar.

Besides, I was doing dual duty corralling these giggle yard monsters from running amok while raking up leaves. Moms know how to multi-task like that.
Yard Monsters

The Binz informed me that she likes the yellow better and we could always paint over the grey. Mmm hmmm, right, child.

And oh yeah, this also happened this weekend:

It’s a whole new ball game now.

So, what do you think of it all? As I mentioned in this post, we opted for granite grey horizontal siding and the cedar shake. Would you have switched it up? Chosen a completely different color? Better yet, tips on fitting in house projects as two full-time working adults with a couple of kiddos? Are we really going to want to plan to move in a year or two after all of the work we’re doing to this place? Okay, that last question is directly from my subconscious :)