Exterior Renovation Update

This is a really exciting update! We’ve been in our house for just over 2 years, and we’ve been slowly chipping away at home projects ever since. This is the second year we’ve done a major reno in July, so I guess, at this point, it’s a tradition. Already brainstorming what to tackle next! Justin and I have a limited skill set when it comes to home projects. He’s good at painting, and I’m good at scraping popcorn ceilings, which has been a very useful combination in our house, as it was once 1500+ square feet of popcorn infested HELL. But beyond that, we’re pretty limited. Our dream is to have new flooring installed, which was why we tackled the ceilings and the paint first. I initially thought that was going to be our July project. I couldn’t wait to get rid of that trashed beige carpet. But when our sweet little pup, Teddy, had to have an unexpected hip surgery, I was concerned that hard surfaces might not be the best option for him, so I let those dreams die. I meeeeean...die temporarily. I would borderline start a fire in my own house to get rid of that carpet. It’s happening one way or another. 

So we moved onto the next project.

And it is a BIG one.


We’ve fully renovated the exterior of our house!!!! That feels surreal to type out. It’s also not 100% accurate. We paid someone to do it, because again, not Chip and Joanna. And we’re also not all the way finished. But it looks so amazing, I can hardly believe it’s our house!

From the second I saw the listing for our house I was in love. The A-frame. The cathedral ceiling in the living room with the most gorgeous stained beams. The light that poured through the windows surrounding that chocolate bar front door! ❤️

Here are some before photos:

It was my idea of heaven. Justin wasn’t all the way on board, but he agreed we could make an offer on it when he realized how heartbroken I would be if we didn’t at least try to get it. And despite the Nashville market resembling an installment of "The Hunger Games,” they picked our offer out of the several they received! So it was fate! Part of owning a house with someone for the first time is figuring out what is important to them in the budget. For me, that was the inside of the house. For Justin, that was the outside. #MARRIAGE amiright?? We’d been focusing on inside projects because the outside seemed like way too lofty of a project (physically and financially). The siding on our house is wood, and there were a lot of rotted boards or pieces that looked like they had been chewed on. Not cute! The first quote we got to have work done on the house was to redo the exterior, but it was so beyond our reach, we assumed that would be a project for several years down the road. Over the past few months, Justin had been making comments about how he didn’t really like our house which sent CAPS LOCK ALARM BELLS OFF IN MY BRAIN because I just adore our house. Am I frustrated with where it’s at currently? Yes. But can I see a vision of how it will be when we get everything looking the way we want it to? YES! I can’t even talk about moving. It literally makes me panic. So when the floors were put on the back burner, I decided to ask around for painter referrals to try to get the outside of the house knocked out. Enter: Mike.

Mike is 70 years old. He kills wasps with his bare hands. He listens to conservative talk radio for fun. He reminds me so much of my dad I can hardly believe it. He was the first person to explain how the boards became rotted on our house. He had a clipboard and my trust. I put him on the task. Mike has been working so hard on our house, you would think it’s his own. I assumed he would have a crew of people with him, but he’s a one man operation. It has taken a little over a month, but we’re in the final stretch over here. We had one window that didn’t show up with the rest, which reminds me — I forgot to mention that we also got new windows! They’re so beautiful! And they open so easily, I find myself opening them all the time — even in the summer heat! BECAUSE I CAN. When Mike quoted us a price to reglaze our existing, worn out windows vs a price to install new windows, I convinced J that this was something we needed to jump on. So when I tell you that we’ve completely remodeled the outside, I mean we haven’t messed around with the existing aggregate surfaces or landscaping (actually, we did clean up a few trees and knock one out!), but everything else is just about done. We still have to install the new doorbells, decide on door colors, wrap the front columns in cedar, install the new house numbers, get a garage door...But other than that, we're just about done!

Things I have learned during this process:

Assume nothing

I assumed Mike would be power washing the exterior before painting, because that’s what the other people were going to do. But by the time I asked him when he was going to do that (and he wasn’t planing on it) it was too late. Mike explained that this would drive water into the places it didn’t need to be in our already fragile siding. I was stubborn and at least cleaned up our walkways, so all was well. But I could’ve done that prior to him painting and made a total mess when it wouldn’t have mattered because he was going to clean it up anyways. 

White paint shows everything

I know that. You know that. But it’s amazing to see how clean everything looks and then, one day later, there’s already cobwebs in the soffit, debris everywhere from the lawn guy, etc. If you paint your house white, spend a good time outdoors the day it’s painted to really take it all in because it will never look that clean again lol.

Do a very large sample patch in several areas

I thought I did a good job of this. NO. If you’re worried about it matching your stone foundation, paint it right next to the stone! If you think your trim color could clash with the roof, paint an area adjacent to the roof. And do this on at least a few sides of your house. I didn’t mind the color we first painted the house on the garage side of the house, but I hated it everywhere else. 


Real talk! This is only acceptable when getting a manicure! I let a certain family member make me think I should pick a color with more depth as opposed to going with the shade J and I both originally decided on (a warm white, but not as warm as the one we mistakenly went with the first go round). We both love southwestern style, and when I second guessed myself and headed to the nearest Sherwin Williams, I saw the name of a color that was so perfect, I took it as a sign from the gods that we should paint our entire house this color. That being said, if anyone would like 2.5 gallons of Navajo White, you know who to call. 

Be home when the paint is being applied

I tried my best to make this work, but the way everything scheduled out, I came home from a 10 hour workday and discovered my house was light yellow. I still would’ve been out on the paint, but I could have at least saved Mike a day of labor had I been able to be there when it was first being putting applied. Please see previous bullet point for further explanation. Also, mom, you owe me $900. 

Your animals might go NUTs

So we all knew Scarlett was going to lose her mind. That’s a given. All the thunder shirts and calming sprays and exercise in the universe wouldn’t have prevented that. But at the end of the day, she doesn’t seem like she’s scarred for life. She probably thinks I’m blind or deaf or both because she’s spent countless hours alerting me about the man that's been hanging around the outside of our home, but she’s not damaged. Teddy has been riding the struggle bus since day one of this project. I’ve never seen him act the way he’s acted over the last month. He’s hidden under the bed, behind the washing machine, behind the trashcan in the pantry, in the space between the fridge and the cabinets in our kitchen, in our shower (which wasn’t really an issue until he leapt in there WHILE JUSTIN WAS SHOWERING).

Sedatives are cheap. You don’t even have to give them a whole one. Just have them on standby. You’re welcome.

So just a quick recap so far:

Having trees removed

Having part of Teddy’s hip joint removed 

Getting new windows

Repairing and painting the outside of the house

Husband recording an EP


But it’s been a good one! I can’t wait to post the after photos. Y’all are gonna flip!

Stay tuned...