The Great Outdoors

One last project (because nothing says “Welcome to your new home!” like a freshly painted porch)

Posted by on May 16, 2013 in The Great Outdoors | 2 comments

In a rather shocking turn of events, my front porch finally got its facelift.  Poof!  It was a last minute pre-listing omg-the-porch-looks-like-crap kind of moment that spawned this project.  I woke up on Monday morning, opened the door so the cats could look outside through the screen, and declared (to my cats – now that I’m home by myself every day we chat quite a bit) (yep – I’m that crazy cat lady who has full conversations with her cats) that it was a porch painting sorta day.

And it looks so much better.

Truth be told, I had really good porch-painting intentions all last summer and fall, but my painting plans were constantly thwarted by rainy-forecasts and too-hot days.  Selling (and a string of lovely-spring-weather days) was the kick in the tooshy I needed to get this project done.

Here’s the really ugly before (-ish – I forgot to take a real before shot, so this was a couple hours into painting) (but it still shows just how awful-looking my wee little porch had gotten):

(See the little furry faces peeking through the screen door?  I had quite the porch painting audience.)


Front porch painted Benjamin Moore Stampede on red brick house

Wooden front porch painting project using BM Stampede paint in flat finish

So.  Much.  Better.  Eh?  I went with paint rather than stain – staining (according to the nice lady at my local Benjamin Moore store) would have required sanding.  I don’t like sanding.  And that all seemed like a lot of work.  However paint, she said, could just be plopped right on top of the old finish.  Given that this was one of a gazillion projects I had on the go, I was sold.  The colour I bravely chose (since exterior house colour choosing is hard!) is Benjamin Moore’s Stampede.  It seems to match some of the little stones that live in our brick.

Benjamin Moore BM Stampede paint CC-540 with exterior red brick

Sweetie removed the sad-looking (and, well, dead) bushes that sat in front of the house and planted those tiiiny and rather adorable globe cedars for me.  They’ll get bigger.  Eventually.  And they need a bit more mulch and my front flowerbeds in general need a lot more love.  But, in the meantime, I think those little green balls of cedarness are pretty darn cute.

Wooden front porch painted Benjamin Moore BM Stampede exterior paint

And my front bench got a little fancying up too with a pretty new pillow and a potted yellow gerbera daisy…

Front porch with wooden white bench and yellow throw cushion pillow

It screams “Buy me!  Buy me!  You could sip wine here!” no?  Hoping so!

All in all, porch painting was not fun.  It took me two days (I thought it would take a couple hours) and three quarts of paint (I figured it would take one.)  But I’m pretty sure it was a worthwhile effort.  Here’s hoping a bit of curb appeal will go a long way in enticing house shoppers to fall in love with our happy little home.  :)


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Second time’s a charm (because I’m hoping there won’t be a third)

Posted by on Oct 3, 2012 in The Great Outdoors | 0 comments

So rather than going all gung-ho with my porch painting project (although, admittedly, I’m rarely gung-ho with any painting project) I’ve been taking the exterior painting equivalent of baby steps.  Instead of painting my entire front porch all at once in one fell swoop (and committing to a colour willy-nilly) I tested the waters a bit first.  See, not only did our front porch need a makeover (desperately), but the window at the front of our house also looked pretty sad (and I knew that the time/effort involved in painting the window would be far less than that needed to complete my porch painting project.)  So I experimented with my paint colour on the front window first.  You know, just in case.  And I’m really glad I did.

Here’s our front window pre-paint.

Old storm windows with aluminum surround

Our house, being, well, old, has storm windows still.  And while I’d really like to replace those windows for fancy new ones (“fancy” meaning windows that actually open and aren’t half painted shut, of course), that’s definitely not in the budget right now.  Paint, however, is a bit more wallet-friendly.  Cheap and cheerful?  Yup!  It’s my middle name.

A long while back, someone had capped around the old wooden window frames with some sort of aluminum shell, I’m guessing to protect the original wood.  I don’t think the aluminum parts had ever been painted.  They weren’t pretty.

Storm windows with molded aluminum cap over wooden frames

Ew, eh?  Yeah.  I know.

So poof!  Out came my trusty paintbrush.  And poof!  One coat of primer later and the ugly brown aluminum caps were banished forever.  Here’s what everything looked like post-coat of BullsEye primer (I should probably own shares in that company – love that stuff!)

Old storm windows primed

It was around this point where I seriously considered painting the windows white (Cloud White, to be exact.)  But I didn’t really want our icky and worn aluminum-capped storm windows to become a glaring white focal point at the front of our house.  No, my goal was to make the windows blend in with the brick, and thusly create exterior paintcolour harmony.  Or something rather yoga-esque like that.  :)

A couple coats of Benjamin Moore’s Rockport Gray later (cue big reveal music), and my front window looked like this…

BM Rockport Gray exterior paint with red brick

Can I get a dramatic muted-trombone “wop-wop…”?  Yup.  I know.  There was something about that colour that just didn’t quite work.  It was a little…  bland.  Lackluster perhaps.  And at certain points in the day it actually… shhhhh… looked a little pink.  Ack.  Was I horrified?  Yes.  Was I convinced that all the neighbours were snickering?  Yes.  Was I really really glad I didn’t go through the effort of painting my entire front porch in that colour?  Yes.

So, being a trooper, I tried again.  Another trip out to my local Benjamin Moore store, and another couple coats of paint later, and here’s what my front window currently looks like…

Benjamin Moore Copley Gray exterior paint on window with brick

It’s better, eh?  It’s Benjamin Moore’s Copley Gray, a taupey-gray with just a little lovely olive-ness.  To channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw: me likey.  :)

BM Copley Gray against red brick

Exterior BM Copley Gray trim against red brick

Paint colour experiment complete, I’m now preparing (sorta) to move on to the front porch.  It’s a significantly larger job.  Am I excited?  Meh.  Will it look better?  YES.

And I’m even more excited to have this entire exterior painting project DONE.  (Soon.)  (I hope.)  Further porch painting project updates to follow shortly (since porch painting season has almost ended…  why does fall fly by so fast?  Sigh.)  Stay tuned.  :)


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Front porch painting panic (public projects are positively petrifying)

Posted by on Sep 17, 2012 in The Great Outdoors | 0 comments

Alliteration aside (all that made me feel practically poetic!) I am indeed rather intimidated by my next painting project: the front porch.  Which is likely why I’ve been avoiding it all year so far (and, well, all LAST year too.)  But it’s now make-it-or-break-it time.  Use-it-or-lose-it time.  I need to make hay while the sun shines.  Be that early bird who catches the little worm.  (And yes, quoting miscellaneous cliches is indeed my way of stalling) (although it’s not a particularly effective one.)  The nights are starting to get super chilly now that September is here, and there isn’t going to be much porch painting weather left.  And it really does need to be done.  So I should probably get this project started.  Soon.  Terrified or not.

Why is front porch painting so intimidating?  I think it’s because it’s such a public project.  If I paint a room INSIDE of my house and then discover that I had some weird moment of insanity and chose very very wrongly, paint-colour-wise, me and Sweetie (and the cats, but they’re pretty indifferent to most paint colours) are the only ones who will know, and I can quickly hang my head in shame and scurry off to the nearest paint store and try again.  However if my front porch looks ridiculous post-paint job, my neighbours and everyone passing by will all know I made a porch painting blunder.  Ack.  Mortifying, I know.

Here’s what my porch looks like at present…

Little 1940s red brick house

See why it needs repainting?  It was stained a rather poopy (technical term) brown before we moved in.  And that colour drives me a wee bit bonkers.  It makes the entrance to our house look really dark and uninviting.  (Would you want to hang out on a poopy-coloured porch?  Nope.  Me neither.  See my point?)

(And yes, that sad little bush out front is indeed dead [there are actually two of them, truth be told.]  They were little green troopers last summer, but for some reason they just didn’t make it this year.  Poor little guys.  They’ll likely be replaced by a couple lovely drawf cedars [or something equally foolproof-ish to grow] shortly.)

So the big debate?  (That I’m having only with myself, of course.)  (Well, with myself and with my friend Shawn who told me to just pick a colour and stop obsessing already.)  (He’s way more decisive than I am, obviously.)  To restain or paint.  And then (next question): what colour(s) should I go with?  Do I go with all one colour all over the porch?  Or do I paint the top lighter, and maybe stain/paint the skirt/porch floor darker?  And what will the neighbours all think?

Insert absolutely agonized sigh here.

Needless to say, I’m running out of indecisiveness-time.

Update to follow.  Soon.  Maybe.  I hope.


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